Our friend, Daniel Canosa, an Argentine librarian and member of El Orejiverde -Indigenous peoples' publication-, has prepared a note on the conference that our brother Alfredo Mires Ortiz gave in Medellín on the occasion of the launch of the Citizen Reading, Writing and Orality Plan 2016- 2020:
In preparation for the Assembly of the Network, we had the Encounter of the Encyclopedia Campesina, a meeting in which the team of coordinators (villagers, teachers, students, all volunteers) presented the cultural rescues made in the field, according to the topics we decided to investigate together.
We have almost reached the end of the compilation of our own words and their meanings, which has taken us so many years. And we take up the theme of Community and Territory, in the eagerness to recognize our own conceptual roots regarding these significant issues.
In mid-December we had our General Assembly of the Network, a culmination of our organization to meet, evaluate, plan and encourage the spirit to continue walking.
New challenges arise: in a context of "very low reading" in the country and with a very high growth of shamelessness and corruption (especially among those who are paid to be at the service of the nation) communities continue in their search and effort not to succumb.
Many communities in the area of the province of Celendín are requesting to have their rural library ... And from Pión - one day by bus and another on foot - came Don Jesus Quispe, who is even receiving chemotherapy treatment, animated to retake the libraries in his sector. Some of the participants had lost their crops and others had been greatly affected by the wildfires in the area ... but here they were.
Librarians, coordinators, readers and even the granddaughter of one of the villagers, participated in the Assembly, animating and encouraging us to continue on the journey.
How it intensifies this will and how it guides this journey!
In these weeks it came around to me to travel north to visit children with projectable abilities from the Community Program.
In Cajamarca in these months we have been going through a very hard time, with a lot of drought, fires and an extreme lack of water. Many, many seeds and crops have already been lost and many people no longer know how to fill their pots and stomachs. This is a very worrying situation for all of us.
Although it is now beginning to rain, many now have no seeds or have to buy again, getting into debt and not knowing if they will actually have crops that will allow them to repay this debt.
For my part then, I was prepared to find fields with maize dying, trees burned by frost, animals thin because of lack of water and grass. I had also heard from the people of the Jalca (the high altitude) that hail was falling and it was freezing and I imagined the fields with hail grains or frost ice in the early hours. But what I saw was actually snow.
Having been born and lived in cold German lands, it caused me a confusion of feelings. I felt a lot of nostalgia, but also chills imagining the people here and their animals without warm houses or stables, without clothes that keep you warm, without being able to move to warm up your body - thinking of some of the children of the Community Program -, without sufficient food or firewood to prepare a hot drink. And without a government that provides and supports in these situations.
It will be cause to get together more, to learn more and prepare better ... because no one knows what is coming.
In mid-November, the Community Program held its annual meeting of monitoring, evaluation and planning.
For many years this review process was accompanied by "specialist" members proposed by the entity that supports the work of the Community Program, but since this year it is again up to us to carry out this evaluation.
We worked hard and intensely during this meeting, but felt a very fraternal atmosphere. There was a lot of sincerity and openness to recognize our failures, a lot of willingness to improve and keep growing, a lot of closeness to support others, much affection to give even more in the work with children with projectable abilities, a lot of criticism and much desire to correct our mistakes.
The possibility of looking at each other with our own eyes, in our own way, also opened the doors to us to be more sincere and authentic. Thank you to all participants for this wonderful experience.