photo of person from Peru Cerro de Pasco
Peru glossary


(PERU 17)













Section 1
Ok, we're going to take this opportunity to speak to a young man from the mining town of La Oroya. To begin, can you give us your name?
Yes, of course, my name is Wilmer Eliseo Macha.

Where were you born? Where are you from originally?
I was born in Huancayo, but my parents took me to La Oroya when I was two years old. Since then I've lived in La Oroya, so I am practically an Oroyino (person from La Oroya).

Where are your parents from?
My parents are from Concepcion, from the province of Concepcion in the department of Junin, over there, near Huancayo. They came to work in La Oroya when they were about 20. My father came to work in Centromin's Laboratory, he is metallurgical worker in Centromin.

Did your mother come to La Oroya with your father? Were they already married?
Yes, of course. I had already been born - my father was 20 and my mother 17. They got married and shortly afterwards they went to La Oroya.

But, you were saying your parents were both from Concepcion, from the same place.
No, no. They aren't from the same community, they are from different communities. My mother is from Mito which is in Concepcion and my father is from San Roque, near Yauricocha. It isn't really part of Concepcion, it's part of Yauyos, way over there. It's higher up. On the way to Yauricocha, as I said.

How do the people from your parent's communities make a living?
From agriculture and livestock. They harvest potatoes and maize, also habas (broad beans).

Do you still have relatives there?
Yes, my grandparents are still over there. There's always someone there: a few aunts and uncles and, of course, cousins.

Do they still make a living from agriculture, from livestock?
Yes. They still make a living from agriculture and livestock. That's how they support themselves.
Section 2
Can they live off it?
Well...that depends. Some seasons are good, but they have problems during droughts, or when there is no rainfall. When they have financial problems it stops them from planting because they can't stock up. They call that famine; those are times of famine.

Yes. I remember my grandmother told me that at one time they had nothing to eat because there was no harvest because of the drought. They would take the cactus - you know, those that flower and have needles- cut the stem, remove the needles and drink the liquid because there was no water. It was really tough. They would also eat some plants... what do you call them? Those that grow even if there is a drought. I think they are called chita. I am not sure - I don't remember. Anyway, they would make it into a salad and that's all they would eat.

I imagine the famines were very difficult and that people would have to go elsewhere to make a living.
Well, during the time she [grandmother] refers to there was a lot of suffering going on because the road going to Huancayo didn't even exist yet. The whole areas was a prairie, it was really empty so it wasn't easy to go that way. They didn't have the road they have today.

Have your parents told you why they went to La Oroya?
Well, my father told me he left home when he was 12.

Where did he go?
He went to Huancayo because he didn't want to be a farmer and live on the farm for the rest of his life.

Didn't he like it?
No. My grandfather would tell him he had to stay and work on the farm with him and his brothers, but he didn't want to stay.

How many brothers did your father have?
Seven, I think. My father is the eldest, that's why my grandfather demanded more from him. He went to Huancayo when he was thirteen and did different jobs. First he was a loader, then he worked at a sawmill before leaving to La Oroya to become a miner.

So, from Concepcion he went to Huancayo?
Well, from San Roque, the community where he was from, he went to Huancayo, then to La Oroya. There he started a new life. By the way, he was studying in Huancayo, because there was no secondary school in his community. He tells me that [education] was the main reason [why he moved].

Was that the main reason? While on the subject of education, was there only primary education in the community?
Yes, there was only primary education- only up to what is known today as fourth grade. That's it. He left because he thought he would not be able to finish his studies. That's why he went to Huancayo. He wanted to study and not just complete fourth grade which only would allow him to just read and write.
Section 3
But, he didn't like farm life either, did he?
Well, you can't say he didn't like it. He did liked it, but he wanted to improve himself. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life on the farm. He wanted to be something more. He told me that when he went to work at the sawmill, he was elected leader [by his colleagues] by the time he was 20.

Where did he meet your mother?
In Huancayo, at an Evangelic church.

Are they Evangelists?
Well, they used to be, just to get married. After that they weren't anymore.

They aren't anymore? Haven't they continued to practise that religion?
Not anymore.

Did your mother go to Huancayo with her family?
My mother went frequently to Huancayo with her grandfather, her father and her family, her whole family. Her community is 17 kilometres away from Huancayo. She frequently went to Huancayo with her family. They even bought a house together with my aunt and uncle. They always went to Huancayo. Since my grandfather has a farm in Vito, very close to Huancayo, he would sell his produce in there.

So, did your parents meet in Huancayo?
Yes they met in Huancayo, got married there and I was born there. I am the eldest.

Why did they move to La Oroya? What made them decide to move and start working in the mining business?
I don't know. I don't really remember. I think my grandfather, my mother's father, knew a man who told him there were vacancies, that there was a contest in La Oroya to fill in vacancies at the company. I don't know how many people competed for the places, but my father got second place. He did well and that's how it all started.

When was the contest?
It was in 1976, yes, 1976.

So, your father started working for Centromin Peru in 1976?
Yes, it was 1976 because my sister, the second one, was born in 1977 and we were already in La Oroya. There's three of us, the youngest was born in 1987.

When were you born?
I was born in 1974.

You're 20 now?
21. I'll be 21.

How old were you arrived in La Oroya?
I was two. I am practically from La Oroya. I was born in Huancayo, but I am practically an Oroyino. Until now that I have come to Lima, I lived in La Oroya all my life. My father has worked in La Oroya all that time - 19 years of work.
Section 4
You were saying that you practically spent all your life in La Oroya, what is it like to live in a mining camp?
To tell you the truth, life there is good on one side. I like it...

It's... How can I put it? Everyone is friendly. You go somewhere and people take you in, that's what people are like in La Oroya. You just become everyone's friend. Everyone in the neighbourhood is friendly. The women, for example, get up early in the morning and chat by the well as they do the laundry.

They do the laundry in the well, outside their houses?
Yes, there's only one well with four... or maybe six water basins. They go their very early in the morning to wash clothes...

Don't the miners' houses have water?
No, they don't have taps. There is a common tap that supplies potable water to about 16 to 20 families, depending on the roads in the camp. Since my road is big, there are two wells with six water basins each. The people chat there. As I was telling you, people - parents, women, children - are very friendly.

So, you are saying people are very friendly and solidaristic; people like each other in the camps?
Yes, of course. They are practically like your family. You go out and everyone knows you. In fact you have to be cautious because if you do something wrong everyone finds out. You could say one is a bit controlled. But, the people over there are good, more so than in Lima. Lima is tough. Here [in Lima] they take advantage of you, they look for your weak points. There, though, it's different, people are good; they like you the way you are. People respect each other, they greet you, there's a good morning a good afternoon. Here there's none of that. Sometimes they don't even say hello. There, they greet you with a smile even if they don't know you. For example if you go to a little town in the provinces, people will take you in - they'll let you in their homes even if they don't know you. They don't think you are a thief or that you are nothing. They just let you in; the doors are open, believe it or not. People from the provinces - the farmers - are like that...

And in the mining camps, is it the same?
Of course. People are warm.

Why do people in La Oroya come from different places, from different villages?
Of course, it's cosmopolitan. The majority come from Tarma, Huancayo - from the entire Mantaro Valley. Few are from La Oroya. Most are immigrants.

What you have been telling me are all positive things, but in the beginning you also said there were some aspects that were not so positive.
Well, we young people don't have work. There Centromin is everything so that forces people to become idle because there is no work. There are people that just sit and drink. Yes, there are people who spend their life doing that, but those who want to make themselves better have to leave La Oroya and come to Lima because there are universities here. Any youth who wants to improve himself has to leave by the time he is 16, 17. Since the majority want to go to university, they leave La Oroya, some of them to look for work. You could say that 80% to 85% leave La Oroya.
Section 5
Are there possibilities for the young...
Well, over the last 3 years they have created pedagogic institutes, but even if these exist people need to leave to get work because in La Oroya only Centromin Peru employs people and that isn't enough work for everyone. Now they are even firing workers so there's no future there. I think that if Centromin didn't exist, La Oroya would disappear. Before, migrants would come to La Oroya to look for work, now it's the opposite - some leave because they are fired from their jobs. It's not like it was during my father's days. That has all changed. That's why there isn't much of a future for us in La Oroya so about 80% of the young people leave. Those that don't work in Centromin have their businesses and sell to Centromin's miners. That's what it's like now.

What do you think about the living conditions in La Oroya? Is it difficult?
Yes, of course, the living conditions are [difficult] because of the environment. For example, the camp we live in is 300 metres away from the refinery, the smelting plant, the chimneys, the smoke and the pollution - all 300 to 500 metres away. You can clearly feel the gasses from the chimneys. There are moments when your throat and nose sting. This really happens.

Have you suffered of any permanent troubles as a result of the pollution?
To tell you the truth I haven't. You get used to it. People who come here from other places though feel the difference and they ask us, "How can you live with that gas?". But, you get used to it. Of course there are people that do get sick. They get bronchial problems and some workers are called emplomados (literally, leaded people) because it is said that their blood has lead in it because they have been exposed to the pollution from the chimneys. There are people whose skin is affected as well. There are a lot of diseases among the miners I have heard about but I don't know what they are called. That's the way it is, some people get sick.

What has your father told you about a miner's work, or, in this, case a metallurgical worker's job? I imagine you must have heard about his work.
My father, as I told you, worked in a metallurgical centre which is different from working in a mine itself. It is not the same as working in the tunnel or in an open pit, like in Cerro de Pasco. In general, though people - my father and also my friends, I
have friends that work in the mines - say it is tough...

Friends your age?
Yes, they start working at 18. Recently, because of privatisation and all the firing, the workers have formed cooperatives. The mechanics of a cooperative consists of certain people forming a cooperative, recruiting members and trying to hook them up with mining work. The cooperative has an agreement with the company; the company says how many people they need, the cooperative gets them the workers and then tell the workers how much they'll be paid. They give each worker a certain amount and the rest is kept by the cooperative...
Section 6
But, isn't that a different system?
It's different from the previous one, of course.

Different from your father's time?
Of course. During my father's time the company had them [the workers] on the payroll and they were permanent [employees]. In contrast, now they only hire on a temporary basis, that is all.

Does that mean nobody is hired on a permanent basis nowadays?
No, now everyone is a "contract", that's what they are called. They are not permanent, they have no security. And now that Centromin is going to be privatised nobody knows what's going to happen. Uncertainty reigns, minds worry.

Has working in the mines ever crossed your mind?
Well, yes because I have friends who tell me, "Let’s go work, we'll all be together there", and all that to try to encourage me. Yes, it has crossed my mind but I really haven't had the opportunity. I'll tell you an anecdote...

Tell us.
I went back to La Oroya recently and I bumped into a friend my age, maybe a bit younger, probably 18 or 19. When I saw him his face was covered in spots. He had started working for Centromin four days ago. He told me he was working for the company and when he said that I asked if he was working in the arsenic plant. He said he was. I remembered my father saying that everyone who worked in the arsenic plant would get covered in spots and get ill. I remembered that, that's why I asked and, as you can see, it was true. But, you haven't heard anything yet, he told me he had just started working four days ago, but that he had a three-month contract. If he was like that after four days, can you imagine what he'll be like in three months? The worse thing is he doesn't know how much he'll get paid. He thinks it will be about 15 to 18 soles a day (8 dollars). Can you imagine, that's the way things are now for the people that start working for the company.

It's really very worrying because they have no rights now.
That's right. It is worse now than what it was. When my father started working it was better, a bit better, if you like, but now it's a terrible situation. It's very unfavourable.

Do you think your father would have liked you to work in the mines, or not?
No, I don't think so.

No, I think not.

Why do they think he doesn't want you to be a miner?
It's not because he doesn't want me to work, but because he doesn't want me to stay [in La Oroya]. He wants me to do better things than he did. He wants me to succeed in other jobs. Nobody wants to fall behind, that's true. They want us to improve ourselves.

What does he say to you?
Well, here [in Lima] I support myself with a business that wants to and doesn't want to take off because I am just starting. With experience it will get better.
Section 7
Of course. What about the people your age who finish school in La Oroya? What do they do? Study? What are they doing? How do they see their future?
Most of them come to Lima, others go to Huancayo or Cerro de Pasco. The truth is very few stay in La Oroya. It must be about 20% who remain in La Oroya, very few stay. The majority leave and learn new things and never come back. Others work for Centromin to save money and then leave. They finish school and they leave La Oroya...

Why do you think this happens? Before, people, like your parents, would go to La Oroya, isn't that a change?
Because there are no opportunities for anyone, not even for the miners. For example, I studied in La Oroya, at the company's school, a state school belonging to the mining centre. There are lots of schools and every year students leave - what are they going to do in La Oroya? what will they do staying there? Instead they have other plans because they know there is no future in La Oroya.

What plans did you have when you left school?
Me, to study business, accounting, something related to business studies. Now I am applying to university and if I don't get a high enough score in the entrance exam I'll have to keep trying.

Do your parents want you to study?
Of course, but it isn't easy. In Lima I've run into little problems because I had no family here, I didn't know anyone. Because of that it's been difficult to study...

What was the main change in coming from a mining camp to a city like Lima? What was different?
It's different because when you arrive they marginalise you a bit. That's what I felt at first. They try to pull your leg because the people here don't like people from other places. It's like they don't like competition. But you can overcome that, you get to know people and start adapting to Lima and feeling more comfortable. Of course, you always have to be careful because they can always take advantage of you.

Are the customs different?
Oof! Very different. Over there [La Oroya] they prepare pachamancas (meat and vegetables cooked in underground ovens) for labour day, pachamanca, bar-b-cues and truchadas (trout cooked under a wood fire).

Can you tell us what a pachamanca is like?
Of course. Pachamancas are, well... First, on labour day you have to wake up early. There's a place called the Churec or Marcavalle Park where there's a lot of land. You get there early and get an oven. You have to grab an oven because they are left from previous years or just other times people have had pachamanca. Those that get there early can choose the best ovens...

What are the ovens made out of?
They are holes in the ground, about 50 centimetres deep. The first thing you do is clean it -it must be cleaned- then you take the stones -special stones- they don't really have to be limestones because limestones explode with the heat so if you use them the pachamanca becomes bitter. Then you take the stones and you do this, like a circle. Use the bigger stones as the base and start placing them upwards, about 40 centimetres high, in such a way so that the stones at the stones underneath do not fall. That is called pilcar. Pilcar means to set the stones right.
Section 8
Is it a Quechua word?
I think it does come from Quechua. They take… They take the stones and, of course, the smallest ones go on top. The one that goes at the top is the smallest one which closes the oven. It goes on top so that it [the oven] doesn't fall, because if it does the pachamanca is ruined. Once you have placed all the stones there's an opening where you can put in the firewood or grass, whatever, to burn, in this manner, the fire that heats the stones. The hotter, the better...

For how long do they stay in the oven?
It depends on the size of the oven but more or less one to two hours in a good sized also depends on the amount of firewood.

So, finally a pachamanca is building an oven out of stones without lime- you heat them with firewood and once the oven is hot, you remove the firewood, right?
Once the oven [is hot] it is not necessary to remove the firewood, you just put in... I forgot that first you uncover the oven and take out the stones which are really hot- almost red hot. You remove them with tongs so you don't get burned and you put in the food. First the potatoes, then the meat -beef, chicken, rabbit, whatever you like- then the maize tamales and the habas - whatever you like, really. You just let it
get hot, cook.

From what you tell me, Wilder, you seem to be a pachamanca expert.
It's because we have pachamancas every year. It's good because everyone contributes something - you could say they contribute to prepare the food. The children, for example, start preparing the tamales the day before.

How do you prepare tamales?
You grind the corn, add salt or sugar -depending on whether you want salty or sweet tamales- and meat or raisins. Then you wrap them up in the corn's leaves and leave them, tie each one up as you like - square or long - with knots or bows, that way you can tell who bounded which tamale. You can recognise them that way.

Did you learn from your mother, father, grandparents?
Of course, something like that... You can say its a tradition- you see it and learn it because it's done every year. Yes, that's the way it is. The children learn from their parents. That's what happens, it's like a tradition.

Is it a custom, a tradition?
It's a custom, there's people who make really good pachamancas. The people who are just learning don't make it very well, but then they learn and it turns out better.
Section 9
Who are the experts in your family?
Ah, my father. He always likes to go to the countryside to prepare pachamanca. He's really friendly...

He's the expert in your family?
Yes, you could say he is, but there's someone else, Mr Bastida, who always prepared it with us. He's also really good at preparing pachamanca.

Did your father learn in his community?
Yes, of course. From father to son... what changes is the time. In La Oroya it's on Labour Day, mainly, because it is a town of workers. We also have pachamanca on Mother's Day. You have to get up early, really early, despite the cold weather, because there are such few ovens- I was telling you there are few ovens. You have to grab an oven first and begin to heat it up, that's the way it goes.

What other tradition or celebration do you celebrate?
Now, in February, we celebrate the Cortamonte and the Yunsas. This is during the carnivals - February and March. In January we celebrate the arrival of the three wise men in honour of Jesus. We have parties in each person's house. Then in February we celebrate the Yunsas- those are huge parties with bands that dance huaynitos and santiagos, all typical folk dances.

Do young people your age dance that too, or is getting lost?
Of course [we do], everyone from the youngest ones to the old ones [dance], but there are always be people who don't dance.

But the people your age, for example, do they still like these traditional dances or not anymore?
Yes, because your in your town and it's an every day thing to see people dancing huaynito. In every family get together -in almost 90% of the houses of people from the sierra (mountain) - we dance. In every party there are huaynitos, huaylashs, santiagos, all the dances.

How do the huayno, huaylas and santiago differ?
Ok, ready, I'll explain it. Santiago is danced during carnival and its characterised by a little drum called a tinya. The musicians play it and you take a step to the beat of the drum, tan, tan, tan. Each time you hear the drum you take a step and you dance. You have to dance in a pandillada, a group. Pandillada means one couple goes after another, one person goes behind another. One person, or couple, goes in front. They lead and if they go in one direction, everyone goes that way; if they go in the other direction, they follow. That's the Santiago... Now the huaylash has more footwork- more tapping. As they say, "You crack the floor". You stomp on the floor, jumping and dancing with more rapid movements than in the huayno. The huayno is slow, isn't it? Huayno is more peaceful, while huaylash is faster and stronger, as if you were stepping on cockroaches.
Section 10
Ha,Ha. Do you think those tradition are maintained, that they don't get lost?
Well, I think that at least in La Oroya they still exist. They have the dance in every party, as I said. There are people who say they want to lose this tradition, but once they have a bit of a buzz, once they have had a few beers and are sort of drunk, phew, they start dancing like the best dancers.

Are people your age influenced by music from other places?
Yes, there are night clubs...

What do they dance there?
They dance salsa, rock; there's chicha (a mixture of tropical and traditional music), cumbias... but people always like their own fiestas (festivals, celebrations).

What do you think is changing in La Oroya?
Well, even though people are still always arriving in La Oroya, I don't think things are the way they were when my father arrived, for example. People also leave now. They didn't before. Even though there are institutes [of higher education] the majority of young people still leave La Oroya because they feel there are no opportunities there and that, you can say, frustrates them. Some of them are retailers but not everyone can make a living from selling because then, who does the buying? We, my family, started selling a long time ago, luckily. We have experience. You could say we know the business, but even then it's not easy...

How did the idea of your family's business crop up?
My father, my father's father, that is to say, my grandfather, was always involved in retail, he used to sell livestock. He tells us that before the road was built he would come here and go up to Huacho. From there he would back to San Roque, near Chupaca. He would get livestock from different places and sell them. He had three to four animals for sale.

So, your family has always been involved in retail?
Yes, they are merchants. When my father became a miner he used his first salaries to buy merchandise and, finally, he set up a business. It's a family business. We family takes care of the business. There have been good and bad times alike.

What do they sell?
Now, we sell trainers which we get from Lima or Huancayo. We have also sold shirts and clothes in general. My mother also brings cheese and milk from her village. Despite everything- despite the business and my father's salary as a miner, there have been times when we have not had enough to live off of. It doesn't cover the expenses.

You mention good and bad times. What are they related to?
Everything is linked to Centromin. When Centromin is going through good times, La Oroya grow, sales grow, but when Centromin is going downhill, La Oroya shrinks. La Oroya depends a lot on Centromin- about 90%. It depends a lot on the company, a lot. I remember when the adjustment (structural adjustment), known as Fujishock, was applied in 1990, August of 1990... after that things in La Oroya changed, Nobody had enough money, it was really tough. Prices went up tenfold, I can't remember correctly. Centromin went through a tremendous crisis. They started firing people about in December. Up to now they have fired about 8000 from Centromin and they say they will keep firing more. They don't pay the workers right either, wages are delayed or behind schedule. At that time my father was a [union] leader ...
Section 11
Was he a labour union leader?
Yes. Worse even, they did not pay him and the other leaders on time. People, the workers, depend on that [their wages]. If you don't pay on time or the wages are behind, people get into debt. Since then there's been a great change. A general crisis set in La Oroya and since then nothing has recovered- everything changed. AS I see it, that's what happened.

I imagine you had a hard time -your father didn't get his wages- and I imagine that the family business which depended on the salary of other miners was not doing well either.
No, it wasn't anymore. It goes by periods. Periods of the year. My father has been a union leaders two or three times: at the union in 1984 and the federation in 1989-90. Those were really hard times because all the labour union leaders had death threats- they would get letters. I remember that the Comando Rodrigo Franco (Paramilitary group presumed to be part of the government of that time) was always threatening the mining union leaders. It is said they killed Saul Cantoral, the Secretary General of National Mining Federation. My father would also get death threats but he wouldn't stop. He told us he couldn't do anything and that he would continue until his term was over. My mother and his relatives would tell him to quit, to think about his family. But, he would say he did think about his family, that if improvements were achieved everyone would benefit, the family too. Those were very difficult times. My family, though, never really agreed. My mother had to support him, of course, but my grandparents didn't tell him not to get involved.

I imagine you were all worried.
Of course. Let me tell you, once my father had to be at a meeting -I can't remember if it was in Cerro de Pasco or Morococha maybe, but it was one of those places and he had been at one of those place the day before and he had to be at the other place the next day because there was a strike. There was a strike at the time and he was the Secretary General of the Worker's Federation of Centromin Peru. They were on their way to this place with other compañeros (companions/comrades) when the car broke down. They had no other alternative but to wait. They arrived a bit late and quickly went to the union's premises because there was a worker's assembly. When they arrived they found to their surprise that two mining leaders had been murdered. I remember now, it was Morococha. My father told me that the murders came in and asked for him, for Eliseo Macha...

Who were they, the Shining Path or para-militaries?
I think that it was Rodrigo Franco (para-militaries) that time, because they were really against the miners. At that time Alan Garcia was around [as President] and things were really tough. Of course, in the end nobody knows who did it because the Shining Path also threatened the workers and, especially, the union leaders that were not on their side. My father got so may letters saying they were going to kill him.
Section 12
So, were things really difficult at that time?
Yes, very tough. You can't imagine how we lived in the camps. On the one hand, the Shining Path harassed the miners in order to force them to join their campaign orders, if they didn't they would either threaten them or kill them. On the other hand, the military would barge into the camps. For them, everyone was a Shining Path member. Even worse, the union leaders were the greatest suspects. The military and the soplones (secret police) threatened them too.

All of this must have made a mark in the life of the mining camp. Do you remember?
Oh, yes, of course. It was especially tough in La Oroya. You could not live in peace. They could take you away anywhere, or a bomb could explode. Too many have died like that, without knowing what was going on. Life in the camp changed a lot during that time. Above all, all that influenced the workers and their organisations... and, of course, business was bad too. My mother took care of the business, but it [money] was not enough, they were difficult years. During the strikes, sometimes we would all have to join together and make ollas comunes. You know... ollas comunes consist of asking everyone -merchants, fruit and vegetable retailers, all the residents- for voluntary contributions and you cook for everyone in the biggest pots you can imagine. Everyone has to contribute because everyone eats from the same pot. Those who don't contribute don't eat... no, that's a lie, everyone eats.
On one hand it’s really good because people unite and there's solidarity: the women would cook and the men would collect the food, thats what happened. But this hasn't happened much in a long time now. Things have changed. The workers themselves don't risk it anymore, they don’t strike like they did when my father was a union leader because, since 1992, there are no permanent fixed contracts [established]. The laws are very tough and unfavourable to the workers, before they were [favourable]. Wages have gone down, but, despite that, since people depend on them, they don't know anything aside from being miners. They have been miners all their lives and now they are getting old, they are afraid of losing their jobs. They think they wouldn't know what to do. That's why they don't get involved. Since they don't have secure contracts they say the law has changed too much and that the company can fire people, the workers, easily and that's what they are doing.

Is your father still working for the company? Has he not been laid off?
Yes, but many of his colleagues have been fired. They say more will be fired this year. Maybe it will be his turn. We'll wait and see.

What do you think your father would do if the fired him?
Well he will concentrate on trade, in La Oroya or Huancayo, depends, or he will go to the countryside. We have a plot of land in my mothers community. Since it is close to Huancayo he could raise a few animals, sell between then two cities. My father has the advantage that he does know how to do other things.
Section 13
Do many miners return to their communities?
Yes, of course. Since the majority of the miners that live in La Oroya aren't from the area, they go back to their communities when they stop working...

What are your plans?
By all means to study, above all, to study. I want to stay in Lima to study.

Would you go back and live in La Oroya?
I didn't know. Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what I do. I time I'll do what is more convenient, but the truth is I don't see much of a future now. Young people like me don't see much of a future in La Oroya. They can't even be sure they'll be miners anymore. It wasn't like that before, but that's what it's like now. Before you could start working and you could keep your job. Now, you can have a job one day and none the next. Maybe, if in the future things get better I would go back. In the meantime though, I want to study in Lima and decide what to do later. First I must study and once I'm doing that I'll take care of the future and decide.

What do you want to study?
Business management or accounting.

At university?
Yes, of course.

Have you ever though of studying something related to mining?
The truth is I haven't. There are some metallurgical institutes in La Oroya, but they don't really interest me. I'm more interested in something related to business.

Do you definitely have more of a businessman's blood than a miner's blood?
Well, maybe...

Are you study now- are you preparing for university [entrance exams]?
Well yes. We'll see what happens.

What about your business, do you manage it? Do you know it well?
Yes, of course. I learned when I was very young. I know where to get whole sale purchases. I came to Lima and bought merchandise. You could say I manage it well, that I know it well.

Are you saying then that your plans at the moment are not to stay in L Oroya.
Not at the moment, but maybe one day.

Do you think most people your age think the same as you?
Of course. I'm sure of that. About 90% of my graduating class already left La Oroya. That's what happened and will continue happening. That's today's reality. It might change and get better...
Section 14
That's what we all hope for too, Wilder. Thank you for your testimony. I hope everything works out well for you and your family in the future.
Thank you...