Our morning began with us traveling to the community of Cambio Puente. We walked to the center of Chimbote and caught the Burra, a small bus used as public transport. We had lots of fun on the ride observing the landscape of surrounding Chimbote. We learned that the land used for crops are called Chacras.
We had fun riding on the burra into Cambio Puente.
After a twenty-minute ride we arrived in Cambio Puente.
The WGC travelers received a warm welcome from the Mujeres Emprendedoras in one of the women’s homes. After introductions, our group was eager to begin the workshop. Monica Hernandez, the facilitator, took the world-café format and modified it according to the duration, location, and objective of the workshop which was focused on sustainable development. World-café is a technique that encourages engaging and collaborative dialogue through the use of small-group discussions. The presenters not only initiated their table’s discussion but also presented techniques of sustainability to their audience, otherwise known as the five R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot, and Recycle. The intention behind this workshop was not only to gauge whether the women knew of and were implementing these practices within their homes in an effort to eliminate household waste but to discuss ways to educate other women in the community and the limitations of doing so.
Some of the mujeres are the same age as the students in the WGC group
Ashley enjoyed presenting why it’s important to refuse with the help of Franco, her translator.
Alejandra Escobar enjoyed teaching others about the ways to reuse materials by using them in new ways in the house. The women expressed that they already reuse many of their household items. For example, whenever they find a hole in their shirt they not only sew it back up but they add a flower or some other kind of design. Impressed with their creativity and ideas on how to give materials a second life, Alejandra mentioned that the conversations with the women were rich and very much a “give and take” situation when it came to learning.
Yesenia Caloca taught about reducing the amount of trash produced in the home. The Mujeres Emprendedoras of Cambio Puente are conscious and very much in tune with the challenges that plague this town. The conversations were dynamic and raised many more questions around the topic of reducing household waste. Some of the topics discussed ranged from technology, sustainable practices, consequences of improper trash disposal, to immigration and consumerism. The women were particularly interested in creating their own non-toxic household cleaners with vinegar and reusing spray bottles.
Gisel and Clarissa spoke to the women about the importance of recycling and how it affects our Earth.
Yesenia Alcala taught us how to compost. She provided a visual aid of an example of a compost bin in a small scale for the kitchen.
Ladies from Cambio Puente were overall “reasonably knowledgeable” in knowing how to compost rot. The manner in which they use rot or leftover scraps of food is either by feeding them to the cuy (guinea pig – majority of Peruvians choice of healthy protein) or stray dogs, however, such items as eggshells & animal waste is being used to fertilize the plants they have around the outside of their homes. The majority of ladies commented during the session that besides the food scraps, animal waste, and bones (which some said they burn and use for abono=fertilizer) that they use any other types of organic trash in their use for gardening or aiding for development to sustain their soil.
They enjoyed hearing different ideas on what could be used in a “rot” pile and how this process of composting whether in a small or large scale can be converted into a fertilized soil for gardening vegetables, flowers, or simply used to enrich their soil. The women from Cambio Puente & Pushaq Warmi mentioned that it would be a good idea to share with their community how using a small bin made of cardboard or plastic container, such as the one I took as an example, could be used in their kitchens to dispose of food scraps and later dumped into a larger pile for composting. They weren’t aware that paper, napkins, newspaper and cardboard were items that could be added to the pile when cut/broken down into small pieces.
The process was comprehended and their initiative to use composting is being used in different ways, however, they are appreciative to learn of additional ways of using their natural resources to better their ways of living and sharing with their community.
Here are some tips they shared during their presentation:
• Avocado pit – boil the pit and use the water for upset stomach; this is gentle for small children to use mainly for diarrhea
• Banana peel – the white residue that can be scraped with the nail & can be used to clean the teeth also the white residue from the peel is used to form a patty and then feed to the baby, and the peel is also used to feed their cuy (guinea pig) which is used for breeding & selling and initi
• Egg shells/animal waste – being used to fertilize soil for plants & vegetable gardens
• Animal bones – burned and used as fertilizer for soil
• Animal carcass – buried and said to be an excellent type of enrichment for soil
• The whole town was shouting down and marching all the way from Cambio Puente to Chimbote protesting that Cambio Puente should be part of the initiative to receive water capabilities for their district – that is has been 60 years and there has been no plans of having running water in their district. The march will stop at the municipality where the Mayor is set to be having a meeting with a top official and the people from Cambio Puente want to prevent the meeting to be stopped or held up so that their voice can be heard and there could be a resolution to have running water in their district. Radio station they will be on-line: Radio Exitosa
The women’s young daughters were so excited that we were visiting them.
The women were very grateful to host us, and made a traditional Peruvian dish for us: Cuy. Cuy is guinea pig and is considered a delicacy. Even though we were hesitant to try, we were grateful for it as it is expensive and they raise them to sell. The texture of the meat was very chewy, yet tasted like chicken. It was paired with white rice and potatoes in an aji sauce. Overall, we enjoyed trying this unique dish!
Over lunch we were also able to exchange conversation with the women. We learned a little bit more about other regional dishes, school life, and other problems faced in the community.
Clarissa, who is usually a picky eater, had fun trying the Cuy. After all, when in Peru…
After lunch, Monica Hernandez presented the women with certificates of appreciation and encouraged them to educate others in the community, presented an overview of how to organize a community clean-up, and invited them to join us on Sunday in collecting trash in a couple of the community’s spaces.
The women have an awesome sewing machine that they use to create beautiful pieces. We loved their work and were happy to buy some pieces to bring back to our families. They also presented their organization plan, depicted as pictures on the wall.
Gisel fell in love with this hat created by Florinda
As we were waiting for the bus to go back to Chimbote, we had a new experience—-shepherds on bicycles.
We had a successful morning with our workshops. Once again we rode the burra back into Chimbote.
Return to our blog page because more will be coming on the sustainability workshop soon.