Saturday 4 November 2023

Three books

The tribute paid to Alfredo Mires a year after his departure last October 16th, in the auditorium of the Rural Libraries, was emotional, well attended and reflective. Verses, photos, videos, books and flowers provided the atmosphere to accompany the attendees with the simplicity and regional touch of always. Three posthumous books brought us back to Alfredo, artist, communicator and poet, books that were presented by three recognized collaborators of our Network.

The plastic artist Daniel Cotrina Rowe introduced us to the recreational world of Las mandalas del Ñaupa, an album to colour and complete. Of Indian origin, mandalas are representations of the geometric order of the universe and, in this book by Alfredo, they are adapted to the local iconographies of the wise and old Ñaupa to, in addition, contribute to disseminate the images with which we identify ourselves and to reflect on the value of the cosmic knowledge of our ancestors.

Alfredo's companion for more than three decades, Rita Mocker, was in charge of presenting the booklet Dear Eduardo, Dear Alfredo, a series of moving letters between the famous Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano and Alfredo Mires. Letters marked by respect, solidarity and social commitment in his last years of life. Letters that gain validity by sharing the hope for a better future for Latin America - because Eduardo and Alfredo were not united by illness but by the effort against adversity and by using knowledge as a key to be freer and better citizens.

The collection of their poems in eight sections under the title Cómo acostarse indeciso i despertar a arriesgarse (How to go to bed undecided and awaken to risk) attests to the lyrical vein that accompanied Alfredo since his adolescence, as well as his permanent interest in creating with words. In the presentation, I, Daniel Saenz More, literary researcher and personal friend of the author, gives an account of the series of binomials love-unlove, life-death, absences-presences, among others, which are dressed with autobiographical airs to denounce, question and excite. In them transpires the conscience of a new humanity, of opening the eyes to a new awakening of solidarity in which liberation through love and the struggle for social justice are possible.

Three books and three ways to remember and read ñaupa Alfredo forever.

Daniel Saenz More

Pascual, the memory of silence

Last October 16th, Rita, Nathalia and I left Cajamarca on our way to the town of Chuco, in the province of San Marcos.

On dirt roads we entered these colourful landscapes full of life. After taking several shortcuts and asking several locals, we finally arrived at the house of one of the oldest librarians of the Network, Mr. Pascual Sanchez Montoya. The first impression he gave us was a loving and calm countenance, his kind look; he also received us with a big hug, he was very happy to see us. 

He told us how the 70's were socially and politically turbulent times, especially for those living in the countryside. In 1969 the agrarian reform was decreed, which modified the relations between the countryside and the city. The rondas were also created in Bambamarca and Father Juan Metcalf was forming the first rural libraries. The social projection of Liberation Theology sought that the Catholic Church, at least in that faction, integrate more actively in the social life of peasants, and so the Rural Libraries project grew. 

In this context, Don Pascual, still a young catechist, became a librarian in the San Marcos area and it was also in those times that a great professional and respectful friendship was formed with Alfredo Mires, from whom he learned several foundational lessons for libraries or for life, he tells us: "we must not discriminate against anyone, neither for political or religious ideas" that everyone is welcome wherever there is a book to share. He also tells us: "I learned not to be a fanatic of anything, but just to be; you have to be passionate about social issues. There is no truce, no corruption or dealing with hypocrites" and that despite that "there is always love for everyone" that everyone has the right to straighten their paths.

He also tells us with great emotion about the love he always had for books. She says that in her childhood it was very difficult to have access to a book, that paper was very scarce and expensive and that her love for reading meant that, instead of buying clothes or candy with her allowance, she would take the opportunity to buy something to read. And he says, with a twinkle in his eye, that even the Bristol almanacs were a precious treasure.

Don Pascual has lost his hearing and part of his sight, he feels the difficulty of adapting to these limitations and that ultimately it has not been nor is it easy; he weaves memories of his life and readings as one, and although it hurts and saddens him many departures and detachment, he rejoices in reading, sees the world through it and embraces the hope and blessings to come.

Jorge Camacho

From Medellín to Cajabamba

In mid-October I went with Nathalia Quintero, from Colombia, to Cajabamba to give a workshop on reading in coordination with the Local Education Management Unit (UGEL) for teachers in the region.

These alliances are very nice and when we join forces, things always work out much better. And that was also the case this time. Our friends from Cajabamba had helped us a lot, both with the invites, the organization, the logistics and even with the decoration of the workshop environment.

They had chosen and drawn images of our Ñaupas and placed them on the walls.

Among them was a poster of the UGEL Cajabamba with the image of a Ñaupa painted by our Colombian friend Mateo Oquendo, which you can see in our blog in July (The Ñaupa in Colombia).

With Nathalia, we felt beautifully accompanied and we gave our workshop with lots of encouragement, under the smile of Mateo and this Ñaupita.

Art and affection are great bridges in this wide and strange world.

Rita Mocker

Visits to the BRIE in Cajabamba

In October 2023, our sisters Rita Mocker, executive advisor of the Network, and Nathalia Quintero, Colombian volunteer, visited the Rural Libraries in Educational Institutions in the Cajabamba area. With the teachers and directors of Quinuacruz, Tangalbamba, Pingo, La Alameda and Malcas, they reviewed the existing books in the rural library and explained the themes of the latest publications. They also collected the records of readers and recalled the possible actions to increase reading in its various forms: reading for others or aloud, reading circles or collective reading, family reading, reading of rock art. These meetings were full of affection, solidarity and joy, accompanied by mountain food, songs, poems and drawings by the students. 

Special thanks to the family of teachers and principals of the Cajabamba schools that host and animate our rural libraries in their institutions.

Friday 3 November 2023

BRIE workshop in Cajabamba

Leaving our routine and busy days to attend the workshop developed by Rita and Nathalia, to let the passion for reading be reborn within us, to realize again that we continue to be; is a good way to show appreciation and gratitude to those who have always been with us... in the Network of Rural Libraries of Cajamarca.

Cajamarca teachers attended the Workshop of Rural Libraries in Educational Institutions (BRIE) in which themes, strategies and dynamics were developed that help us analyze our socio-cultural, political and economic reality among many other aspects, becoming the starting point to encourage and enthuse our children with the exciting world of reading.

Having the support of UGEL Cajabamba was a great satisfaction since it facilitates the work of the speakers, the organizers and above all the participants. Precisely for this reason we would like to thank each and every one of us who had the good fortune to participate.

Thank you Rita and Nathalia for your exceptional work ethic, motivation and example. We will always be here to give you a hug with many arms. 

Thank you.

Miguel Rodriguez Roncal

The dreaming of Ñaupa: a play for dreaming

October 16 was a special day: the students of the IE "Sagrado Corazón" attended the Auditorium of the National University of Cajamarca, Jaén branch, to pay tribute to Alfredo Mires Ortiz, a wise and humane person, optimistic and a fighter, that they would have loved to meet and listen to.

Alfredo is the author of the book La ensoñación del Ñaupa (The Dream of the Ñaupa), which the students had read and worked on in class. They expressed with affection and enthusiasm what they knew and had learned from Alfredo through the reading of his book, where the author transmits to us his deep desires of fraternity, union, kindness and equality. Everyone came to the conclusion that in the book Alfredo exposes his dreams of a better world, a vision that he himself was helping to build with each seed sown in the communities and educational institutions where the books of the Rural Libraries of Cajamarca have reached.

Several students participated in the event held within the framework of the Jaén Book Fair. With aplomb and a lot of emotion they presented the biographical data of Alfredo Mires, supported by their attractive timelines. Therefore, today we know that Alfredo studied in difficult times, during the war between Peru and Ecuador between 1990 and 1999, at the Salesian University of Quito and that he was the eighth person to graduate as an "expert".

The great thing about this tribute was the reading of the verses that the students created from the dreams that Alfredo allowed to flow. Here, some of them for your delight and long live Alfredo, in each verse, in each dream and in each feeling expressed.

Thank you Professor Asunciona, thank you Professor Polinéstor for the great work done.

Those who dream

Share their dreams

With those who do not dream

So that they can dream together.

Juan Carlos and Dany; 1st "C".

No one will ask for forgiveness

Because no one will be offended.

Anika and Diego; 1st "C".

The word war will have no 

meaning in the dictionary

because only peace will exist.

Henry and Danna; 1st "B".

All dreams must be deep

so that later the world will not end for you.

your dream must have true feeling.

Jhon Eduardo Perez Jara

New BRIE in La Rioja

At the beginning of October, Igor Irigoín, director of the Educational Institution "Manuel Pardo" - Pampa de la Rioja, in Sócota, Cutervo, inaugurated a Rural Library. Igor shares this text with us:

After a few weeks of planning and work, we achieved the organisation of the books that will be at the service of students, parents and teachers. Today our library was put at the service of our students in a permanent way in the courtyard of our school. We reiterate our gratitude to the Network of Rural Libraries of Cajamarca for accompanying this process of promoting reading, before in the communities and now in the Educational Institutions of the communities. Today the students can take the books to their homes to be able to read together with their families, scrutinize the wisdom they contain and take advantage of the experiences of our grandparents and wise members of the community contained in their pages. 

"Reading makes us stronger".

"He is not illiterate who does not know how to read, but it is he who, knowing how to read, does not read."

Thanks to the entire educational community for this nice welcome of our books.