Wednesday, December 17, 2008

la familia paredes

Last night UAC-CP Education student David Paredes helped me transcribe some of my Quechuan "interviews" from my trip.  It was most interesting to watch his reaction to the recorded, one-sided conversation I had with his mother.  Because he was here at the College when I was visiting Apolo, it was strange for him, he said, to think that I had gone all the way to his house and met with his mother...without him.  

The picture to prove it: David Paredes' mom. She lives about an hour walk from the community of Juan Agua.

Doña Maria had already left to go work in the field by the time Edwin and I arrived unannounced at the family's home around 10am. But David's nephew ran to go get her and within 30 minutes she was sitting next to me, telling me about her life, crying. 

"I want my son to study," she said. "I don't want him to have to live like I have lived...working here and living in these poor conditions."  She said she's unable to help her son with tuition costs because she doesn't have the money.  Worse, her husband, David's father, died last year, and as an elderly widow, she's having a hard time maintaining her farm work.  "We live off coca," she said. "When there isn't coca, we are unable to survive."  Sometimes, she added, they are able to receive a little money from coffee, but it isn't as lucrative a crop as coca.

A picture of the inside of David's home.

Doña Maria spoke nonstop for nearly 45 minutes.  (Last night David laughed and said, "My mom is a talker, isn't she?")  That, she is.  The day I was there, I only had a vague idea of what she was talking about as she gave Edwin very little, if any, time to interpret.  And Edwin, respectfully, let her talk, never once interrupting her.  I was really proud of him.

"I think maybe your mom just needed someone to listen to her," I told David last night, as we both listened to her voice, waivering on the verge of tears, spout out from my little voice recorder.  "Yes," David agreed.  "Thanks for going my see how we meet my mother."

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