Posted by Claretta Mills – MA Candidate at NYU CLACS
Traveling through Cusco in June and seeing numerous rainbow flags, which mark the heritage and pride of the city of Cusco, is a subtle reminder of the desfiles that are going on throughout the city.
“Hay desfiles en el Centro hoy,” was all I needed to hear to know that I would be able to observe some festivities. Religious processions, or desfiles, were in abundance almost daily in Cusco’s city center near Plaza del Armas. The desfiles varied daily as they featured performances from various types of groups and dances. One day may consist of groups of different disciplines from various universities, another consisted of groups from pueblitos within Cusco, and another consisted of various civil groups. Many of the religious processions for Corpus Christi were displays of various statues and shrines of patrimonios hoisted up and carried throughout the procession by about 30 men. The men carrying the Saints would process through the streets dancing and swaying the statue as they walked.
Posted by Colleen Connolly – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU
The Plaza de Armas in Chinchero, Peru. (Photo by Colleen Connolly)
I ended my field work in Lima, about as far away as you can get from Chinchero in Peru. I swapped freezing night temperatures and extreme dryness for the gray humidity of Lima’s winters, mountains for coast and Quechua for Spanish — and even some English. The transition was striking. Even my body felt the effects (but not in a good way — I got the flu).
Lima offered me the chance to step back from the conversations and observations I’d had in Cusco and look at them from another perspective. Like in the United States, there exists a great social conflict in Peru between the coastal “elites” and the campesinos. Those in Cusco who support construction of the Chinchero airport have much to say about “el centralismo de Lima” and their hatred of it. Now, here I was in Lima, talking to some of these “elites” who don’t want to give the Cusqueños their airport.
Posted by Claretta Mills – MA Candidate at NYU CLACS
For most of the past Spring semester, I had been repeating this one particular line, especially in my Quechua class examples; “Veranopi, Peruman risaqpuni qhelqasaq thesisniyta.” This translates to, “In the summer, I am going to Peru to write my thesis.”
Sure enough, a couple of months after consistently writing (and somewhat manifesting my destiny), I ended up in Peru during the end of June to observe performances leading up to Inti Raymi which to my surprise, included Corpus Christi processions. Additionally, I was delightfully surprised by the daily processions by local organizations, groups, and universities as they celebrated Cusco Month.
I discovered the processions on my second-day in-country when I decided to go to San Pedro Mercado with my host.
The mercado was boastful of vibrant and bold colors all around with the fresh produce and meat sold by vendors encouraging you to ask them any questions you may have. After browsing the mercado, I decided to take a stroll down to Plaza de Armas which was a brisk walk that lasted less than 10 minutes.
To my surprise, there had been a bandstand setup with seating and a bunch of onlookers and vendors watching various groups perform a variety of typical dances from different pueblos in Cusco. It was quite interesting observing both the differences and commonalities amongst the different dances while trying out some local treats from the vendors selling their treats to spectators.
During the entire duration of my trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about how fascinated I was with the immense variety of corn Peru had to offer and the different ways in which they were prepared. More specifically, I really wanted to try the huge puffed corn I saw numerous vendors carrying.
I really appreciated the lessons from Professor Odi Gonzales as I was honestly able to pick up and catch on to a few sentences said in Quechua by the announcer of the festival. I ended up sitting next to an elderly man who spoke Quechua and Spanish and engaged in conversation with him as we watched the performances together. We ended up sharing the puffed corn together as we watched on.
One thing that definitely took me by surprise was how frigidly cold Cusco was, especially in the night time. During the daytime, I roamed the city in either a light parka coat or a compact bubble jacket with a sweater underneath. Now for the night time, that’s when I was really able to feel the chill, I went to bed in special socks designed for cold weather, a sweater, undergarments, and five different layers of covers. Long story short, Cusco was cold!
Posted by Colleen Connolly – MA candidate at CLACS/Global Journalism at NYU
Despite a rocky start to my trip to Peru (a lost credit card, a canceled flight, the deathly cold), I have been extremely fortunate with my research here. My first week was spent in Cusco and the next two weeks in Chinchero, a small rural town about an hour outside of Cusco. Despite its proximity to the large and vibrant city of Cusco, Chinchero could not be more different. Here, Quechua prevails over Spanish. I haven’t seen a single bar. I wake up in the morning and help my host feed the chickens, the llama and the guinea pigs. People here appear shy at first, but they are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. As a foreign reporter, I am so grateful for this.
I’m about halfway through my time in Chinchero now. Though the freezing temperatures make me want to sleep in and relax, I’m making sure to get out every day and talk to people or attend asambleas, a nearly daily occurrence here and a part of small-town life everywhere. These two weeks are my most important weeks of research and reporting. For my thesis, I’m exploring the relationship between tourism and globalization using the international airport in Chinchero as a case study. The airport is not built yet — it’s at least five years away from completion — but construction has begun, and the project is the subject of many conversations and asambleas here. I have read many articles about the airport in Chinchero, but none of them mention the local feelings of the Chincherinos, who stand to gain or lose the most. These are the people I want to populate my thesis and my story.
Posted by Ximena Málaga Sabogal, PhD student in Anthropology at NYU
Norma interviews professor Equicio Paxi in Radio Onda Azul
It is 3 am and, if I am to believe my cellphone, it is also -9°C in Puno, Peru. Even if there was heating in the place where I am staying (and there is none) I would probably still be cold. But my excitement compensates the weather as I am heading once again to Radio Onda Azul (ROA) for its “Quechua Rimayninchik” weekday program. Andean music, plenty of jokes, calls from communities far away, but also reflections on the state of indigenous peoples nowadays: all of these and more come together from 3 to 5 am. Chaska and Norma, two women in their early 30s, are in charge of facilitating these exchanges and making sure that the conversation keeps flowing.
Gerardo Huaracha Huaracha museoyoq kan Yanque llaqtapi, Valle del Colcapi, Arequipa, Peru. Gerardoq taytan wasichakuran, ña huk pachaq iskay chunka watakunamantaña. Chay wasipi museo kaq ichaqa qayna Agosto killapi, 2016pi, hatun pachakuyuy chayta thunichiran. Kay podcastpi, grabasqa qayna Mayopi, Jony Hernan Prudencio, wayna Tuti llaqtamanta, tayta Gerardowan parlashan museonmanta.
Tayta Gerardo takes Jony on a tour through his museum in Yanque.
Gerardo Huaracha Huaracha tiene un Museo en el Valle del Colca en Arequipa, Peru. El padre de Gerardo construyó la casa él mismo, hace más de ciento veinte años. En esta casa solía ser un museo pero el Agosto pasado, en el 2016, un terremoto la derrumbó. En este podcast, grabado en el mes de Mayo, Jony Hernan Prudencio, un joven del pueblo de Tuti, habla con el tayta Gerardo sobre el museo.
Gerardo Huaracha Huaracha has a Museum in the Town of Yanque, in the Colca Valley in Arequipa, Peru. Gerardo’s father built the house himself, more than a hundred and twenty years ago. This house used to be a Museum but last August, in 2016, an earthquake knocked it over. In this podcast, recorded in the month of May, Jony Hernan Prudencio, a young man from the town of Tuti, talks to tayta Gerardo about the museum.
Kay podcastpi, huk tayta paypa ususin ima runasimimanta rimashanku. Paykuna Perumanta kanku, ichaqa ña wakin watakunaña New Yorkpi tishanku. Tayta runasimita rimayta atin, ichaqa paypa ususin mana atinchu. Paykuna imaraykumanta rimashanku.
En este podcast, un padre y su hija hablan sobre su uso del idioma quechua. Son del Perú, pero ya desde hace unos años viven en Nueva York. El padre puede hablar en quechua, pero su hija no, y conversan sobre esta realidad que viven a diario.
In this podcast, a father and his daughter speak about Quechua language use in their family. They are from Peru, but have lived in New York for many years. The father can speak in Quechua, but the daughter cannot; together they reflect on this reality.
Originating in the southern region of Peru (Ayacucho) during the Andean resistance period (in the middle of the 16th century), ancient Scissors Dancers were prohibited for being considered rebels, heretics and possessed by demons. However, they fought – through dance – against the Spanish rule and Catholic mission process that promoted the extirpation of Andean gods and deities. Even so, they have survived up to present day.
The performance will feature two dancers competing while accompanied by two musicians playing an Andean violin and harp. CLACS Quechua professor Odi Gonzales and current Quechua students will share remarks during the event as well.
The Scissors Dancers are Peruvian citizens who live in New York and Connecticut. Dancer Steve Cota Quispe, who hails from from Ayacucho, is the coordinator.
Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll bear witness to next week. Be sure to join us Tuesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m.
Thanks to everyone who joined us last Friday for our event ‘A New-New Left in Latin America?: The Challenge of Progressive Politics in the Midst of a Conservative Turn.’ More than two hundred students, professors, activists, local media, Peruvian journalists and community members joined us at KJCC Auditorium to hear former Peruvian Presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza speak about the rise of a ‘New-New left’ in the region.
CLACS Assistant Director Omar Dauhajre presented the event and panelists. Speakers included essayist and poet Mariela Dreyfus who highlighted the feminist activism in Peru and Jose Luis Rénique, historian and principal professor at Lehman College, who discussed democracy, education, and the promise of the left. Panelist Paula Garcia shifted the conversation to the challenges of the Frente Amplio as an organization.
Verónika shared her perspectives about the challenges of the Left in the new Latin American scenario, her strong results in notoriously conservative Peru, and her vision of the future. One of her strongest messages was, “The absence of the left in national politics represents an opportunity to create something new.”