Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Our blog in French is back on its feet

We are pleased to announce the revival of our blog in French and, at the same time, welcome Julia Steiner into the family of volunteers of our Network of Rural Libraries of Cajamarca. Julia has already been working hard on the translations and now the blog in French is on its feet once again.

We heartily thank Maryse Tétreault who, as a volunteer, started the blog and worked with dedication on the previous translations.

With Julia we debated the new nomination and in the end we decided on La voie des bibliothèques rurales de Cajamarca”. Julia explained to us that "it is like ‘the way of the libraries of Cajamarca’. It is a play between ‘the road’ and ‘the spiritual path’, and with the sound (because the word "voice" in French is pronounced "voix" and has the same sound)”.

The resurrected La Voie des Bibliothèques Rurales de Cajamarca will continue at the following address: http://redbibliotecasfrances.blogspot.pe/

We would be very grateful if you could share it with your francophone friends.

Meeting up

We recently held the Encounter II - Encyclopedia Campesina Project 2016.

This event not only involves coming together to rescue knowledge and traditions – to later transform them into bibliographic material – but it is also a way to meet up and get to know each other closely, with the pretext of work.

It’s because we come from different and distant communities, and we all arrive keen to share our knowledge, our way of seeing the world and our aspirations for a more pleasant life based on what we are and what we want to continue being, as our brother Alfredo always tells us, who is our guide in this work.

These spaces allow us to learn from and with each other, and know that everything we bring to share will affirm our unity, as one community; when everything comes together like forming a book, a great lesson from the world and for the world.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Wonderings in Cajabamba

This August, with our English friends from Sarah’s Rural Library Fund, we visited a number of our libraries in the provinces of Cajamarca, San Marcos and Cajabamba.

We were with José Isabel Ayay Valdez, in the Quechua zone of Cilimpampa, sharing enthusiasm, wisdom and humour.

Later with Pascual Sánchez of Chuco, veteran coordinator of our libraries in his zone. He told us how his love of reading was inspired by his father and how he spent many long nights by the smoky gas lamp reading borrowed books. He laments the irony of how just when reading is made easier by the arrival of electricity, the book is abandoned for the TV. For this reason, he explains, the work of BR is important now more than ever; to continue our enrichment and to keep alive our ability to travel to new worlds each time we open a book cover.

We then visited the community of Pingo, in Cajabamba, which houses its library in the local primary school. The children, with their parents and teachers, shared with us illuminating theatrical presentations of stories that they collected from the elders of their community. We then had the honour to participate in a minga de trilla: the traditional art of separating the wheat stalks from the grains, celebrating with chicha (fermented drink made from maize).

The journey didn’t end there: we spent the night in the house of our brother Jacinto Aguilar Neyra and listened by moonlight to his memories as library coordinator during the bloody years when the country was rocked with the violence of the civil war. The generosity of books and the courage of the humble made it possible to keep going.

And we were the community of Corralpampa, whose library is also located in their primary school. We participated in an extraordinary sharing of stories, where the children gathered round us to relay what their elders had passed on to them. The magic of the Andean oral tradition, the passing of ancient wisdom from generation to generation, was felt by all as we saw and heard the words of our ancestors emerge from the mouths of the young.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Here, Sarah’s Rural Library Fund

We feel close to, despite being far from, people who accompany us. So it makes us doubly happy having them here in person and in our own home.

Until a few days ago Helen Heery, Rachel Hardy and Simon Wheatley - founders and members of Sarah's Rural Library Fund - were here with us to share in the wonderings, expectations, plans and projects of our network.

We were also fortunate to count on the presence of Kate Heery and Marian Carty.

At all times we felt their desire to join us on the path we are on, and they also made us aware that the work of our Network of Rural Libraries enriches their lives and their jobs.

With much zest and enthusiasm they visited the libraries of some communities in Cajamarca, San Marcos and Cajabamba. They also accompanied us at the meeting of the Encyclopedia Campesina and the meeting of the Community Programme.

How strong a connection we have felt with these brothers and sisters of ours!

For us, their visit is a huge boost to continue with what we have and to undertake new challenges.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Rise up to be born...

Rise up to be born with me, brother.
Give me your hand from the deep place
of your scattered pain.
You won’t return from behind the rocks.
You won’t return from time underground.
Look at me from the depths of the earth,
farmer, weaver, silent shepherd:
I come to speak
through your dead mouth ...

So cries this poem by Pablo Neruda ("Alturas de Macchu Picchu" in “Canto General” – translated as “Heights of Macchu Picchu” in “General Song”), which we now have transcribed on the stairs of our house, so as to ascend and feel as we read.
Thus we read when we ascend. And we ascend when we read.

Give me silence, water, hope.
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes.
Stick your bodies to mine like magnets.
Hasten to my veins and to my mouth.
Speak through my words and my blood.

Segundo Huamán, a volunteer community member who is helping us with the construction these days, was the first reader of these telling steps.

In this way we also delve into, evoke and better ourselves.

Jacinto and the ritual for the deceased

Jacinto Aguilar Neyra is a veteran with over thirty years as a Coordinator of our Rural Libraries Network.

From his community, in Carrizal, Cajabamba province he has remained dedicated despite political persecution, lack of funds, the weight of the books on the endless slopes on foot, and other problems that have presented themselves along our path.

Jacinto works tirelessly in the recuperation of our ancestral knowledge. A few weeks ago, as we visited him, we found him dedicated to the recuperation of the rituals surrounding the deceased. Not only is he recuperating the information but also recreating the drawings of the animals and mythical figures that are found in what the elders of the communities tell.

Various birds are depicted as winging messengers of death, as well as the dragon, angels and the Christian figures of Adam and Eve. The mixture of Christian and native symbolism in the representations that he has collected reflects the mix that is found in the Cajamarcan tradition.

This recuperation is especially significant now for our dear friend Jacinto, due to the pain of having recently lost his wife after a long illness.

Thank you, brother, for your courageous efforts and your unfailing commitment.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Reading Corners

In Cajamarca, since years ago, we built our house and we did it in Minga (voluntary and community work): this is also a source of pride for us.

With and between us all we went about laying the foundations and raising these walls: each corner knows of our efforts.

A while ago now we made wells –in the shape of seats- where we collect rainwater, now we are renovating them so they can also be Reading Corners... and there we go, brightening them with poetic actions.

That is, the building of the house has not finished.

It's like with each of us: we continue to construct.