STORIES

Highlights

The Quechua community in Peru, highlights:

Designed and conducted the first pathfinder programme of the LCS model
Set up one regional initiative covering Cusco and Apurimac, with over 20 local communities involved
Created the first LCS Peru team of 10 local people
Trained more than 60 voluntary local students
Multimedia and blog capacity building for selected students
Involved more than 80 storytellers
Recorded more than 300 stories in the communities
Mounted 3 several well-received local community exhibitions
Mounted a very high-profile exhibition in Cusco, as part of the 11th International Congress of Ethnobiology.
Partnerships with Peruvian Education Dept.and 10 local schools for training and exhibition visits
Created over 30 local community-led radio broadcasts using the recorded stories as a database
Created the first Handbook LCS training manuals in Spanish and English
Created the first content prototype for Talking Objects: the ‘talking weaves’ from Ccatcca communities.
Produced one big story book, translated in both Quechua and Spanish languages.


We have seen great success following the LCS methodology in Peruvian Quechua communities in three different Andean mountain work zones. All voluntary students, trained by LCS representatives, were sent into their respective communities. They returned with a wealth of stories, which have been used by themselves in local or regional exhibitions, local radio broadcasts, and recently in internet blogs. Additionally, we have seen the community take ownership of the entire project, spontaneously creating a fourth work zone using the methodology practiced in the previous zones.



Actions

The LCS activities have taken root in the Andes since 2007 and have started to become self-sustaining as other communities show interest in participating. In fact, the latest Andes work zone has been initiated and undertaken entirely by local LCS representatives. Again, locally voiced and written testimonials are very positive about the relevance, importance and effectiveness of the LCS approach.

Full Prior Informed Consent and the LCS Methodology


After getting community accord, we applied a schema of free, prior, fully-informed consent throughout the whole process, e.g. the young people, storytellers and all the participants follow respectful FPIC formulae and templates which have been developed by LCS.

In each work zone, a committee was formed, made up of both tribal elders and students, who would determine which community members would have access to the LCS digital technology when there is no prior LCS presence in the area. This fostered a sense of local ownership of the project, connected the two age groups together on a common mission, and ensured that the project was taken seriously.


Capacity building and Student Training


The teaching of new skills is empowering. LCS attracts young people via a locally-customized training workshop on the use of new audio and video digital technologies, enabling them in this way to become ‘cultural agents’ to independently interview elders in their communities regarding traditional stories, songs and cultural practices.

We have trained more than 60 young students, all of whom volunteered for the program, in the use of a digital camera and digital recording devices to produce high quality results. A systematic way of working is essential too. Their training enables their explaining the LCS mission to elders, getting full consent, recording all the details of the storyteller and place etc. necessary to tag and properly annotate all recorded material. This, inter alia allows LCS to trace ownership and copyrights throughout subsequent content use and connect remote listeners later back with the original authors.

In 2007 alone in the first three mission zones, more than 275 raw stories were recorded.

Each student who participated in the LCS digital technology training and participated in field work, proudly received a diploma from LCS, which was presented at the local exhibitions in front of their entire community.


Development of the LCS media toolkit


The LCS kit is the collection of digital audio and visual recording devices that story collection agents use when in the field, along battery chargers and a large external hard drive for all asset media storage.

Stored in a special wooden box, 3 kits were created for the Peru missions. The formality of having the equipment organized and delivered gave a sense of importance to the students collecting the stories. Additionally, the kit itself cultivated a sense of gravity and self-importance for the storytellers.


Field Work and Digital Editing


In total, 24 indigenous communities have actively participated in the project: 7 communities in the vicinity of the Tambobamba village, 6 communities around Urpay village, 8 communities near Ccatcca village, as well as the community of Pisaq.

More than 83 storytellers have participated, all of whom have been interviewed by community students who attended the LCS workshops. (This number does not take into account the number of storytellers interviewed in Pisaq.)

Activities to categorize and edit all the recorded material are essential: We are working to create online, dynamic, searchable classified collections of oral traditions that can be accessed and augmented by members of a culture, no matter what world context they find themselves in. This evolving digitized resource, which we call a ‘Storybase’, will help to ensure that these stories and traditions can be shared with a community's youth or heard by children anywhere on the globe, so they do not disappear and will be retold in the future.


Local Multimedia Exhibitions


We have created 4 local multimedia exhibitions directly in the Peruvian communities, mirroring the stories and recordings back to the rest of the community. These exhibitions have thus involved the larger population in the LCS mission, and created an opportunity, through the technology and systematic process developed by LCS, for members of the community to celebrate their own stories and heritage with pride.

They additionally record their reactions or reflections triggered by the work and cultural memories they see on display. The first LCS model exhibition in Tambobamba offered a questionnaire for attendees to fill out. One measure of the project's success is how many were returned—in the Tambobamba exhibition alone, over 220 questionnaires were filled out speaking of the positive impact.

Many students returned to their local exhibitions after school to spend more time listening to the stories they missed during their group visit. Often, a student would bring along his or her parents to enjoy the result.

The students shot thousands of photographs. This resulted in an extraordinary number of choices for each local community exhibition. As with the story collecting itself, the decisions as to which pictures would best accompany the best stories were selected by a editing group comprised of the local team, students and local authorities. On average we had around 25 photos selected and 20 stories picked to build each local exhibition.


Regional Multimedia Exhibitions


The big exhibition at the Inca Museum in Cusco raised the profile of LCS from its initial local grass roots level to more of a regional entity. Entitled "Willanakuyninchis," a Quechua word for "our dialogue," the exhibition presented samples of the work created by the student members of the Quechua population who had participated in the LCS workshop in the communities of Urpay, Tambobamba and Ccatcca. The exhibition ran from June 15-30, 2008, as part of the 11th College of Ethnobiology, hosted by the Inka Museum and was exceedingly well attended.

More than 100 photographs were on display, as well as 16 MP3 sound boxes. Additionally, there was a video room where testimonials and documentation of the methodology were presented. The exhibition allowed LCS to debut its Touchscreen Talking Portraits and the Interactive Message Board. This dynamic multimedia device allows attendees to interact with the stories and indirectly with the storytellers, by allowing visitors to record and leave audio responses that will be posted online at a later date, and will also be made available as feedback to the original storytellers themselves.


Radio Broadcasts


We are excited by the many possibilities for synergy with local community radio and streamed digital broadcasts to extend the demographic of minority cultures involved in LCS-facilitated cultural dialogue and heritage sharing. In the Urpay community, radio programs were created and broadcast locally using the Radio Galaxia antenna, a local radio network around Cusco. This transmission is strong enough to be heard in all the surrounding communities involved. In many cases it could also be heard by farmers in the fields as they worked. Twenty different radio programs were created and broadcast, entitled "La Voz de los Andes" ("the Voice of the Andes"). Each was organized by the community itself and all of them were broadcast live, using 50% Quechua and 50% Spanish. We received enormous amounts of positive feedback after these broadcasts, and were also impressed by how many phone calls the station received during the actual broadcast.


Premier of LCS Touch Screen in Cusco


We have succeeded in prototyping in Peru an innovative digital device: the voice message touchscreen. This communal device links the generations around their traditional stories in a multimedia exhibition context. It was also appreciated by the young and old as a way to strengthen the promotion of their minority culture and identity to outsiders. Linked with a computer "hidden" in the wooden structure, the touchscreen device enables a very special interaction with the digital storytellers. It created a strong enthusiasm during school visits - all the children wanted to have a go.


Talking Objects


The ‘talking weaves’ from the Ccatcca community, are being used to explore new ways for adding value, meaning and significance to craftwork via its augmentation with digital storytelling. Traditionally a story, cultural meaning or record of the weaver's life can be woven into an object through the use of symbols, creating stories that live on within the object itself. LCS has commissioned three such woven pieces of craftwork and has recorded the makers’ accompanying stories and images, along with documentation.

Ccatcca weavers have produced 3 pieces, a traditional Andean hat which Adolfo is shown wearing here, a scarf and a woman’s scarf. These are just the beginning, to demonstrate many possibilities.


Story Book


A major achievement for the Peruvian LCS team was the big "book" of stories gathered in the field by the LCS Tambobamba students. This book of more than 250 pages includes translations in Quechua and also in Spanish of the stories which they recorded themselves in the field during the first LCS Peru mission.


School participation


Schools have also been very active participants. In fact, we see LCS as providing an essential element of cultural education in what could become a national curriculum. The process we undertook in the methodology described above culminated with an exhibition event to share the photography and Quechua stories actually gathered by the local students. These exhibitions proved to be a good way to validate their own culture and reinforce pride in their cultural identity in the eyes of the other community members, especially because the materials were created by young people themselves. Every exhibition has therefore included classroom visits so many pupils can listen and react to the stories. Several teachers have taken this opportunity to create a special class around the exhibition to talk about their roots, to foster pride in their culture, and share the meaning of being Quechua.


Community Blogs


Internet web logs (or ‘blogs’) are an effective and easy-to-learn way for community members to create their own online presence, and to reuse some of the images and audio recordings of storytellers they have collected. Blogs can empower community members to connect with dispersed other same-language communities across the world, to exchange content and experiences, and to promote their culture to the outside world. LCS Peru has held several blogging training workshops, and already, 3 Quechua communities in Cusco and Apurimac region have made their own blogs using the work done on the field. For one example see:http://tambobamba-lcsandes.blogspot.com (Tambobamba blog)


Peruvian storytelling via Google Earth


LCS has created Google Earth mapping illustrations of Peru mission, combining the work zones with greater detail of the project status on the ground. This serves several useful functions, for example: - It allows the students and local community members to put their project into a larger global context, showing them precisely where their community is on the globe and in relation to other LCS work zones. - It gives Quechua members living outside the prescribed work zones or perhaps now in cities an understanding of the precise locations of the LCS activities. The LCS Google Earth .kmz is available at: http://www.nicolasvillaume.com/BLOG_LCS/VoicesfromtheAndes_LCS2008.kmz

Cultural VALUE

The Inca culture is one the five largest cultures in the world; its legacy transcends modern times. Cusco, at its core, was the origin of new paradigms that to the present day still hold commanding respect and action. Despite the 500 years that have passed since colonials arrived, the Quechua identity has not been lost.

Perhaps, the most evident way in which individuals identify themselves with a culture is through the acceptance of its ethical and moral values. These provide the base and guidelines for maintaining order and quality of life within a society. Acceptance of and compliance with these principles makes the tasks each individual must do more endurable, keeps the group unified and provides the satisfaction of belonging; it limits the action of indifferent individuals and the community risk of dissidents. The Quechua legacy embraces:

The ‘minka” (community or cooperative work with a common social aim)
Harmony between men and nature, a rationality in the coexistence with the Earth (Pachamama), a “tribute to the land” that is established as means of communication and retribution (i.e. not to ask for things but to thank for them instead)
Profound respect for their ancestors and an extensive communication with them (Uku Pacha, Kay Pacha, Hanan Pacha)
Respect for the potential of the land, e.g. crop rotation is essential.
Ayni, a social work system (‘loaned’ work or diverse support, which will be returned to the contributor upon a similar need)
A sustained traditional medical practice and a large pharmacopoeia available to the world.
The Quechua heritage and identity offers to the world an alimentary culture for the ‘cold’ envoronments (foods such as the moraya, chuño, papaseca, charki, añu, etc.) processed at low temperatures with the support of ‘manantes’ (defluents)
Part of the Quechua identity is the message of quality and joy in work: Munay, llankay y allinta ruay, ‘Love, work, do it well”

This ‘living treasure’ is alive within the native Andean people and the communities who, in spite of time and outside influences, continue to adhere to the rules and knowledge of their ancestors; observing thousand-year-old, colourful and lively traditions.


LOCAL Team

LCS activities in Peru have been developed simultaneously in 3 zones , under the following local teams:

TAMBOBAMBA (Peru, Apurimac Region) - QUECHUA


LCS local Team
Tambobamba teacher: Santos Taipe
Assistant: Frida Pilco
Instructor del taller: Diego Oliver / William Inga
Local coordinator: Adolfo Ticona Mamani
Andean Projects leader: Nicolas Villaume

Community leaders involved
Tambobamba Regidor Municipal: Edgar Vivanco Gibaja
Tambobamba vice-mayor: Paz Atilio
Asacasi community president: Clariso Tarapaqui Closcco
Apumarca community president: Walter Sullca Quispe
Directora Instituto Enducativo EDT: Nora Alvarez Canal
Director de area de gestion pedogagica: Nino Escolastico Moina Huillca

URPAY (Peru, Cusco Region) - QUECHUA


LCS local Team
Urpay teacher : Franclin Obregón Orué
Assistant: Sixto
Instructor del taller: Diego Oliver / William Inga y Tom
Local coordinator: Adolfo Ticona Mamani
Andean Projects leader: Nicolas Villaume

Community leaders involved
Sr. Ismael Ríos Parra Alcalde del concejo menor de Urpay
Sr. Eleuterio flores Huamán Presidente de la Comunidad de Sullumayo
Sr. Valerio Condori Puma Presidente de la comunidad Yanaccocha.
Sr. Juan Ttito Huamán Presidente de la comunidad de Chanca
Sr. Mario Quispe Villarroel Presidente de la comunidad de Arahuara
Sr. Fortunato Gallegos Roque Presidente de la Comunidad de Pallpacalla.
Sr. Juan tupa Presidente de la Comunidad de Lactabamba.

CCACTCCA (Peru, Cusco Region) - QUECHUA


LCS local Team
Ccactcca teacher : Fredy R. Nayhua Huisa
Assistant: Isaias Huaman Inquillay
Instructor del taller: Diego Oliver / William Inga y Tom

Threats

The Quechua is a living vibrant culture that continues to resist the incursions of foreign cultures.This is why the city of Cusco now houses the ‘third generation’ of men (Incas, Spaniards, Nationals) . Living on top of the very same foundations of the Inca buildings, they still use the very same water canals for their crops, use the same tools of production and participate as a family in the productive and agricultural processes.

However, amongst the several disturbances and threats to the Quechua identity we find:

The influence of diverse religious sects that do not respect the Inca legacy.
Proliferation and sale of alcoholic beverages.
Compulsory use of the Spanish language over Quechua (their own language).
Lack of education in their own language or of their own culture
Forced urban migration due to the lack of jobs in their home towns or villages.
Disdain for the dissemination of their myths, tales, legends and costumes.
Influence from broadcast media and globalization. This has an ‘hypnotizing’ effect that generates a large computerized illiteracy, unquestioned and dispassionate, which in turn generates a consumer culture.
In addition the disappearance of the clear social roles of each individual in the face of a restructuring of labour relations.


These harmful factors mitigate against the identity of the Quechua, threatening the oblivion of the Inca worldview and their indigenous philosophy, science, astronomy, medicine and technology. The ethnocentrism of the Spanish language even nourishes an absurd debate about the Quechua linguistic construction. All the these issues indicate a great risk for the Quechua culture and language itself, which might eventually disappear.

Resources