photo of person from Peru Cerro de Pasco
Peru glossary


(PERU 9)






ex-community leader


San Antonio de Yauli





We're now going to talk perhaps with one of the oldest comuneros we've visited here today. But let's leave him to tell us everything.

Section 1
SeŮor, what is your name?
Urbano Huarcaya Peralta.

How old are you?
80 years old. I was born in 1915.

Could you tell us something about yourself, your family?
Ah, my family. My wife is also quite old. She's called Cristina Inocente Calderon Espinoza. She's 76 years old. She was born in 1921.

She's your wife?
Yes, of course, she's been my wife for a long time now as I told you.

Tell me...yes, tell us something about your children as well?
My son's 51 and he still works as a shepherd in the Pachachaqui cooperative. My grandchildren have families, they're married, they work on the railroad. They're still working. They're in Oyon. My great-grandchildren, there's quite a few of them as well, in total, they're quite a lot. I just can't remember now. No, I can't remember.

And tell me, so you only managed to have one son?
I had several children, but they all died. I only have one son alive, the others lived even less years than me. I'm still here alive, old but alive.

Tell me something, what's the name of your community?
My community, itís the campesina community of San Antonio de Yauli, right here by La Oroya, as you can see.

Were your parents comuneros (registered community members with rights and responsibilities)?
Yes they were. My parents, my grandparents, they were the organisers and founders of the village of Yauli. They've always supported themselves as comuneros, as genuine children of Yauli.

And did they have a lot of animals as well?
Yes they had a lot. Before there used to be more livestock farmers than miners. Now there's more mining.
Section 2
Did your parents leave animals for you [after they died]?
Animals, yes.

About how many?
Well, just a few. I had just a few animals, a few llamas, cows.

But more or less how many?
I had about 100 animals - about 50 llamas, and cows, 3 or 4 little cows, less maybe.

And how many do you have now?
Right now just a few, there's 20 pachos (?). I still look after the animals I've got.

Does this mean the fumes killed all your animals?
Yes, all of them. Things aren't very good, we need to know how to cure it, we've got to know what's good for this illness, but it's the same for everyone, that's what I think.

Have you always lived here, all your life you've lived here in Yauli?
Ah, yes, all my life I've lived in Yauli.

Tell us something about your youth? What were the people like before?
There were more people before and they were more together, though we were humble people, the village was more united in everything, everything, in the fiestas we were united, everyone took care of the village obligations, everybody. But nowadays it's not like that. The young people don't pay any attention to religion, more are in the unions....(the interviewer doesn't understand, interference) The fiesta (festival, celebration) of the SeŮor of Yauli isnít like [it was] before. That's all I can say.

How did you used to celebrate your fiestas? What customs did you have for example? What foods did you have?
We prepared the food for everybody in big pots, for almost the whole village, but there are none of these old things anymore. The young people have changed a lot now..

And do you have any friends from your youth who are alive today?
The majority of them now rest in peace but I'm still here. There are a few, a few are left, but most of them are finished now.

Do you remember your best friend?
My best friend here, he rests in peace now. He was Alfredo Minostroza.

Alfredo Minostroza. Why was he your best friend?
Because we always respected each other. We always agreed and now... he was younger than me.
Section 3
Did he keep animals too?
No, he didn't have any. But he was a son of the village.

Wasn't he a comunero?
No, he wasn't a comunero. He didn't have any animals, he wasn't a comunero?

So how did such a friendship come about, one so strong that you remember it even now?
Well, because he came from the town and we always used to run in to each other, and others as well. They didn't have any animals, they didn't have anything, they sometimes lived off the work that they picked up from Cerro de Pasco, from just this small amount of money they used to live.
[The interview is interrupted for half an hour.]

Are you still an active comunero in the community?
Me, yes, at my age, I'm still a comunero, but I'm exonerated from payments, from extra fees, the community quotas. Even though I'm old now, they still want me to pay as if I were young. But I still work as a comunero, in the cooperative and in the campesina community.

Good. Tell us something about the community, something about your history, what do you remember from what youíve lived through?
Well, from the community I remember... there are some leaflets I read that say it was formed in 1778. The community of Yauli's been growing since then. Then when the Chileans invaded during the war with Chile they burnt all the [land] titles belonging to the community. So there aren't any documents about our community any more. It appealed to be recognised once again in 1933. It was in this year that our community was officially recognised again. And the community of Yauli continues to this day.

SeŮor Huarcaya, tell us about some of the customs you've known in your life?
The custom of the community, or of the village of Yauli, is the celebration of the fiesta of San Antonio of Yauli every year, because he's the saint of the village. This image of San Antonio of Yauli used to be given a good deal of attention by the older people in the village. Because of this we always have faith, because he's the Saint of Yauli, San Antonio of Yauli. And even now there are rules that all the comuneros are obliged to celebrate the feast and all the people from Yauli.

Could you tell me something about the economy. How did the community used to live?
Before, business was much more comfortable in every way. More pig meat, animal meat, milk. We had everything because we had enough animals. Recently, we've become poor because of the fumes from La Oroya, the mine, because the company throws out a lot of arsenic and you must know this is harmful. The livestock owners didn't have enough control so now they've formed a study commission so theyíll compensate us for the fumes. Every year they pay us an amount for the fumes, but itís a pittance, itís not enough for all us comuneros. Currently too, we've received a lot of money this year from Centromin Peru. It goes to the President and is shared out between all the comuneros. This money, itís still there, but itís just the same. I can tell you this, I can. Maybe this year they'll share out the money. But still, it won't compensate for the damage they've done to us.
Section 4
You mentioned that the fumes caused the death of the animals?

How's that?
The illnesses from the fumes are... it makes them go blind, they go mad, they get dizzy in the head. This is from the fumes which are poisoning the pastures. The vets who come, the agriculturists, can't give anything for this illness. They cure other types of illness of course, other things, but they don't have anything for the illness [they get] from the fumes, itís difficult for these vets to cure.

But tell me, what's this blindness?
It makes them go blind. They go blind so they can't walk, they go all over the place.

The madness?
This makes them all shaky, they shake and they can't walk. This happens all the time with the livestock and they don't grow, and they injure themselves and they're useless.

The other illness, the dizziness?
This makes them spin round. They spin around like a spinning top and then they die.

Tell me something, you've had animals?
Me, yes. That's how I know about this illness, and even now I have a few animals being looked after.

So you've suffered yourself the death of the animals because of the fumes?
Yes, and before when we were younger, each year weíd fight with the administration of Cerro de Pasco and we beat them sometimes in court and the money, which wasn't very much, we had to divide between all the comuneros. It wasnít much, but it was for everyone affected by the fumes. This agreement dates from 1925. We've received compensation for the fumes many times. In 1926 we received about 10,000 soles in silver coins and the community bought the fields of Rumichacra and Sunsuruco with 8,500 soles so actually we were in credit with the money left over which we've given to the treasurer in an iron box. There are still 1,500 soles (Peruvian currency) left. From here, from Yauli it's 35 kilometres to Rumichacra, from here, from the village of Yauli.

You bought your land over there?
We bought land there. Since then every year we've had an agreement with Cerro de Pasco and now Centromin. We always share it out but itís only a bit, but itís for all the comuneros. That's all I can tell you.

But when you bought the new land, did your animals suffer any less there, could you rear them better?
The same, they were affected the same. So a commission was ordered to destroy these places... the whole community of Yauli, Pumacocha, Huayhuay. Everyone receives compensation for the fumes. It goes back a long way. Itís not the first time the comuneros have suffered this - itís been going on a long time, since our ancestorsí time.
Section 5
And has it affected you personally, and your family?
Well... when I was very young I suffered because of the fumes and nowadays too when they discharge the strong arsenic, the fumes affect [us] even now. So, the smelter at La Oroya tries to control the fumes so they don't damage the comunerosí villages in the different areas. Here... and now in Pamparca...

Could you tell us something about the Cerro de Pasco Corporation? How did they get on with your community? What did you know about this company?
Many years ago, well... it was a little better when it was Cerro de Pasco. But now Centromin has changed a lot, itís not like before any more. The economy's poor and itís not like it was before.

What changes have there been for example?
Before we'd a few things, a few improvements, things they gave us for the road, for the village, for the fiestas. But now there's nothing. The [village] authorities can hardly get anything out of them. That's all I can say.

What campesina communities are near around here?
There's Pumacocha and Pachichaca here, then Huayhuay.

And you've always just reared livestock?
Rearing livestock, that's right. We've always had to work with our livestock although we used to work together, with our llamas. That's how we used to work before. Now there's none of this. Everything's done with lorries. They transport their minerals and everything in lorries to different places.

So youíre saying you used to use llamas for work?
To carry minerals. Each llama could carry about 50 kilos, carry them for example from San Cristobal to here, to Yauli. This was how they transported them, with llamas. Now there's none of this, everything's just in lorries that's all.

When was this?
In 1930 and 1931, before they built the railroads.

And how long did it used to take to transport these minerals?
Well, I guess about a day.

Did you used to do this yourself?
Yes, I used to work like this from 1931 to about 1935, back when I was young.

Which company did you used to work for?
For Cerro de Pasco and other companies.
Section 6
So you used to move around. Where did you bring the minerals from?
From Carhuaca, from Pumacocha.

Is that a mine?
Yes itís a mine.

Where did you take it to?
We took it from here to Martunel. Not any longer though, itís all railroad now. When Cerro de Pasco was here they built the railroad, the central railroad and they took everything by rail, not with llamas. Now, recently, they built the road, now everything goes to Martunel in trucks.

And what's in Martunel? Why do you take everything there.
To the refinery.

What minerals did you take?
Silver, lead, zinc, all these.

Did they used to pay you well?
They paid us but it wasn't much of course. It would be about 20 centavos (cents, old currency), maybe 30 centavos, that's all.

And at that time were they already emitting the fumes?
Yes they were, because the smelter, if I remember rightly, was built in 1917, 17 or 18. It was built in La Oroya.

And is that when they began to emit fumes, arsenic?
Yes, since then.

How do you know it's arsenic?
The fumes were like gas, or should I say they seemed like gas. You could feel the badness in them and when they came they burnt the grass. The fumes themselves were very heavy. That's my recollection. There have been commissions to investigate the problem of the fumes and they say itís this gas.

And this contaminated the pastures?
That's right, the pastures were poisoned.

Tell me something, was your community the only one with animals?
No, my community had animals but so did other communities... yes, and all the comuneros from this area, the people here, have had no choice but to be livestock keepers. And we used to organise ourselves in the same way. We were obliged to fulfil our obligations as leaders of the community, if we were named leaders, and as cooperative workers, like at the grassroots. This is what it was like in all the communities.

Were you a leader?
Yes, I was a leader.
Section 7
What year was that?
I was a leader in 1970, in the year 1970, also in 1975 and 1985, I was a leader. I've been an official and I've been a councillor for my community. I've had all the jobs.

And what memories do you have about your role as part of the leadership?
We had to ask for help from the Ministry of Agriculture, who had to come here to improve the pastures, to give us medicines and to bring a bath for the livestock.

What do you mean ďbathĒ?
A bath (dip) for the animals to bathe in. There was a campaign in May.

You took them to the river?
No, they brought us some baths, especially to bathe the animals. There were baths and medicines from the Ministry of Agriculture. But not now. Now we have to pay for all the medicines. Itís not like it was before, before we had facilities to wash them.

And now?
Now no, now all the medicines have to be paid for.

Do they cost a lot?
Yes, but you have to pay and that's that.

SeŮor, tell me, tell me about any injustices you've suffered? When you were a leader, what did you protest against most?
What we protested against was the fumes, problems of the village, of the authority. Things like the post of the Guardia Civil (police). We had to fight against all this, but now it seems its all been formalised.

Didn't you have any security before?
We had security because people were more upright than they are now. They were more honest. Now it seems to have changed a lot, you never know what's going to happen. And what's more, the authorities themselves, the men there never comply, they make offers but they don't do anything. There's no money, there's no money they tell us, but they haven't done anything up to now. I don't know how long this will go on.

And when did they make this promise?
Many years ago now, it's many years.

Yauli strikes me as a very sad town, a very deserted town, there are streets where hardly any one walks. Was it always like this?
Before it was all paved. Yauli was really beautiful. It was really happy. But now everything's being eroded by the trucks which have been brought here by Centromin Peru. They brought these heavy lorries through here and theyíve ruined all the streets. Itís not like it was before any more. Before it was all paved, it was really pretty, but now everything's spoilt in these streets.

Are there any authorities here?
Yes there are. There used to be a mining delegation. There was a jail in La Oroya where its been since 1906. Then on 10th December they formed the Province of Yauli, which then became La Oroya. What used to be the province of Yauli is now just a district, that's all - itís no longer a province.
Section 8
What do you think the motives are for people leaving the village?
Firstly, because no one from Yauli did anything. We're humble folk and we didn't know that there was... that there was a law made by the Ministry which said La Oroya should have more people. They took them, the Cerro de Pasco Corporation took all the authorities from here to La Oroya. That's what I think. They took everyone to La Oroya because they'd built their smelter there and they left Yauli all alone. They didn't do anything to repay the community.

Tell me something, did the Cerro de Pasco Corporation do any work to benefit the community?
Here no, nothing, they did nothing here.

What about Centromin Peru currently?
Them neither. The roads haven't even got asphalt surfaces, theyíre just mud tracks that's all.

Is there a river which passes through the community?
Yes, the Pumacocha river, itís the river that....

Do you drink the water?
Yes, we drink it because there are springs as well, springs for drinking water.

And the river?
The river no, not now. Not before either really. There are streams, little springs which are cleaner. You can't drink the waters now because the miners throw out their filth, for example. Because the current company, La Volcan, spreads the dirt and there's no control.

What do you mean dirt?
The dirt from the refinery.

And what do they throw away?
They throw away all the minerals, or should I say the waste, they throw away the waste when they've refined the minerals in the refinery. They extract silver, lead, zinc. The waste's just the stones they throw away, you see. Like here, this whole heap is pure stone, and sometimes they throw it all into the water so itís all contaminated from La Oroya.

Is this what makes the river yellow?
Ah, yes. The water's completely ruined and nobody says anything, not even the Ministry of Agriculture, nothing.

And do your animals drink this water?
Not now, itís poisonous, because itís ruined, they die, they die.
Section 9
But your animals used to drink here before, didn't they?
Ah, before the refinery, there wasn't anything, the water was clean. But now there's nothing, it's all been neglected as well.

Have there been any deaths from this?
Ah, yes, itís poisonous too, itís acid. Acid pours out of the refinery. There's acid in the refinery and this is bad for all the animals.

Have you protested against this?
We've told the Ministry of Agriculture but up to now there's been no solution.

But was your community organised?

There there's...

There on the hill?
Right there.

Yes there they are.
Let's go up shall we.

Sr Huarcaya, you mentioned about the mining company La Volcan. Do you mean there's a mining company near here?
Oh yes, in the old days there was a mine belonging to Don Felipe Zarcarias who had a refinery here in Yauli. And they brought the minerals from all over Pumacocha because it was a mining place, all of this around here, in Pumacocha for example and also in Carahuacra, all these were mines. Before, Cerro de Pasco didn't exist and there were just small miners who used to work in the mines and who had a refinery. Then in about 1935, they finally sold it to La Volcan.

Sr Huarcaya, could you tell us something more about Sr Zacarias, the man who held back lands from La Volcan and who ended up selling them to them? Do you know anything about them? Could you tell us about it please?
Yes, I knew Don Felipe when he used to work as a miner in Carahuacra. He had a small mine, and he used to order [the minerals] be brought here to Yauli to be refined, in his extractor. Then in the last few years, in 1935, he sold it to La Volcan, the mine I told you about, when it was operating in Ticlio. From here Sr Zacarias bought Carahuacra and when he came to open a mine in San Mateo he became the owner of all this. La Volcan goes on extracting [minerals] up to this day in Yauli - lead, silver, zinc - it has its refinery in Yauli itself, they're extracting everywhere, in all the mines in Carahuacra.

Sr Huarcaya, apart from poisoning the river, how else have they harmed your community?
They harm us when they throw out all the tailings from all the dust. They tip rubbish from the refinery into the river and it flows with the river as far as Martunel and all the rivers get poisoned. All the acids from the refinery are thrown into the river which harms the animals. When they drink the water they get poisoned. That's what its like.
Section 10
You told me that Sr Zacarias was an important mining presence in the community?
Yes, there used to be lots of them, mining boys who worked [around here]. They worked their socks off for Cerro de Pasco, contract work, but now there's none of this, itís just the company. Now Felipe Zacarias has his mine in Cerro Pinta, a big mine, but no one is interested in [working in] these places.

And so were there mining activities here too before the Cerro de Pasco Corporation?
There were some mining operations, all the boys were miners - Yauli was almost 100% mining - they were boy miners, they werenít old.

When you say ďminingĒ do you mean that there were smelters?
We had smelters, a number of smelters, here in Yauli itself we had three..

So some time ago here they used to practice the...?
Mining, Yauli was a mining centre.

That means that little by little they began to push the campesina community - the livestock farmers off of their land?

So there were fewer and fewer comuneros all the time?
Less yes, that's right. There's no smelter now. Everything's Centromin Peru and Carahuacra. That's it - thereís no mining [here] now.

Do you remember how many comuneros there were more or less?
I can't remember really.

And how many of you are there now?
Now there are 150 comuneros.

But could you tell us in about which year you had the largest number of comuneros, ie when your community was at its peak?
It's nearly finished now. Before there were 40 or 50 miners that's all - there were more campesinos than miners. Now there are more miners than campesinos. [Iíd say] almost the majority of people in the community are miners who work in San Cristobal - theyíre not country folk.

And have you worked for a mining company yourself?
I used to work in Carahuacra, but not for very long.
Section 11
How long did you work there?
About five years. I have my children and so I retired.

Why did you retire?
I retired because I had animals. My family, my father was alive and he also had animals and I used to look after them.

So you like livestock quite a lot don't you?

You enjoy rearing your little animals?
Yes, but Iíve only got a few. Iím here with my animals, but there are a lot of my fellow villagers here who no longer enjoy keeping livestock at all. More of them are miners and others have gone to Lima. Very few stay around here these days.

And you've never thought of leaving like them?
No, I've never thought about it - [I want] to die in Yauli. I'll have to stay here forever. Anyway, where would I go at my age?

But do you know the capital of Peru?
Oh yes, I know Lima.

What other places do you know?
Huancayo, Jauja, Pucar. I know the mountains - Pampa Oso, Pampa Silva, Carmen Chico - I know all these. Pampa Quina as far as Huanucu, all these - I've been through all these in my youth.

And are they very different to your home, Yauli?
A lot, theyíre very different. They're more united there. They all work. Here there's nothing, we don't have anything. We just live. If you don't have animals you can't live, that's why there are so few people left here these days.

Sr. Huarcaya, tell me something. How would you like Yauli to be in the future? Would you like it to be the same as it is now?
How should Yauli be? Well, it should go back to being a province like it was before, so there would be more people wanting to live here. Because most of the people [living] in Yauli are genuine children of Yauli, and they're all going to Huancayo, to Lima, all over the place, but not staying in Yauli. There are very few Yaulinos, and this is the demise of the village of Yauli. There are outsiders in Yauli, there are people contracted [to work at] La Volcan, people with trucks, like Sr. Quispe, Don Julio, Don Julio....

Have you forgotten his name, his surname?
Cordova, Julio Cordova, Jesus Cordova, Juan Cordova, they're all contracted by La Volcan. Itís all mining and this is no good. There are more miners than farmers - there arenít farmers [any more]. Who wants to see Yauli decline? Only if you are not from Yauli, [then] you arenít interested. But for us Yaulinos we have to be interested. When I was an [part of the] authorities in 1968, 69 and 70, Yauli was still a bit bigger and so with a big effort I went in person to Lima to ask for land from Cerro de Pasco. I asked for them to sell me quality pastures. In 1970, we managed to buy and sell land in Chumpi, Orcona. We bought 3116 hectares. In those days in my role as community representative I bought [land] for my community, and it exists up to this day. You can see for yourself at the front here - these pastures belong to the community. I'd like to see the young people do the same as well for their community, to provide hope for the future that's around the corner and to enlarge/increase the amount of livestock [we own]. If we don't do something we're going to sink.
Section 12
Do you think young people used to be more interested in their community than they are now?
Of course, that's what it was like, not like now. For example, before we fought against Cerro de Pasco staying here on our land.

Sr Huarcaya, are you saying that Cerro de Pasco had property here in the community as well, that they owned land?
They had land in the front here, in Chumpi.

And what did they use the land for?
They had their own cattle, they had pastures, they had administrators, everything.

And was there any cooperation with your community?
Nothing, they just cooperated with their own staff. They had workers, the workers had meat, animal meat at low prices, everyone who worked in La Oroya for Cerro de Pasco. We, on the other hand had nothing.

Sr Huarcaya, you told me that when you were a community leader you managed to expropriate land from Cerro de Pasco. Who did you appeal to? Where did you go?
We went to the Palace of Justice to ask exclusively for Juan Velasco Alvarado and to get him to expropriate the land from Cerro de Pasco. He expropriated it and then he sold it to us, to the community of Yauli.

He sold you it?
Yes, he sold us it for a good price, there was an agreement, a document for the sale and purchase and the ownership of the community, signed by me personally. The Ministry of Agriculture paid all the money and we don't owe them anything up to this day. We bought it in 1970. At this time I was a leader, of the community.

And Sr Juan Velasco, who was he?
He was President of the Republic.

You managed to talk to him?
Yes, in the Palace of Justice, in the Palace of the Government. We spoke to him, to General Artola who was his second in command, his second governor I think you say, donít you?

The second boss?
The second boss.
Section 13
The Vice President?
Yes, with them. He was one of those who could sign in agreement.

Tell me something, didn't it occur to you at that time, when you had the chance to talk with the President of the Republic, to tell him about the fumes, about the damage they were doing to your pastures?
No, not at all, because we had to buy the pastures.

So your interests were to expropriate land from Cerro de Pasco?
To expropriate land from Cerro de Pasco and for them to sell us the land so we could set up a cooperative. In those years I used to make negotiations for all my people, as their authority, to have the cooperative, to buy pastures and have the cooperative. We had to fight, but we succeeded in buying the land for the cooperative. So now we have cows, pigs, it isn't much but it's something. Happily we managed to get the land.

And what is the objective of the cooperative that you have now?
Itís functioning here in Yauli. Although we have very little, 1000 hectares, a thousand and a bit, but we've still got about 40 head of cattle. This is what's been given by all the members who were here. I gave 10 animals, 10 animals for my subs, and up to this day it continues the same - nothing more has been added. But there's no shortage of losses, things happen each year and we lose - the cooperative loses.

You mean you lose animals?
We go on losing animals. People sell them and there's no money. All our lives thereís been no money. This is something that drives you to despair and sometimes it makes you feel like... I don't know... not giving your animals to the cooperative and continuing on your own.

You have to give animals for subs?
Animals, yes. I gave 10 pigs and now each pig is worth 100 soles, with 10 that would be 1000 soles in cash.

How do you mean?
And we established this in 1963, how many years is that? A lot.

You thought you would have more?
Every year we ought to make a profit out of the cooperative, but now I don't get anything. Every year we receive a small piece of bread, two cups of milk and some chocolate. Thatís all, every year, and we don't make any gains. there aren't any profits. We don't receive hardly any money. All my life with my ten animals, take note that I've 1000 soles here, the day I die thatís all theyíll give me. Itís all I've got, for myself and for my family.

Why do you think it has dried up?
Because we had nearly 3000 hectares of livestock. It went down to 2000, now itís down to 1000, so next year it will be less, then you wonít see any animals.

Why do you think you've failed? Why? Whatís wrong with this area?
Bad administration, or sometimes because of the fumes, it's because of all these things that it died, it died, it died. We go from one failure to another.
Section 14
It's really very sad
It's sad that the cooperative, instead of making things better for us all... we're in such a bad way. There's nothing coming out of the cooperative for the village, for the owners, for all the members, not for education in the village, nothing. There's nothing.

Imagine you were leader now and came in as president of the cooperative. What would you do to improve all this?
I'd have to, well, everything depends on the care, better care. To be a good farmer, you have to be aware of how to care, how to look after the animals well, not to lose animals - there's nothing else here. Everything depends on better care, if there's no good care than there's nothing. Everything's going to fail. We've got to have pride now, like before. If you have pride then you're respected. That's why, with the support of our village, we went to protest against the North American company and we got something, not everything of course, but we got something...

What do you think must be done to prevent all these fumes coming here and causing harm and killing the animals?
Protest. The commission must make a claim against La Oroya. It must say ďNo, don't throw out these fumes! If you chuck out fumes, then it ruins the pastures. It comes from Contri."

Cotril, you said, what's Cotril?
Cotril is where the fumes are, where they deposit everything, where the fumes come out strongest. This has to, this is called Cotril in La Oroya.

Tell me something, from what you see in the town and from what you're telling me how do things compare to how you lived before? What matters here is the mining - animal rearing is practically disappearing.
It is disappearing, because we don't have enough animals. Before we had animals here. We had milk, we had cheese. Now who knows about cheese? Who knows about milk? Who knows? You canít even buy a cup of milk. There are no animals. If we had animals weíd have to keep them hidden far away up in the plateaux. Some people have four or five and they have to be up in the plateaux, far away from here, from Yauli.

Where there are no fumes?
Where there are not many fumes. They have some in Pumacocha, but some don't have any now. That's my view.

Sr Huarcaya, at your age, 80 years old, you continue to graze your animals. You've really looked after yourself very well, we could say you've been fed well or, what do you think is the secret behind your staying so youthful, so strong still?
Ah, this of course, yes. I've taken care of my health. I've never drunk very much. I haven't been like others who just like to be drunk, like my fellow countrymen from around here who liked to drink a lot. I don't think about it much, but I'm very well and now the gentleman [his friend] is dead, despite being retired, he had his money. And there are many like that here, for example at 80 and 85, that's it for these men and they go walking to their graves. I say, if I was like them, with my business, my animals, with enough to eat, I'd live to be 100 years, because my grandfather died at 118 and my grandmother at 97.
Section 15
Your parents?
My parents too. That's why I say, probably me as well. I don't have a lot of family. My children, my grandchildren, they've all gone, they've left me and my wife. Thereís just the two of us, that's all and all this makes me think.

I know that a friend of yours died today?
A friend of mine, a fellow countryman, heíd retired and didn't work at all.

Retired, from where? Where did he work?
In the Cerro de Pasco Corporation.

In Cerro de Pasco. Do you think that he died from some illness, or perhaps an accident?
Well, he was running around, playing, sometimes he used to hit the bottle.

How old was he more or less?
He was about 72.

But was he ill?
No, well, I didn't know anything but just now on the radio I heard he'd passed away.

Oh, so you still don't know what happened?

Because a lot of people say that when you work in the mines you come out ill.
Oh yes, of course, but you must look after yourself, you have to take care of yourself. I've also worked in the mines, I've been on the machines. I know what a fronton (pediment) is, what a spade is and a drill.

But how long did you work there?
I worked for about 20 years as a contract worker in the mining company.

Oh, so you knew how to look after yourself?
I knew how to look after myself.

And you've never had any illnesses?
Up to now nothing, I haven't had any problems with my health at all, thank goodness. I'm very strong as you can see, not like others who are younger than me. They donít know when to stop, they have to have a go at everything. Me, on then other hand, I feel fit, Iíve had nothing to do with the doctors. I'm a bad customer of theirs.

Truthfully. I've never been in hospital, I've never been in at all.
Section 16
You've been a miner, you've drilled the land and you've never had any illnesses?

Why do you think that is? What do you think is the reason why you've never been ill?
Because Iíve been careful, itís my nature, thatís why I've been so well, why I've never been ill.

You also took care over your food, you ate well?
That too. In the mines you have to be careful of everything, all the dust and everything, because you can get infections in the lungs and that's why I didn't want to stay too long in the seams. I worked on the machines on the surface and so I was careful. This is my view of what happened as I told you.

Sr. Huarcaya, to finish, do you want to tell me anything, something you might have forgotten, that you [now] remember?
That's what mining's like, thatís what itís like being a miner. Of course most of the time I worked on contracts - I never wanted to belong to the company like other people I know who died from working in the mines. No, I always lived in my community and when there was work in the mines I went. But I used to stay on my land working, grazing, that way you live better.

So you always liked the countryside?
Yes, I enjoyed the countryside. I couldn't forget the animals because I'd known my parents had animals since they were young, they had cows and pigs, they had llamas, until they lost a few.

And everything was lost, what happened?
When they die, itís a disaster. But there are also people, bad people, who rob you, people always have to keep looking over their shoulders. Once, twice, three times, here in Yauli itself, several times people have tried to steal the few animals I have, but they can't. That's how it is. You have to take a lot of care against thieves. In the country they've even robbed me with arms. They've come and they've taken 10 cattle. What could I do? They came into the hut, they did what they wanted and they took away my animals.
Because of all this, I am here in the village when I should be in my dwelling. I 've a little dwelling further up the hillside. The problem is that there's no one to keep me company, I can't go, I can't... with this I'll have to die and with my animals in the cooperative, I'll have to be buried. I'm leaving land, I'm leaving titles, titles from Yanapampa which were bought with the priest. In Yanapampa there are 480 hectares. Here there are 342 hectares. I'm leaving all this... that's all I have to say right now young man.

Thank you and we hope to see you some other time. It was a pleasure talking to you.