By Alice Ebeyer (NC Intern – McGill University)
The sun is not up yet, but we are already outside and can feel the fresh air on our faces. Surrounded by tomatoes, pumpkins, eggs, onions, cauliflowers and more food items, we are at the Nexos Comunitarios house in Urubamba, ready to visit the village of Cuncani. This will be my first time up there.
My name is Alice, I am French and I am currently studying at McGill University, Canada. My studies involve economics and international development, where I try to understand the global distribution of power and how power relationships affect different regions of the world. It is my first stay in Peru, but also the first time I get to being immersed in a country so concretely. NC allows me to observe the situation from a local perspective, where I can understand more easily the realities of the region. For this, I need to be knowledgeable about the country and this specific area. Through different readings added to my personal experiences here, I can see how this country is complex; first by its political context, resulting from the heavy historical past of Peru. I am also learning how the social relationships are varying from a place to another, how people interact between each other considering their origins and social positions, and how each perspective is deeply linked to the others. Beauty rises from this complexity, making Peru one of the most unique country I have visited. However, it is a reality that inequalities and discriminations are part of this process of Peru’s reality. Discrimination is strongly present in some regions and time has isolated some people more than others.
This is where Nexos Comunitarios plays a role : the main goals are the enhancing of health, education and economic empowerment through different projects and Participatory Action Research. Also and very important, NC promotes two principles along all its work: interculturality and the protection of human rights.
NC is working to implement Responsible Human Development in communities that are marginalized from society. Cuncani is one of these and for the next 2 months I will be part of the 2nd chapter of the PhotoVoice initiative in the community. As NC claims, this research project is made “for the children, with the children, and by the children”. Within the next weeks, I will share more about this methodology and my role in this 2nd chapter.
Honestly, I was already nervous about my role in this project, and when we arrived in the village, I think it got worse. I was feeling like a brown spot in the middle of a white sheet. Maricarmen, our director, introduced me to the children with whom I am going to spend time. I have noticed some of them were really excited but others seemed shyer. Later I got to speak with a few of them and also with Saturnina, a great woman and the local coordinator for NC initiatives in the community. After these conversations, I felt ten times lighter and when we had to get back home, I was really emotional. This place possesses an aura and a sort of energy you don’t want to get away from. The small river, the animals, the vegetation… It all converges into something peculiar that you couldn’t find elsewhere, merging with the mountains. There, we will start the trek that Nexos Comunitarios is organizing as a fundraiser for their Nutrition Program project. By following this link you will have all the information about our campaign: Ain’t no mountain high enough.
The team, Saturnina, and all the interns will be walking from the village of Cuncani to Urubamba. We will be walking between 8 to 12 hours depending on our fitness. We hope it will help our organization to receive more money for our amazing development projects. I would like to encourage you to take the time to read about our campaign, support our efforts and share it among your friends and family. ALL donations are welcome! On May 27th, will be the day for the trek and we are already training to be ready for it! Today, we hiked to the cross in Urubamba and we got to the Top!
Overall, I am really excited for the time that I will have to spend here so far, but above all, I feel really grateful to be part of this project. I know that if I am supposed to be the adult amongst the children with whom I will be working, they will teach me way more than that I will teach them. Also, Nexos Comunitarios is genuinely caring for the people they are helping, they are never giving up and I find this really brave, amazing and wonderful.