Inequities

Second day – July 6, 2010
This morning I woke up many times – my pattern for past few days has been to sleep about 4 hours, be awake for awhile, sleep again…
Last night my compadres asked for money to fix their car- $500 soles. They also asked how much Josh and I make per year; how much it costs to come here; how much a hotel costs. The inequities were weighing heavy on me. They had a blight on their potato harvest and Ignacio claims that since his car broke down he has not been earning money. The community is largely outside a money economy. Ignacio says the daily wage here is 15 soles (about $5 US) for hard labor, such as carrying wood.
Did I tell about their families?
Elena’s mother died when she was one and a half; she never knew her father; there were 3 girls and one boy in her family; the boy died of alcoholism at 17; she was raised by her older sister in the community of Sunqu. That same sister is getting married at the end of this month.
Ignacio is one of twelve children from the same very lively couple who live right next door; his youngest brother, Edwin, is about 13. His father, Santos, is 61.
Ignacio’s mother went off to shepherd the animals and said she would invite me to accompany her another time. Another woman, a sister-in-law of Elenas’s from the community of Sunqu, also was very friendly to me later in the day and showed me how to stomp barefoot on chuño. She also said I should come shepherd with her someday. Her name is Gregoria. She wanted me to become her child’s godmother also. Ignacio’s father, who has nine sons and three daughters, said many of his kids were asking him to ask me if I could cut their children’s hair and enter into a godparent relationship with them. I said no, I have come to work at the school.
At some point Sudit, my goddaughter’s 10 year old older sister, asked me if I could buy her something and I said, “I did not come here to buy people things. I came here to work at the school.”
I have promised to help the family financially with their daughters’ education on an ongoing basis.
I will, in the end, help with the car and share what I can, but I’m sure the inequities will remain.

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