Since 2018, when GVI started working with the communities from the Piuray-Ccorimarca micro basin, we were shown the importance of the sense of community. Community members want to achieve sustainable development and improve their lives as much as they want their whole community to have that success with them. They are always thinking how the volunteers actions could multiply and extend to all the communities and they are excited when everybody thrives for a better future. During these difficult times, we still see that generosity through the shared efforts to help one another.
As we continue to process how much change we see in everybody’s lives due to COVID-19, we need to appreciate the good stories of kindness and reciprocity like the one we will be sharing. In Peru, the pandemic stopped the country’s economy, transit between and within regions and freedom in general for the population. Since March 15th 2020, the government announced a strict quarantine that left most of the population wondering what to do next. It is important to point out, most of Peru’s economy is based in informal commerce and day to day work, for this reason, it has been so hard for the population to keep up with the strict rules as they need to keep providing for their families with or without pandemic. This situation has shown to be extremely hard for the community members we work with. In the Piuray- Ccorimarca micro basin, agriculture is the main economic activity, however, in order to sell the agricultural products, it is necessary to transport it to the traditional markets around the Urubamba region, Cusco city and other sites outside the Cusco region.
Entry to the Piuray Pampa market
Unfortunately, due to the lockdown these commercial movements have been impossible for the community members. They have found themselves hopeless to get to the markets and sell their products as they always do. During these hard times, the Piuray-Ccorimarca micro basin committee alongside the Chinchero local government coordinated a joint effort to use a land known as Piuray Pampa to open a new market. This site is usually used a few times a year for fairs or special events but not as a proper market. For this reason, it was important to adapt this place with health and safety protocols to make it a proper space for sellers and customers from the micro basin. Farmers will no longer need to transport themselves to other cities or regions saving them lots of costs and have the assurance to still sell their products. In this market, community members are able to sell animals too, one of the most popular one is the guinea pig which is a delicacy in Cusco.
Potatoes and other tubers for sale
After lots of work and coordination, the Piuray Pampa market has been open to the public and the Chinchero population can visit it every Thursday. This is a safe area where community members from the micro basin can come and sell their products knowing they are not putting their lives at risk. This gives them an opportunity to save costs by not trying to get to other markets outside the micro basin and preventing their production to be wasted in the short term. On the other hand, it gives a new area for all the population in Chinchero to shop for great products at cheap prices and without risking their health trying to get to bigger markets where there is a greater chance to get COVID-19.
We are sure the communities from the Piuray-Ccorimarca micro basin alongside our local partner Centro Bartolomé de las Casas will continue to find new methods in terms of family agriculture to face the pandemic and continue to bring benefits for all the community members.
Graciela Sallo and Orlando Cjuiro from the Piuray-Ccorimarca micro basin committee