At the beginning of July, our colleague Alfredo Mires was invited as a speaker at the Pedagogical Update Conference during the Magisterial Week, in the province of Celendin. The invitation was made by the Unitary Union of Education Workers, Celendin Base, who expressed their appreciation for "the important work and commitment to the education of the people of our region that the Rural Libraries of Cajamarca carries out".
The topics discussed by Alfredo (in blocks for nursery, primary and secondary school teachers) were the promotion of reading and the rescue of ancestral knowledge. While he broached these issues, he also spoke of the racism present in the social structure and how it is transmitted directly through the formal education system. He questioned the act of uncritically opening our doors to foreign influences if we don’t have a solid foundation in our own culture, remembering what Mahatma Gandhi said: "I want all the world’s cultures to blow about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be swept away by any of them. I refuse to live in other people's houses as an intruder, a beggar or a slave. "
Through the oral tradition of the Andes we can keep alive the ancient wisdom of our elders and, using books as tools, we can maintain it more safely and spread it more widely. Stories in particular are vehicles that can travel through centuries while still carrying their seeds.
Approximately 1,500 teachers from all districts of the province of Celendín attended and there was a high level interest to have the presence of the Rural Libraries in their rural communities and schools.
Alfredo always closed his speeches with the phrase that summarizes our work: "Our glory comes from having given our hand to our grandchild without letting go of our grandfather’s".