Sunday, 26 February 2017

Water that you should drink

Many years ago our brother Alfredo Mires Ortiz founded the Campesino Encyclopedia Project within our Network.

"The rescue of community knowledge," says Alfredo, "not only allowed us to reveal the immense fortune that animates us, but also the prodigious root of this tree that grounds us. Because we are not recovering the past, but the future. It is our own tomorrow that they have kidnapped from us: it is this journey that we are reconquering."

The Encyclopedia, as a thematic collection, reached volume 20, apart from the dozens of books with oral tradition that have been published. But it started again a couple of years ago, renewed and sharpened, and volume 21 has just come out of the press: "Water you should drink - Sayings and Phrases in the Cajamarcan tradition." (Original title: "Agua que sí has de beber – Dichos y refranes en la tradición cajamarquina").

These births bring us to life!

Soon we will announce the release date.

Welcome Marta!

Marta Enríquez has come from Burgos, Spain, to join as a volunteer in our Network. And she has not stopped "volunteering" since she arrived!

Marta has a degree in Environmental Sciences and has extensive training in drama and languages, plus the management and editing of "A World Under My Feet", a book that tells of her journey around the world.

Now our Exchange Center is nourished by her experience and dedication, from the humility demanded by these collective tasks, integrating herself also into all the tasks of coexistence in our headquarters.

Thank you, Marta, and welcome to your home!


The home of the Network of Rural Libraries has been built in minga, a form of community and voluntary work inherited from our ancestors.

There were many hands that kneaded the earth to form each wall, each space. Every corner has a story, an anecdote, a lively time of work, a lot of effort and commitment. Therefore, for us it is very important that every person who comes here learns to love and care for it as we do.

Alfredo, our brother who is also responsible for the production of materials, recently designed a very attractive diptych where he invites all our visitors to arrive well at this house, as a welcome.

This diptych is intended to make others aware of our points of view regarding the permanent need to keep our own and shared spaces clean and orderly, to care for the other people of nature who live here: the water, the plants, to take care of the services, to reduce waste and to learn to reuse and recycle that which we inevitably produce from our daily activities.

This new production of the Network is a very simple and clear way to greet those who come to stay with us, to make them feel that this house is also their home and that we all have the obligation to take care of it. And also to encourage effective public policies to care for and defend the environment everywhere.

This document is available in different versions, ready to be sent to those who request it.

Cultivating reading

I am José Antonio Vílchez Chávez, from the San Isidro community, in the district of José Sabogal, San Marcos province, Cajamarca, Peru.

For me reading means a refreshment of the mind. That is to say: after a job, after the fatigue of the farm, grabbing the book one is distracted. Well, according to the book we read ...

Reading is always refreshing: it clears us of the concerns we are in.

That is why the presence of our Rural Libraries is an achievement.

I used to drink and argue with my friends, but when I came to Rural Libraries, I came into myself, I educated myself with others: now I can educate other people, collectively.

When my community said to me "Antonio, you have changed a lot", then I started to train more like this. And I was not the only one: all my companions on this path, and people from different nations, from all over the world, sharing and training. That was then an example that we could share in the community.

My role in the community is to show that I am a lover of reading. Because if we are not lovers of reading we cannot challenge anyone, neither can we present a book nor explain the subject of a book.

That's why my greatest challenge is to continue reading and continue sharing with children, with young people. Although the adults almost do not want to read now: be it for cell phones or television, they are already in other things, they see other things to distract them and have left the reading aside. But we have the courage to continue cultivating reading.

Friday, 3 February 2017

More than books

The libraries of our Network are mainly implemented with the books we produce ourselves in community: stories, myths, legends, traditions, among others. And all kinds of topics that are requested by the readers of the countryside, although we do not always have the possibilities to acquire them, either because of costs or because certain titles or themes are not found.

Fortunately we can count on the solidarity of people, families or institutions that from time to time give us, in the form of a donation, some books.

On this occasion, we received an important donation from the "Manuel Ramírez Barinaga" Marist Educational Institution, of San Juan de Miraflores, in Lima, through its director, Brother Juan García, whose bibliographic dispatch will allow us to further implement our Rural libraries.

We know how happy our coordinators, librarians and readers will feel when they receive these books, the joy that having more reading material will mean for families. And they will know of the generous solidarity that accompanies our journeys and efforts.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Fraternal lights

The doctor, musician and philosopher Albert Schweitzer said: "If you give light to light your brother's life, it will shine brighter in you."

This past Christmas, 177 volunteer artists, musicians and singers deployed their talents in choir and wind orchestra in London, led by Matthew Hardy, and without any rehearsal!

A display by Sarah's Rural Library Fund, coordinated by Helen Heery and her team in solidarity.

Thanks to these fraternal lights, our libraries also continue to illuminate. Books that humbly bear the splendour of culture and memory, can travel and multiply.

A little something in a context of clenched teeth, outbursts and dismay!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

In the January countryside

The journey would take us to the province of Chota, in the north of Cajamarca.

The fog sometimes dim, sometimes dense; the different shades of greens mixed with stones and mud; the brothered seeds; the humble and cordial people with their hats, quipe and boots; the vivid colors, as vivid as their inhabitants, as the earth, as the trees, the rain, the wind, the plants. The expressive and wise Apus, the guardian mountains of hope …

Early, very early, we arrive at Nuevo Horizonte, in the village of Cutaxi. After the green soup that Don Silverio, the librarian, offered us, we set off on our way to the Communal Center, to the Congress of the Rondas Campesinas of the province, to which Alfredo had been invited to present about identity and peasant dignity.

The roads continued, the mototaxis, the vans that picked us up and the people who helped us to arrive at Masintranca: there the presence of the noble and serene Dona, librarian and housewife; the beautiful and smiling Nerly; the attentive and cordial Sergio. This ayllu brings together the coordination of several libraries in the area, the participation in the community program for the accompaniment of people with projectable capacities, the rural library and the contribution to communities with natural medicines to cure their ailments.

At night came the moment of the rescue of the living orality in the community of Huayrasitana. In spite of the pouring rain and difficult roads, we met with a large group of villagers, women, men, children and young people to talk and hear about the differences and relationships between aporcar and cutipar, the various types of potato many of which are no longer cultivated; the reflection on what is happening today, what the media shows which pulls campesinos from their farms, their traditions, their "contentment."

The next morning, with Sergio's guidance, we set out for Nuevo Oriente. There we met the wife and daughter of Oscar Burga, the family that houses the library in their home. For Lucila, the importance of the presence of the library in their lives, besides benefiting their children with the studies, is that people come to visit her...

On our way back, through the cold and at times warm lands of Masintranca, we began the return to Cajamarca. Again the Apus expressed themselves: the rain, the green, the plants, the people, the peoples of Cajamarca.

Infinite thanks!

Nathalia Quintero