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where is laura? Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. Rainer Maria Rilke

trip to k´arwi

PERU | Friday, 17 March 2006 | Views [1020]

meeting at kar´wi

meeting at kar´wi

Second trip out to meet with a community, and coordiante-introduce our project. This time with Laura and Lourdes because the guys had to meet with another community. We took the rover, as laura said, mas duro para manejar, pero tambien mas duro para llegar (tougher for driving, but also more exhausting to ride). We started out again around 530am, by 730 we are eating breakfast in Sicuani. By 10:30 we arrive in Kar´wi, a small town in the district of Pillawaka (honestly can´t keep these names straight).

The drive out was different because it was a week day... cruising through towns between 7 and 8 we saw all types of uniformed kids trotting along in mixed age groups to school. As we passed the various towns, then passed the kids, I got a sense of the distances travelled. Some kids very young, walking along.. others getting a ride on a bike from dad... the same when we returned between 2 and 3 pm, their school day was ending. the uniforms are a mix of sweatsuits, knee high socks, leg warmers, collared shirts, I saw it all. (except for the lab coats, which we saw kids wearing in La Paz.. and this was not for special science schools).

We were scheduled to present at the asamblea, which is like a town meeting where the people discuss various things (laura recounted that at one meeting  one woman from the community  made the suggestion that they should wash their  hands before having sex.....). It´s also the time if outside groups want to come and present projects, etc, they can have some time. When we arrived there was a woman in what looked like a fly fishing vest, giving a demonstration about how to understand and complete the ballot in the upcoming national elections.  Probably the nearest polling place is a few hours by foot... maybe that day they will have trucks going more frequently to town... it´s one thing to understand how to vote, it´s another to  have  a sense of who the canditates are.. beyond just knowing the one name that happens to be posted around your town...  at any rate.. it´s good they were getting this instruction, and encouragement to participate.

We arrive at 10:30, there are about 30 people spread out in a large circle. Although I´m not sure what time the mtg started, none of them seeemed particularly excited to be there, yet at the same time, as a group them seemed fairly more organized than the folks in Chillihua. very different though.. less of them seemed to know or speak spanish as confidently.. noticeably they seemed more poor, and distracted. the woman wore wide flat topped taps with tassels, black skirts.. many of the men wore burlap pedal pushers, and gently sloping felt hats.

We arrive, and wait patiently just inside the doorway (next to an adobe over, so big, 5 kids could easily play inside (but werent thankfully)). We are soon greeted by a woman named Juana, a professor in the school in town, and soon to learn, the woman who runs the show. The conversations that followed were all in spanish, so I stayed tuned. I could tell from the get go that there was much resistance at play.. not knowing their history, and in fact they had visited this town 3 times previously, she was on the defensive. The town already has 2 other outside programs ongoing, and basically told us after 5 minutes we should look for another community that doesn´t have anything like that. The conversation went on for a good 45 minutes... maybe we can work something out, divide up the time, etc. She said that the people in the community still did not have a good sense of the program, even though laura was there previously and it was all explained in quechua.... there was lots of back and forth and powerplaying going on. She even said at several points that it´s a personal compromise ...

After this first round, Juana went back to the meeting and after awhile Lourdes took the floor to talk with the people, and basicaly said, this is what we have to offer, but we don´t want to interfere, obviously we want what is best for the community, and the kids, basically, thanks, and nos vamos... questions were posed from juana very aggressively... by 2pm we left. the car ride home was full of bitching and head nodding. Basically for whatever she did not want to the project to fly... and it was clear that she had made this decision somewhat independly for the community, and for the other teachers involved (who we were not given access to meet with).  Understandably it was upsetting that they lost contact with another potential community.. but they all came to realize that it was not meant to be.. and it´s not worth fighting against the grain.

It´s interesting to see all this behind the scenes dirty work that is necessary, when playing by the system. You have to spend so much time just going personally to meet with people, time and time again, and hopefully it works, but it doesn´t always.. but that´s part of the work.

The end of March we were scheleduled to have a teacher training.. but in light of the last 2 trips, and thus the inability to secure enough teachers, it is postponed... thus more time to work toward the opening of the new museum.

Tags: Culture

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