Submitted by CADEP.
Q’eros Nation is made up of five villages located more than 15,000 feet above sea level, a town with a lot of history, tradition, religious custom and culture; its community is engaged in agricultural cultivation, animals such as alpacas, sheep, cuy and hen. In the Q’ero community of Ccoluyo live more than twenty families who each day fight tirelessly to forge ahead despite facing adversities such as climate change, anemia, and their overall well-being.
These challenges are forgotten for a moment with the presence of children in the area who despite their circumstances, are joyful and smile without taking into account the problems their elders have faced; some however at their young age also suffer, but they always find a time to forget the sadness.
Ernesto Apaza Flores, 49, lives with his family in the Ccoluyo village with his wife Rofina and their 5 children Karolina (16), Rena Karin (12), Anibal (7), John Peter (4) and Chaska (1). Ernesto and his family have lived here for more than sixty years and have endured their share of challenges. They are humble people and they consume everything they produce or harvest in their farm. But at the same time, they suffer because in order to cultivate the land, they have to wait for the rainy season to make the ground fertile in order to grow and harvest good products for their family’s consumption.
The family used to collect water from the nearby springs and streams of the mountains, and it was very cold. For this reason, they only bathed a few times a month for fear of getting bronchial diseases.
Ernesto tells us that before, he would only bathe when he had to go out to the city in Cusco or represent his community in some way. He was afraid to bathe his children with cold water because he wanted to prevent them from getting sick. Bringing them to the city is a long walk and it takes 1-2 days to get to the health post. Very often when children get sick here, they die.
In 2018, CADEP, with the support of Esperança, carried out different projects to support the population of Ccoluyo in the Q’eros Nation. We carried out tireless work together with the beneficiaries of the project and one of the leaders who stood out most on this journey was Ernesto.
In 2018 and 2019 solar panels and greenhouses were installed for families and at the local school to heat water and improve vegetable cultivation.
“The solar thermal helps us quite a lot where we live because it is very cold. Now my children bathe two to three times a week and are cleaner, even I bathe more often. Now I get to bathe even when I’m not traveling to the city.”
Following the improvement of access to basic necessities, different activities were carried out such as talks, conferences, orientations among others, for parents and children at the school of Ccoluyo, to KEEP family’s health. Health educators discussed hygiene topics, greenhouse management and growing vegetables were developed.
“Now I am happy and very joyful. I thank CADEP and Esperança because without their support we would not have these amenities. I am very grateful to each of you for the support provided.”