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(PERU 5)






leader of welfare org.






Delma was  born  in Cerro  de  Pasco  and  moved  to Quiulacocha when she was married. She is president of the community Vaso de Leche (literally, Glass of Milk; welfare organisation aiming to ensure all children receive milk daily) organisation which ensures all children in the community have sufficient milk to drink. She  explains  that its rare for women to hold  positions  of authority  in the community and believes this is just a custom but that women should be better prepared educationally as  things are likely to change.

She  talks about aspects of community life, occupations and customs. Many are basically  the  same  as when she was young, but  which  are now being challenged  as a result of the contamination and  the  subsequent lack of livestock. She says, ‘Now there is more destitution, a lot of poverty. Take an example, there didn’t used to be an organisation called Vaso de Leche. Everybody had resources and it wasn’t necessary then. Now yes, there’s a need.

This,  in  turn,  is leading to massive out-migration  of  the younger generation in search of better employment prospects. She says, “That’s why the young people go away. My son’s now in Lima, he didn’t want to stay here, ‘I don’t want to be like my parents’, he said, ‘all the time working and nothing, I don’t want to live in Quiulacocha’, he said…. I believe that after so much time waiting for things to get better, the best thing for the young ones is to move elsewhere.”

Any  attempt to defend themselves against the mining  company is  inhibited  by the military presence in the  area  which,  she claims, is there to protect the company, rather than guard against terrorist activity which is practically non-existent there.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  She was born in Cerro de Pasco and moved to Quiulacocha when she married. She has one son. Husband is a comunero. Possibility  of  females being comuneros - as  widows  or  if they've inherited land; no women on the governing board of the community, but women responsible for organisation like Vaso de Leche.
Section 2  It’s customary for women to do domestic chores and  for men to hold positions of authority. She believes this should change but women need to be better prepared in terms of education. Compared to when she was a child, parents bother more about  sending  children  to school.
Section 3  Son did military service then went away to Lima and lives there with his family, working as a trader. Explains how she and her husband came to be living here.
Section 4  Life in community different to city - quieter, more  space, but no holidays, no security, no fixed incomes. In terms of occupations it is mainly a livestock-rearing community (including llamas). People  also go to Pacas to extract sand/stone. Used to grow maca (a kind of tuber) but not now.
Section 5  Has thought about going away but there is too much insecurity so decided to build their lives here. She really likes the fiestas - carnivals, community anniversary, national fiestas; fiestas haven't changed; describes how padrino (godfather/sponsor) is elected by the community and has to finance all the celebrations
Section 6  Customs  have not really changed but the contamination  has reduced resources. Increased poverty has created need for organisation like Vaso de  Leche: everybody from community supplies their animals/milk for this purpose.
Section 7  Mainly women in charge of Vaso de Leche. Presence of military and police is new, “they” say it’s to protect the community from terrorists but she believes it’s to protect the company as the only terrorist activity has been in Cerro. The military presence hasn't brought community any benefits, as they take Centromin’s side.
Section 8  Centromin  hasn't  fulfilled its  promises  to the community. They started conversing  with Centromin about  the  contamination decades  ago - believes it’s going to get worse – feels  the company represses them. Explains how they've tried to overcome problems: planted maca, become entrepreneurs (cooperative/bakery). Central government don't help. Because of all this young are moving away.
Section 9  Despite this, community has not lost hope and try themselves to improve things. Young people go to Lima or a  mining  place  called Chacua - don't come back to stay; others leave for health reasons and the lack of medical facilities here. About 15 or 20 miners live in Quiulacocha.
Section 10  Young people leave to find work, “they don’t go because they hate their land…. the majority go to escape the poverty…” Says she and her husband are too old to leave the community themselves now. Would like to see Centromin build the community a school.
Section 11  Centromin is building a channel that will increase pollution. She doesn't think the community can defend itself against things like this without the support of the central government. She explains that they were repressed by troops last time they attempted talks. Someone came from the city and took a sample of the water  away for the President to see but nothing happened. Her husband doesn't want to leave as all his life he's been  a comunero. Their work: rearing livestock and grazing community llamas.
Section 12  Hopes that their demands are listened to.