Monday, 14 August 2017

Signs in the Encylopedia

Two days we were gathered in the Encounter of the Encyclopedia Campesina, animated with the presence of almost all the provinces of Cajamarca and Huamachuco, celebrating the incorporation of new companions.

We continue to build our dictionary of cajamarcanisms: it is a beauty to see how the sayings and knowledge flow... And the debate of the meaning, the critic of the contexts and the construction of strategies that allow us to consolidate the wanderings that reaffirm our journey.

Our project continues to investigate the various issues that the collective has decided and, at the same time, we find ourselves finishing identifying the signs that nature has taught us from the beginning and that have been forming our culture.

There is so much to keep on knowing!

"Fields of the whole world, let us unite!"

Julia Steiner, a volunteer who sustains the version of our blog in French (, has just published an article in a newspaper of the central massif -located to the center-south of France. "Fields of the whole world, let's unite!", is its title and in it addresses "The Network of Rural Libraries of Cajamarca: culture to liberate."

"More than a simple network of libraries - there are more than 500 that have flourished in the homes of the communities – it is a popular education project, based on the cultural traditions of the Andean communities. A way to bring reading and books to the rural areas forgotten by governments, and most of all the freedom to think, the tools to defend themselves, to know their rights. To rescue the Andean culture and the peasant world, its knowledge, its stories, its language, that could disappear as the peasant world has disappeared in France.

Here, the libraries are in the homes of the villagers. And the villagers are librarians, volunteers, that come to renew their libraries in the headquarters of the Network, in Cajamarca, walking many kilometers.

The operation of the association is horizontal, there are general assemblies, which allows everyone to meet and decide together which books they are going to write.

Culture is a factor of social bonds, of economic development, a means of opening up in the world. And it is also, then, a peaceful tool of struggle and freedom. These projects - and there are a lot more that exist - demonstrate the importance or necessity of culture in the countryside, but also that rurality is still invented today and will be invented tomorrow.

In these times of political changes, which are more and more distant to the citizens of the centers of power and decision, rural dwellers of the whole world: let us unite to bring the voice of culture, because a future is built in the countryside".

Saturday, 5 August 2017


Nathalia Quintero Castro, professor at the Inter-American School of Libraries of the University of Antioquia – Colombia, is again with us and this time for longer.

As we announced in January, Nathalia is undertaking her doctoral project from the experience of our network of rural libraries and, for this, has been integrated as a volunteer. She arrived a few days ago and we are celebrating her pleasant integration.

"To return to Cajamarca, is to be in family again," says Nathalia. “Being part of the Cajamarca Ayllu and Rural Libraries has been the most poignant and important gift I have ever had.

Infinite thanks to Alfredo, Rita, Mara and Rumi who have welcomed me so lovingly into their community and family routines. Also to the support team and other volunteers and friends with whom I have shared and will share.

My special gratitude to the community librarians for allowing me to be with them, to learn from their immense wisdom in this Andean path of fraternity, simplicity and solidarity. Thank you because here I have found the value of complementarity and real happiness."

With all the experience and will of Nathalia, we are sure to improve our steps, initiated more than 46 years ago. We recognise the company of this sister and volunteer of ours, not only for her hard work, but above all, for her presence among us.

Welcome back, Nathalia!

Thursday, 27 July 2017


Saying good-bye hurts, it is true. However, we choose to experience this pain, or the possibility of it, when we choose to make genuine connections, when we build our families, when we open our hearts. And the joy we gain from these connections, the enriching of our souls, is our reward for taking the risk.

Having families that span the earth means that no matter where you are you're always missing someone. But knowing that, although far, they are present, that although their path at times diverges from yours, they still walk by your side, restricts the distance to the physical realm.

Moments of separation also serve to take stock and express gratitude felt. On leaving Cajamarca my gratitude goes to my Cajamarcan family, for inviting me to be apart of yours.

Thank you to the rural libraries movement, for opening your circle and welcoming me in. Thank you for your teachings, for showing me that resistance to what you don't want needs to be preceded and constantly accompanied by the creation and protection of the life you do want, to live your desired reality with dignity and presence.

Thank you for teaching me the value of (re)connecting with our ancestors and, through their wisdom, the Earth and the Cosmos. Thank you for teaching me the essence of community, and how to nurture it.

Thank you for all these teachings and so much more, but most of all thank you for teaching by example, for lighting the way.

This is nothing more than a 'see you later', and my the later be soon. 


Some time ago, Lizeth Andrea Aristiz√°bal Amaya, a Colombian librarian student at the University of Antioquia, found out about Rural Libraries. Then she wrote us to ask about the possibility of coming.

Now Lizeth is here, with us, integrated with the tasks of the Campesina Encyclopedia.

"There are very precious spaces," she tells us, "to exist in fullness: Cajamarca, with its laborious and friendly people, its sacred mountains and its precious culture, is undoubtedly one of them. I arrived at the beginning of July to this place; I arrived full of joy because at last I would share and learn from those who with their wise and generous work give life to the Network of Rural Libraries of Cajamarca, a library family that transforms lives and that transforms and grows from those lives.

It is short, the time I have in this place, but the joy of having met the librarians of the network and of having been inspired by their humility and their work that is guided by love, will endure in me. The remembrance of Alfredo and his family will also endure: they, through their work and internal strength, have taught me the courage to believe in others; they taught me that together we are stronger and that one plus one is one. I will carry each one of them in my heart.

Cajamarca and its people have given me an eternal gift because in this place I began to believe in magic again; in this place I learned from the hand of Alfredo the importance of living solidarity intensely... "Life is just a little while," he told me as we climbed the Apu Qayaqpuma."

Thank you, Lizeth. How gratifying to know that we are together in this journey that always begins!

Welcome to the community!


My name is Jose Jacinto Aguilar Neira, from the community of Carrizal, in the province of Cajabamba. I am zonal coordinator of Rural Libraries. I have been a librarian for more than thirty years.

For me, reading is a step further on the road to respecting our own culture and also to keeping safe everything around us: both by reading it and also describing the history of our landscapes, our own experience.

That's why I encourage communities to engage in reading circles, so that everyone can read.

In fact it has gained much momentum: the people already know more and more. We no longer let ourselves be deceived as before, when they let themselves be deceived because there was no such concurrence of study; now, as they books read, they are already a little more alert to what is going to happen.

Because the situation is a little bit problematic now, especially concerning the environment: we have to be alert, to know what they are doing with us, how they affect the water, affect the air and the land.

That is why our biggest challenge is to meet and among us to evaluate what we must do, how to face the problems: also because sometimes the political authorities are in favour of the destructive companies and we are left out, there is no justice for the poor ... But we have to do our part, to understand among us all in order to live better.

The dazzle of the Qayaqpuma

After enormous efforts - and more disappointment with people who offered to help and then pretended to misunderstand, our friend Francisco Vigo has managed to publish the photobook "Qayaqpuma".

Already, Pancho had taken his photographic exhibition to Lima, Arequipa, Cajamarca and Shangahi, but the idea of ​​the book did not cease.

Just a few weeks ago this book was born. On each page you can see the meticulous care that Pancho has given this edition. Our sincere congratulations go out to you for this excellent work.

Our brother Alfredo Mires wrote the presentation of the book, with the title "In the name of the son", and in it he says:

"... this intriguing perception of heritage is not an archaism, it is not an idolatry nor a Palaeolithic backwardness as some obtuse connoisseurs are determined to point out. The sense of affiliation with the earth is a superior state of human development, an overcoming of civilizing nonsense.

The overthrow of the Andean and primordial world - for now more than five hundred years - has not only meant genocide and ecocide, but also the blatant theft of memory and the looting of its repositories.

And the devastation does not cease: the majestic Apu Qayaqpuma - once venerated and extolled by the founding communities of culture - is not only threatened by extractive usury, but is permanently subject to dumping and disfigurement.

It's pure existence continues to summon us, it's pure fragility continues to call us."