An update written by my friend Milagros who has been helping the people in many communities in the Sacred Valley.
April, Friday 9th
In the Andes there is a life – principle people respect and live along with: AYNI. Meaning : giving back; retribution of some kind; exchange. It comes from the times of the incas, and the meaning is much more of what I can say here but basically it can be translated into “reciprocity”. Yesterday Jennifer and I had the opportunity to experience the AYNI people of Kallarayan wanted to give us.
Our friend Jusef was not available so we could only get to the community by taxi and with some clothes for the women. Since we had more time to visit, they took us to the community (not only the tents where they are now) and showed and explained more of their situation.
This is a community where all the people gather once a month to make decisions. They have just decided that the whole community will move to where the tents are. They have this year to build so that next rainy season will get them in a safer area. They showed us the small flow of water that turned into a big river in March and jeopardized the whole community. They told us about the water filtrations, the damaged fields, the sport center they were building and was cracked in the middle because of the water……., and their plans for the future. They are going to undo their houses and recover the tiles for the roof. Bricks of mud (adobe) they can build again. Here they are at 14,900 feet of altitude so they will have to build quick. Even though they are used to this altitude, winter is coming and the temperature will drop (and they are in tents!)
They prepared us a meal. The AYNI, our gratitude they say, “nuestro cariño”. And we left till next week.
Easter – April, Friday 2nd (Kallarayan)
It has passed one month since the flood in Taray and the heavy rains that affected Taray, its communities, and other towns in the Sacred Valley. It has rained again but nothing compared to last month. Maybe the rainy season is coming to an end and now some long-term decisions must be taken.
Yesterday we went with Jennifer and Jusef to Cusco to buy shovels, picks and some food supplies for Kallarayan. Since our last visit they have found a water source and have started using it. They are planning to move permanently to the place where the tents have been located which is ten minutes from the actual community and still is community land.
Here in Cusco most of the land belongs to communities and not to individuals. The community decides who is going to work in a specific piece of land but the owner is the community as a whole. So many decisions are taken in assemblies by all of them. And now they have to decide where the people that have been affected by the rains –and are living in tents – are going to be located.
These people live basically from farming and use to stay in the community daily. They go to Pisaq market (or other markets) once in a while to sell their products and go back to the community. But yesterday there where no men there. The women and the children greet us, always with a smile and gratitude. They told us most of the men had gone to work in the fields or at the community. Others were playing soccer in a nearby town. Life goes on.
We bought 47 picks and shovels to help with the reconstruction. These people do not manage to much cash so it is difficult for them to access some basic supplies that are kind of expensive here and really necessary on a rebuilding plan. Again we bought food supplies that always welcome and make an intention of coming back next week with things for the children. The first time we came here there were 47 tents on site. Now there are 53. Almost 100 children altogether.