Thursday, 31 May 2018

The basin and the voice

On Friday, 19th April, 2018, we started off with 4 teachers and 66 students from the Higher Pedagogical Institute Víctor Andrés Belaunde, from Jaén, towards the upper basin of our river Amojú, La Rinconada hamlet.

The fresh air, the chirping of the birds, the sound of the river and the whistling of the wind were set in a scenario that connected us with our mother nature.

It was beautiful the reunion with Mrs. Armandina Cerdán Acuña, a wise woman that I had the privilege of knowing in 2005, when the group of environmental promoters was formed with all the stakeholders of the basin and the Vima; expert weaver of colorful saddlebags, quilts and ponchos in loom of stick and crochet, healer with medicinal plants, generous in sharing her knowledge and very clear in her speeches, virtues that have allowed her to participate and lead participation processes. She is 62 years old, has had 13 children, arrived at La Rinconada with her husband at age 17, her origin is Bambamarca. She proudly signals that 5 of her daughters and 2 of her granddaughters are "labourers" (textile art).

She had an entertaining talk with all the students and there was no question that she did not answer:
"Before, we grew chancaca which we sold in Jaén to buy salt. Before, I produced food like beans, chiuche, sweet potato, squash, vituca ...
Now they don't grow, the food of before has disappeared, there is a lot of plague that attacks the vituca, its stem turns black, it rots and it falls down; only the yellow corn grows. When the weather changed, some engineers came, took the temperature and trained us to plant coffee. Coffee gives us money, but it makes the land poorer because they put herbicide on it, they spray it with herbicide and the earth is weak, when the coffee plants fall, the land remains poor, it does not produce anything anymore, that's why the food is scarce.

Before it was nice, there was enough water, we passed in our beasts, now it has dulled; People cut the forest, they did not think the water was going to run out. For 10 years now there is little water.

The natural forest was a mountain of cedars, romerillos, avocado trees, balsa, higuerón, cascarilla, lanche. The forest has its fodder, where we tread, is the one that brings the strength of the water: that fodder rots and leaves the water. In the forest there were wild animals such as the paujil, the sachavaca, the spectacled bear, cocks of the rock, turkeys, foxes, foxes, mangujos, armadillos. Now there are only monkeys; days ago my grandchildren spotted monkeys in my little mountain ... "

Thank you Mrs. Armandina for your testimony, for the memory of our land.

"We all teach together, we all learn together" (Network of Rural Libraries).

Sara Moreno Pool

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