By: Daniela Salcedo Arnaiz
In my first visit to Moray, I was looking for a first approach to the communities in order to make a diagnosis of the resources, knowledge and skills they have, as well as what would be needed to implement what was proposed in subsequent visits. For this reason, and with the support of the Mater Iniciativa team as intermediaries, I spent approximately two weeks collecting valuable testimonies for my research. I spoke, for example, with Andrés Ayma from the community of Kacllaraccay, who enlightened me about the ancestral practices of ayni and mink’a, especially in agriculture, and how work was organized and distributed among all under the principle of reciprocity. I also talked with Elba Henrriquez, from the community of Mullakas Misminay, about the vitality of Quechua, even in the younger generations and despite the fact that it is thought to be being lost. One morning when Mrs. Modesta, from Kacllaraccay, invited me to breakfast, I had the opportunity to learn about different plants and flowers, and their curative uses, much knowledge inherited from her mother and which, I feared, would be lost in the near future. On the last day, I remember, I talked with Neri, a farmer and also a worker at the restaurant. She felt overwhelmed by the obligations and efforts that a life dedicated to farming demanded. She wondered if it was worth it and if such an investment would allow her only son to have an easier life than her own.
After these interviews, I felt that there was a common thread linking them all: identity, collective memory and the loss or maintenance of traditions. Perhaps my next visit should focus on creating a ─visual, written, auditory─ record that will serve the communities to document their ancestral practices, reflect on what has been lost and what has been maintained, and allow them to evaluate how to look to the future. I left the Sacred Valley with countless lessons and the promise to return very soon.