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(PERU 31)












Ignacio was born and bred in the area. His family had land in Huachuhuaccacca and he has lived much of his life in the town of Huaranccacca which grew up round the mining industry. Mining and farming are in the family. He, like his father, worked in El Brocal and he is a member of the Huaranccacca community cooperative. He married at 33 and 5 of his 7 children are still at home.

He talks mostly about the negative effect on Huaranccacca of the expansion of the mining industry, particularly water pollution, land degradation and loss of community-owned land. He emphasises the deterioration in the relationship between the mine owners and the community. Though community initiatives have contributed to the development of the mine (eg they brought in electricity) the mine has rationed energy and is cutting transport. He describes the injustice of the way the new company has treated the community and their environment, while they have grown rich from the minerals and received support from the community.

He discusses the Agrarian Reform which resulted in the formation of community farming cooperatives. Though few have prospered materially, the Huaranccacca cooperative plays an important role in community development initiatives. But he also contrasts the 'backwardness' of the town and the lack of opportunities with the aspirations of young people who have to migrate for work or to study.

He describes local traditions, particularly those relating to selecting a new baby's godparents in preparation for baptism.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Compares the landscape of his youth to the “mountain of pure rubbish” it has become today. The community has suffered environmental degradation as a result of the mining and the changing attitude of mine owners who have cut community benefits eg transport, electricity.
Section 2  Impact of mining expansion on the environment eg water pollution. Rivers and lake used to be profitable, now totally polluted. The community also were victims of cattle rustling and witnessed their best lands (Carmen Chico estate) being taken over by the mining company. Non-company employees were forced to pay rent if their animals grazed there.
Section 3  Good relationship with previous owner, Fernandini. He had the respect of his employees, but the community elders also never let any issues go by unresolved. People paid rent because of fear of having no land, until Agrarian Reform. Carmen Chico estate was dismantled with little resistance from owners, who even supported the Huachuhuaccacca folk's claim to land. His work: in mining company (electrician, train driver) and odd jobs around town
Section 4  Family history – has some wealthy farming/trading uncles. Father worked for the Cooper Corporation in Cerro de Pasco and then moved to Tinyahuarco. At one point his farm and animals were stolen and he left the mine to sort this out. He returned to work in El Brocal as a bricklayer but an industrial accident left him with permanent spine damage. He died when Ignacio was about 12. Changes in local feasts from parent’s time to present, eg dances change with fashion. Important role of patron saint in binding community together - community disdain if members don't honour their commitment to organising this.
Section 5  Carnival and Huaranccacca's offering to the mountain. “When we get there we dig a hole to bury the offering to the Jirca in the name of our sheep and llamas so we can be sure that nothing will happen to them and they won’t be short of the main thing, grazing. We bury some coca, cigarettes, sweets and liquor for the Jirca. We chew coca and drink spirits to please the Jirca so he will look after our animals.” Illness/healing - mountain has some healing powers. People mainly use doctors but also use home/herb remedies. Rituals for 1st and 2nd November (Days of the Dead)
Section 6  Rituals around a new baby: The family party and the grander haircutting ceremony to choose a godfather. Agrarian Reform - Huaranccacca, Sacra and Raco communities got redistributed land and cattle from the Fernandini estate and became cooperatives; only Sacra prospered as they had good land. Huaranccacca cooperative: members donated animals but they aren't doing well - only 50 cows and nothing to invest. No government assistance. Little surplus eg the odd blanket or some food or sweet bread at Christmas.
Section 6-7  Cooperative has shouldered community expenses which have benefited the mine, eg brought in electricity which is mostly used by the company and it's now rationed in the village. The mine is harming them with pollution and taking away community benefits.
Section 7  Migration of young people. Two of his children live in Lima. They criticise the backwardness of village, and of their father - for not looking for other opportunities. His reasons: too old to move, too expensive and he knows how to survive here, but he is pleased that his children are more ambitious. Development - wants the cooperative to grow, and for the company to treat the village well and to cooperate with community initiatives as they did with the health post where the community put in labour. Wants funds to cover travel costs etc when the leaders go on community business.
Section 8  Not much government assistance except for a petrol dump truck which is too expensive to run. Appeals to company not to cut electricity and water. People who work in the company won't speak for fear of losing their jobs.