photo of person from Peru Cerro de Pasco
Peru glossary


(PERU 22)






community leader/builder


Saco (La Oroya)





We are with Mr. Magno Rojas who has kindly suspended his construction work for a moment in order to give us the opportunity to interview him as leader and original member of the peasant community of Saco, known today as the district of Santa Rosa de Saco which belongs to the province of Yauli-La Oroya. The community is located on the entrance of the city of La Oroya, on each side of the carretera central (central highway) which links it [La Oroya] to Lima. Its proximity to the smelter has provoked drastic changes in the community. These are reflected in the testimony of this honourable citizen.

Section 1
Can you give us your full name?
Of course. My name is Magno Felix Rojas Huaman.

Are you a member of the Saco community?
Currently, I am only a member of the Educational Committee.

The Community's Educational Committee?
Of the Saco community.

Were you born right here, in the community?
Here, in Santa Rosa de Saco in the Tambo Valley.

Would it be possible to know on what date?
November 5th of the year 1940.

Do you have references from your ancestors about what the community was like before the smelter was installed?
Yes, I have information from my grandparents, my aunts, uncles and from my parents about the period before the initiation of Cerro de Pasco's smelter. Back in those days, everyone was dedicated to agriculture and livestock, like any other peasant community. The population lived from that, but when the smoke arrived it damaged the vegetation first, then the animals. Cattle, sheep, llamas, all the animals the comuneros (registered community members with rights and responsibilities) owned died.

You were telling me before this was a centre of good dairy production, that there were many dairy farms. Can you explain this?
Yes. Now, I remember only a few of the original names, I don't have a good memory but where the refinery is currently located, on the opposite side, there were pens, I think belonging to the Bernales family, where there were cattle stables. They planted fodder for feed. There was some agricultural production also where the current smelter of La Oroya is. All of La Oroya was full of stables and plots of land where one planted and for grazing the animals of the few community members of that time.
Section 2
Has the dairy industry disappeared?
Definitely. Not even the traces of it are left now. Nothing, nothing as a consequence of pollution.

What did they grow at the time?
Well, I still had the opportunity to see the cultivation of olluco potatoes. Also potato, quince and barley.

Was that production for the internal consumption of the population?
Yes, it was only internal. It was not traded in other places.

But was production good?
Yes, a lot of production.

And what happened when smelter appeared?
Then everything was degraded. Nothing was the same. The majority of us have dedicated ourselves to the company and not to plant because there was no longer was any trust. because at the time the smoke was so strong, you could not plant or raise animals, so they have had to migrate to other places, some to work for the company which at the time was called Cerro de Pasco Corporation. Those were the consequences of the smoke on the vegetation and the animals.

Did your grandfather get to work for Cerro de Pasco?
Yes. I remember he worked when I was a child. When I was seven, I think, my grandfather died.

And your father?
My father is alive, but he has worked in a company, ENAFER-Peru. Actually, it is ENAFER, it is the railroad company.

Was your father a cattle rancher and did he cultivate on the land?
No. Definitely not. Maybe when he was young. I do not have many references about this. But, now that I try to remember, he was young and he began to work.

Only on the railroads?
Yes, only on that, in ENAFER until he retired.

And your mum, is she also from Saco?
Yes, she is also from here.

What did she do?
Yes, all her time has been spent on livestock ranching until now that she is old. She is alive. Now, we don't even have "samples". But, up to five years ago we still could have had about eight like this [this big???] a couple herdsmen, yes because I dedicated myself to construction. Then, because of my mum's age [we have stopped???], but there's no security [in livestock production], the cattle has been dying off [looking] skinny [because of] lack of attention and too little grass. As you can see there is no vegetation. The land is degraded. You can see a little. Lately the grass has recuperated when they made some repairs with filters, or something like that I have not been informed about by the company, so the smoke affects less. But only a bit less.
Section 3
This morning you made a reference that you helped your mother with the livestock.
Yes, from youth until a good age. I have helped my mum with the caring of the sheep since I was young because we had hundreds, 120 or 150 sheep.

Why didn't you continue to work in ranching?
Well, as a young man I realised that it was not profitable to have such a small amount [of sheep]. To dedicate oneself exclusively to this had few advantages, and more disadvantages. Simply, you raised [the animals] because, finally, it was a pleasure or because of the tradition of wanting to have animals. Later, because of my mother's age, before my grandmother had passed away, she began to leave [the animals]what corresponded to each [child/grandchild??] so the size of the herd decreased. So, it [the herd] was very small. It was not profitable to have such a small herd of sheep and dedicate oneself exclusively to them and there was no security because we don't have enough grass around here.

This morning you were also pointing out that there was a problem with feeding the sheep which was related to the sheep's milk and that impeded the sheep’s growth and that they died. Can you tell us about this again?
Yes, for example in the summer season, you see, since there is no green grass, when the ewe does not have enough milk. She does not produce the milk because the grass is dry. The lamb because they have no milk are skinny and die of malnourished. That's what happens.

Do you have an irrigation system in the community?
No, we don't have one anywhere. Also we don't have an adequate place to plant grass by irrigation.

But do you have water to establish a system watering by sprinklers?
Yes, a small amount of water.

You were telling me, likewise, that the company was supplied by Saco's water.
Yes, there was a spring with a good quantity of water coming out, but it is close to town, so they take it to their industries, possibly for the refinery through a tube that is set parallel to the railroad track. But now it has been taken over by another company. So now this water is coming out by the river, it is connecting the Yauli River.

Is this water not being used?
At the moment it is used for consumption. The hard waters have too much lime so they are only useful for raising or industrialising; raising trout, something like that.
Section 4
When you left ranching, what do you dedicate yourself to? What jobs?
When I stopped sheep farming, I got waged work. First I worked for many companies contracting for work on the highway. I completed the work on the highway, I went to work in Lima for three to four years, approximately. I returned later, and I had an opportunity to work in the company which was called at the time, Cerro de Pasco Corporation, as a contracted worker. There I learned to be a builder and then the contract ended so I left. Then I dedicated myself [to building] on my own account. I acquired some experience that way.

So from that time you dedicate yourself to building?
Yes, only to building, yes.

Did you only work here in La Oroya?
No, I have sometimes gone to Huancayo and to Lima, where they wanted my services. I left the area many times.

Have you gone to Lima?
Yes, I have also worked in Lima.

What have you worked [as] in Lima?
Recently, everything related to construction. We have done installations of air pipes, electrical installations in workshops, in the company where Volvo cars are repaired. They also have a branch in Chucchis. I am also a trusted worker [there] who is always given repair work in construction. Whatever they have, they always hire my services.

You left ranching because it was no longer profitable. Was this problem that you had, is it just yours, or is it the community's in general?
It is almost general because many have given ranching up for this reason. Before there were more people dedicated to the countryside, but now it is few people. The campesino is very poor. The number of campesinos, as they call us, are few. In the general list of inhabitants we get to be about 600. Of those 600, not even 10 work are dedicated to the land or ranching.

Why? What is the main reason?
Because we do not have enough land for grazing. For the most part the areas are uncultivated, there is no vegetation.

Because of the smoke?
Because of the smoke the land has little chance to recuperate. You can see for yourself, everything's red,... and there, nothing grows. When technicians have carried out analyses to plant grass, [their efforts] have been without positive results. More or less 20 centimetres are polluted- it has a name, I don't know what it's called- by the smoke, residues of the smoke. That's why it doesn't produce. It seems as if there are many strong substances and when it is deep ploughing with machinery, then it will [produce] but still it is with manure and fertilisers that the planting in that spot recuperates. But, where it [the land] cannot be moved and it is not worked on, there is no more production.
Section 5
Does that mean that the majority of community members are no longer involved in agricultural work and ranching?
Yes, certainly... They can no longer dedicate themselves to that activity.

So what do they do now?
All of them work independently, others work for the companies, the majority work for the company, now Centromin. Others are informal vendors, others do construction work. These are the only occupations the Saco community has here, there are no others.

Have they also left to other parts of the country?
Yes, also some have left the country.

They have also left the country?
Yes, I have an uncle in the United States. Some paisanos (fellow countrymen) are also in the United States, others in Germany, and a sister in Italy. There are people that have left the city, the country and Peru. Also, from here, from Saco, they have left to Huancayo or to Lima. They find each other in different places.

You were telling me that your father, had worked for the railroad. Did he do this job permanently?
Yes, until he retired he worked for the railroad company. It had a name that they have now changed, it is now ENAFER.

The Peruvian Corporation?
Yes, yes, our memory [past, heritage???] is going.

How many brothers and sisters in your family?
We are three.

Where are your two siblings?
I have a sister who is in Italy. She got married there, she has become nationalised. She has been there many years, approximately 20 years. I have another brother who died young, at 19, of cancer.

Of cancer?
Yes, of cancer.

What cancer?
Stomach cancer, a tumour.

In relation to your brothers death of cancer, do you know of other cases of neighbours who have died of the same disease?
Yes, many paisanos, family. I have an uncle who died the same way but, of course, he was old, over 50. Another uncle died the same way, 40 years old, also of cancer and also many paisanos, neighbours.
Section 6
Is it a very common disease?
Yes, many in Santa Rosa de Saco have had that illness. Could it be because of the smoke? I don't know.

Yes, there are links, hence my question. How about bronchial illnesses?
Bronchial, not many. However, colds are constant. It could be because of the cold, the area, because of the frosts, perhaps.

And for the children?
The cold also affects them often. The cold is strong in this area.

You were telling me you were a leader.
Yes, I am a leader.

Of the community of Saco itself?
Yes, since I was young, my grandparents, and my uncles have encouraged me to follow their footsteps because they have always been community leaders.

They have been leaders?
They have always been leaders. I also follow their same dynasty. I started when I was young in my neighbourhood, in sporting institutions. Of course I had the look to reach the Peru's first associated company (empress asociativa), SAIS Tupac Amaru, as president of the company.

Were you president of SAIS?

Could you tell us about SAIS's experience? What year was SAIS created?
I do not know exactly, but approximately around 1970, I think; agrarian reform comes in, I was there when Juan Velasco Alvarado was President at the time.

SAIS means?
Agricultural Society of Social Interest (Sociedad Agricola de Interes Social)

Does the Tupac Amaru SAIS include other communities or just one?
Yes, of course, I'll explain it to you. At this moment, as members, 16 communities, 16 campesino communities are members of SAIS. It is the case that each community sends two delegates for the assembly and from there the leaders are elected; and Saco is lucky to have an outstanding role. Eight presidents from Saco have been through SAIS. Another community which has excelled is the community of Huancayo that corresponds to the area of Cañete. They have also had about five presidents. Instead other communities have had none, some one or two and other members none. It seems that the community members of Saco have always demonstrated their capabilities by representing their community.

What are the main occupations of the members of SAIS?
Well, in SAIS, their main occupation is raising Junin sheep in there different units of production. In addition, they also have cattle in the appropriate areas since the amount of land is greater because many communities come together. We look for the most suitable land far away from contamination to raise cattle. In Paycheck, with permanent pastures, there is a dairy farm with mixed breed animals as well as alpaca rearing which has begun recently. That's what we do.
Section 7
When you were President of SAIS did you conduct negotiations in respect to the problem of the smoke?
Yes, a resolution was passed. In the old days the company paid. It compensated us for the damage done to the communities, to all the communities affected, according to their distance and the percentages taken into account [the campesinos got more compensation depending on how close they were to the smelter]. There was a time when they no longer paid us or they paid us small amounts for the smoke that did not improve [which continued to be a problem]. The amount we received was derisory, it was not sufficient, so we began negotiations with the Ministry of Agriculture and other entities until we began a law suite, advised by the company, SAIS, itself, to claim. After that a resolution was passed that demanded that they pay us an amount. That was also below what we expected and we appealed the ruling. Well, following the appeal an issuance was made which we have recently collected- something between 3000 and 5000 soles, I can’t be precise as to the quantity because I do not have the document, but it was more or less that amount.

Have you just claimed the money after so many years?
It's because the claim was stuck in the judicial branch which is very slow and has always favoured big companies and not the campesinos of the area.

Was that last year?
Yes, it was last year.

You were telling me that before the Cerro [de Pasco Corporation] paid compensation according to the percentage of damage done to agriculture. Do you remember the percentage of agricultural damage determined for the community of Sacos.
No, I do not know the precise date, but it was a considerable amount of money in 50s and 60s. I don't remember the exact amount but it was considerable. But, later, since that money did not cover the damages, the quantity was derisory to us. It meant nothing, it didn't compensate anything.

What was the compensation paid by Cerro de Pasco like? What method did they use?
Well, in those times, as far as I can remember, they used the following method: since the animals died because of the smoke, the person in charge, a man, a mayordomo (foreman) of the company, I don't know what he was called, would come along and count the hides of the sheep and pay the proprietor directly. In addition to this, it compensated the whole community for the general damage of the grazing land and the area affected.

How much did they pay for animals, do you remember?
Something like 15 cents, I remember something like that in old money but I don't know what it would be worth currently.
Section 8
Was it a good price?
It was very little, possibly because at that time it was worth something because our currency was not as devalued before.

Do you remember the overall compensation Saco received for the loss of its land?
What I remember is that they paid us 120 soles annually, something like that, I don't know exactly. I think they paid us that much annually for the smoke's damage.

And that was paid to the community?
They would pay the community.

And what did the community do with the money?
It had its ranching department. We had a farm then, a communal farm. Everything was invested there for production in order to support the community. In that manner we wanted to invest to recover in some way from the damage they had done to us.

Does that farm still exist?
No, that too has been disactivated.

How long ago since it was disactivated?
More or less seven years and, after that, the community began to organise itself as a business. It had a cattle department but due to the state of the grazing land, it was not profitable. Finally, compensation has not been useful for the community members, that is for sure. There were times when we, the community members, thought that the problem would be resolved with the money. But, in the long run what they have given us has only been crumbs that have killed us little by little as communities. The little that's left there - 50 sheep - we have passed onto SAIS, our company, because we are like partners. It is in the area of Packer in small quantities, it isn't much.

Is the problem with the grazing land only due to the smoke or due to other factors?
Well, summer..., the frost also causes problems. Of course, it has been degraded when the smoke became more dense. At the beginning it damaged all the vegetation and from that time until today it has not recovered. So, there is not enough grass. There are areas where it is humid or a bit uneven where the smoke does not hit directly, well, there, in those places, the grass has been conserved a bit. There some community members who have small ranches, some, cattle, can be found. Of the livestock, the most resistant is the llama because it can withstand the scarcity of grass; but the sheep, they can't stand it, there isn't enough grass.

The llama, which is an auquenido (camelid), resists the smoke.
Yes, it is more resistant.

And also to small amounts of grass?
Also to small amounts of grass, to the dry areas - it doesn't need that much water.

What other animals have you been able to raise in Saco?
Some community members of the countryside might have a horse for their own use, a donkey. You could not raise donkeys here either. It was a paradox. A person brought a donkey, one month or two weeks would go by and it would get sick and die. That was definitely because of the smoke because donkeys are not affected in other high communities. Around here it is the smoke that affects the donkey. Only in the last two years, I think two or three community members have had donkeys, they take care of them and the smoke has not affected them, but that has only been recently and it is an exception, it is something rare.
Section 9
But do they have them here, in Sacos?
That's it. They bring them to this area continuously because they come and go between the countryside and the settlement.

Does that mean you can count the donkeys on your fingers?
Yes, there must be three or four donkeys here, no more.

How about poultry?
No, we have no problem with them.

With guinea pigs?
They have adapted as well because, as I was telling you, the situation with the smoke is not as bad now, we can now raise guinea pigs and poultry. The only thing is that the altitude affects them, and we have to get them when they are older, keep them for some time and, later, sell them or eat them.

Have you developed fisheries in the community?
Well the fisheries experience has been positive because we are already seeing all over the areas where there are lakes that communities are raising [fish] in floating cages. Where there are rivers, for example, SAIS has fish farms which are producing great quantities of trout, they have reproductive areas and, now, because of the market we see that they [the trout] are growing. They grow to 25 centimetres and hit the market. There is good production. Approximately 50 tons a year are produced. It must be larger now because they have expanded in many areas.

Tell us, do you know of waters corresponding to Sacos that have been contaminated by mining relaves (mining waste)?
Yes, the River Yauli, for example. The river Yauli contains a lot of relaves (tailings). When I was young, I remember it was not contaminated because there were trout at the time. I remember finding trout and people would go fishing. It was a custom among the people here to go trout fishing.

Were there trout?
Yes, there were a lot of fish. I, myself, used to go fishing when I was young, but later it became contaminated. Now there's absolutely nothing. They definitely are gone.

That corresponds to what date, more or less?
I’m talking about, more or less, 1960, 1958, '60. Up to that time there was [trout]. You could find it easily.

Why is that since that time there are no more fish in the river?
It is known that mining in this area dates back to the beginning of the century.
I couldn't tell you why they have contaminated the river. Perhaps in the early days they did not have the concentrator they have now. Maybe it was just exploitation and nothing else; just to take the unprocessed minerals, I don't know. When concentrators were developed then the rivers were contaminated and that is what is most contaminating. That's what I think.
Section 10
The concentrator of Marh Tunnel, when was it built?
I don't know to what time it dates back to, I couldn't tell you.

Any other contaminated waters?
Yauli is the only river which has been entirely contaminated and that also leads to the valley, through the Mantaro, taking its contamination.

Were there also fish in the Mantaro?

Do you remember?
Yes, yes, of course. There were lots of trout.

At the same time there was some in the Yauli River?
Yes, at that time. I don't know, I believe there were no concentrators to treat minerals. Something has happened for sure. I don't know.

Going back to your personal experience, when you were a construction worker here in the community, did you only do construction or did you do additional work?
Aside from working like that, in construction, my occupation has been to be a leader.

What type of leader?
All types of leaders, of the party, of the football league, president of my district, president of SAIS. I served my community in many positions.

What positions have you held in your community?
I began as secretary, after that I was the leader of several committees - planning, the education committee - I was president of SAIS, I have had the position of judge. There have been many; all the positions in the community.

Currently what positions do you hold?
I am only dedicating myself to the field of education and the football. We recently had a football championship that is being carried out on Sundays, but that corresponds to the football league. We have the great satisfaction of having our team of Santa Rosa de Saco do well.

How did you get to participate in the football league?
Yes. Before it has began with only four barrios. Later we got to have 8 to 9 teams and we held internal championships. Later, thanks to the participation of myself and other enthusiastic people we organised ourselves and negotiated the creation of the district league.
Section 11
Is football a really popular sport around here? When your father was young, what was the main sport?
Football already was the main one at that time.

Did people play football before they built the smelter?
Yes, they played before.

What other sport is played?
Volleyball, football, mini-football, some marathons, chess, but the most official sport is football.

Can you tell me now which is the main fiesta (festival, celebration) of Saco?
Saco's main fiesta is Santa Rosa on August 30. The 30th is the main day. After that there are activities until September. It is an old party celebrated for 11 days.

Eleven days - it's a long time. How do you celebrate those days?
We celebrate it with a band, chicha (liquor made from maize), mass, a school parade, with sports. The fiesta of Santa Rosa has always been in August. Since I am alive this has always been the main fiesta. Of course there are others, but Santa Rosa's is the most important. On that date we also set fireworks. That happens the day before, on the eve, as a way of waiting for the main date which is August 30.

Why have they chosen Santa Rosa's day as the community's main celebration date?
Because she is the patron; Santa Rosa is the community's patron, that's how it has been. In this village we are firm believers and the belief exists that we must celebrate our patrons a lot, so that they can help us and the year will be a good one. That's why people are not petty about the celebration expenses. That's why we chose the mayordomo (master of ceremonies) who is responsible for the fiesta. It is an honour to be a mayordomo.

Does he organise everything?
Well, the mayordomo is responsible for everything. He has people that support him which are called alferez (literally, second lieutenant). They come and say, I will donate, for example, a sack of rice, I will help you pay for the band with so many soles, I'll give you the chicha. I'll give you the beer. Everyone contributes in collaboration with the mayordomo and later, the next year, he has someone to give the position to. The custom is to go to his home, sit the new one [new mayordomo] down and hand over to the mayordomo who will be in charge of following year’s fiesta all the traditional things: a case of beer, an entire lamb, guinea pigs, vegetables, meat. Others call him the chasquichinapa. It is the tradition of Santa Rosa de Saco.
Section 12
What day do they hand over the position for the following year?
They do that, for example... the 30th is the main day of the main image[of the saint] and in the afternoon, after the meeting, at about more or less two in the afternoon, they go to the mayordomo's house and do the official handing over.

They do that for the new mayordomo that will be in charge the following year?

Who elects the mayordomo?
The directorate of the community receives the candidate list and the offerings and after analysing that they elect the mayordomo. That's how it happens

On the night of the 30th what do they do?
First, on the eve, they visit the donors. They pick up the things with some value; they pick up the barrels, bandos (decorations worn with city emblem) from the houses. They begin to decorate the main square, flower pots in the church. Then they decorate the image [of the saint] corresponding to the day. After that they go eat and then they return at night and they set off the fireworks display on the eve of the day in honour of the [respective] saint or virgin.

What do you do the following days?
The same thing happens, every saint has its day. One day for one saint. After that for others [other saints] and so on until the last one [is celebrated].

Which ones are the other saints? Can you name them?
Sure. The Purisima Virgen [the most pure Virgin], Saint Lucas, another one we have is Saint Lawrence, the Lord of Cano, also the Calvary Cross. There are two Santa Rosas, one image was brought from Lima, but the other one they say is originally from the area. According to versions from here, versions from the old people, that image appeared in a cave where the refinery was originally. Up there where there is [the] tank now. That's where the old Saqueños got the image and they brought it to the church. That the story that runs through here.

It's a legend about the origin of the Santa Rosa image?
Yes, of course it's a legend, but the people believe it and that’s how they celebrate and take as there's the image of Santa Rosa.

Do you celebrate the two images together or does each have its day?
The 29th is the day of Santa Rosa and the 30th of the original Santa Rosa.

Has this celebration always been the same or has it changed with time?
No, almost the same, because the bands, orchestras, have always been the same, small, small scale. Now, since the population has increased, there are commercial areas, there are groups who have a little more economic power, and they almost compete during the fiesta. They bring the best bands, the best orchestras, they bring dancers from huaylas, from chonguinos, from los negritos which are the area's traditional dances. So many things go. The fiesta has been expanding.
Section 13
In other towns’ sport championships - horse races, etc - are held during these celebrations aren’t they? Do they also carry out those activities here?
No, not anymore. I remember that previously, on the 30th, everything was in Saco, but, on the 31st, everyone would go to the stadium with all their music. There they would have jala-patos (literally, pull the duck, a game) with horses, ribbons, riding; everything was practised, doing it in El Tambo (a neighbourhood of Saco), here in the stadium. But all that has passed, we don't do that anymore. Everything is centred on Saco's main square. Now we don't have that custom of leading ducks, roosters, with a horse.

You don't even have that custom during the carnival?
No, not any more.

How do you celebrate carnival?
Similar to the entire central area (central Andes). The Santiago (dance during carnival, characterised by a little drum called a tinya) is also a typical fiesta of this region of Peru. According to beliefs of the communities, the goal of this act is to increase animal reproduction. In Cerro de Pasco, for example, this mythical invocation is linked to the carnival where they invoke the Cerro con coca (literally hill with cocacoca is a South American whose leases act as a stimulant or narcotic), aguardiente (alcohol made from sugarcane), they paint the animals and hang ribbons on them.

Do you also hold that type of celebration in Sacos?
Yes, yes, some neighbours do it. As I told you, they have their groups of sheep, their llamas. If they practice [Santiago] they put signals on them, little ornaments, little earrings- they decorate their animals. Yes, we do it here as well, like in whole area. It is a custom, I believe, do all the region which survives.

Are they family fiestas or of the whole community?
It depends on how the economy is. There are times when it is celebrated in each family modestly or with resources. If it is a family [fiesta] there's generally music, but only from a radio or tape player- they drink alcohol. It is not with a band or anything.

Do people drink a lot in those fiestas?
Beer is drunk more. Afterwards, they drink cane, which is a typical drink of this area; some ports.

Other aspects of religious and cultural life, you have mentioned that the birth of Jesus is celebrated - that previously there was the dance of Los Negritos. How do they celebrate that fiesta now?
They celebrate it the same way now. That is also a traditional, very popular fiesta.
Section 14
Is it traditional to celebrate Jesus with dances?
A mass is held at the church, the dances are held on different premises. Nativity scenes are erected, people congregate around the choza (shack, hut) when the decent [of the three wise men] is made. They hold an animal ornament and it is marked for donation, for the band. They go along dancing and removing the figures.

The day we arrived in your community, when we met you for the first time, on the municipal premises, they were having a celebration, what were they commemorating?
That ceremony refers to 27 years since the creation of the district of Santa Rosa de Saco.

Is the creation of the district, or the creation of the community?
Yes, of the district, of course, because it's when the government turned Saco into a district, with its own municipality and everything. It's different, the community is older than the district.

How is that anniversary celebrated?
They celebrate it in a similar way to yesterday's. Other times to a lesser degree, according to the mayor. It must also be [held] according to the financial capacity of the District Council or of the enthusiasm of those people who are in charge. First, on the eve [of the anniversary] they have had vernacular singers, artists, they set off a fireworks display at night. Afterwards, the next day, the main day, began with the raising of the national flag, followed by a parade, later the ceremony at the Council, and, in the afternoon, there has been corta monte and then dancing to the music. That what they traditionally do during the celebration of the anniversary of the creation of the district.

I imagine weddings are well celebrated in Saco?
There are different studies, more than anything, according to the place of origin of the engaged couple. But, here in Saco, they generally due the paperwork in the Council or any other place. Later, after [going to] the Council, they go over to the Church for the Catholic [mass]. They finish the ceremony and they go over to the house with music to dance. There the [wedding's] godparent's and the bride and groom dance to the Danubio Azul (Blue Danube, Strauss). Later the time comes when they serve some sort of typical dish to those who attend. Gifts are given to the couple, but others practice palpay (dancing competition held at a wedding); others don't.

Palpay, what's the palpay like?
They call palpay... they go and dance in groups, the bride's family, the groom's family. Some have the custom of putting the gifts on a tray, others pin bills of money on the bride's dress, all over her body. That's like a competition. Since nobody, not the groom's or the bride's family, wants to be left behind, that is what they do. Others don't practice the palpay, they just receive presents.

Is the palpay custom originally from Sacos or has it been brought from other places?
I couldn't tell you, but I have seen [it] in other places as being originally from that place.
Section 15
For reference, do you know how your father celebrated his wedding?
I know of the wedding of an uncle who celebrated it with one of those old phonographs. Remember? They danced and later, at night, they had the palomay that you don't have today.

What's the palomay like?
They would take the bride and groom - there was a house - and they would lock them both up. The godparents would leave them there to consummate the marriage. The guests continue to drink and dance on other premises. Now we don't have that tradition; that has disappeared.

Do you remember the different practices used to propose?
No, of what I know, no. The boys go an inform their father's they have a responsibility, then the parents go to formalise [the relationship], which is the proposal, without bad intentions. The date is set and then they celebrate. If they come to an agreement, the drink alcohol and dance a bit so that both their parents can get to know one another.

When you proposed to your wife, how did you do it?
I didn't have the luck to be with my father. I went with my mum and my uncle. We took some alcohol. After they accepted us, we began to celebrate then they took us home with my fiancee to live [together] until today. I am still not married. I haven't married, I have been living together. The purpose was to formalise my family.

Is the type of union common among your neighbours in Saco?
On the same night you proposed, you started your family life. One would marry because what I have said are the preliminary steps, after that you can set the date of the wedding and only then they marry. Others don't start a family life until they get married. There are many ways. It depends on each individual.

As a community leader, what needs do you see for your community?
As I have already indicated and, according to the Law of Campesino Communities, we need to organise ourselves as a company so that we can have support from public and financial entities.

Then campesino community must be transformed into a company?
Into a communal company. We now have a department for the potable water service, we have a department of plaster production, we are exploiting plaster, but that lacks good management. Bad management. Always, until current time, production has not been profitable. We need to stop the causes but it seems like we lack the training. [We need to] improve production and co-operation among community members themselves. Those that have the capacity are working for other companies that is why it is difficult to elect a good professional in the community and it's because they go elsewhere. We also need to develop workshops, other industries, because one can no longer live from livestock. Of that, I am certain.
Section 16
Do you have children?
Yes, a 25 year old son, another one nearly 24, a daughter of 22, another one of 18 and a younger one of 14.

What do your children do?
The same as me. They dedicate themselves to the same work as me- they are builders. They all help me, some times they get tired. The work I have is not continuous. Some times 15 days go by and there is no work. That affects us.

Do your children hope to dedicate themselves to construction or do they have other aspirations?
They have their aspirations but one needs capital to set up a mechanical repair workshop, stove repairs, things like that or other things.

When we were talking this morning, in relation to occupations, [you said that] the young people from the ranches came down to Sacos for jobs. Can you explain this situation in detail?
Yes. Since there isn't much grass, you cannot have too much livestock that is profitable enough to live from. Where they [the livestock] is close to the family on the ranch, then the heads of household come down to the city to look for work because they have to feed their families. Me need more sources of work. More so now that the population has increased. Automobile bodywork factories, mechanical workshops and other repair shops and services can be set up. We need technical schools. We have to think of new things, because, sadly, we are no longer a livestock or agricultural community. Due to the smoke we have lost production and our lives have changed. Now we must think of other things.

Do you have schools?
We have primary schools. We have four secondary schools, for example, Jose Galvez, which is to cater to the entire school population which has increased.

How much has the population increased?
A lot of people have come who are not integrated in the community. Now we have taken in immigrants from the areas of terrorism. We have given, they have been given space to live. Since they don't know, one year they started planting potatoes and it went very well for them, they had a good harvest. The following year they did the same, but the frost came and with the smoke they lost everything. Since then they have not planted anything because it is too risky, one spends but does not now if it will provide economic returns. When there isn't to much ice the potatoes can still resist. But, at that, recently when the wind comes and brings the smoke and it is clouded, it settles and ruins the production. Smoke and frost join together to ruin production.

You have informed us of very interesting things about the life and changes of your community in many aspects. I don't wish to take more of your valuable time because somebody is waiting for you, so once again I'd like to express my gratitude for accepting to take part in the present interview. Thank you very much.
Thank you.