It’s been nearly three years since an earthquake hit the area around Pisco in Peru, and a group of us who work for Oxfam visited a few of the communities affected by the disaster last week. Many people are still living in temporary shelters among the ruins of their homes. We visited on a rainy morning that later became a cool, cloudy day and the haze obscured the hills and blended together with the rubble in a tableau of gray. There were signs of reconstruction, though it is clearly a slow process. But despite the depressing winter weather, people are optimistic in Pisco.
We were looking at the role that women are playing in the recovery in Pisco. Oxfam has been working with the Women’s Association of Ica to help women create economic opportunities for themselves and their families, get involved in setting the agenda for rebuilding, and help reduce vulnerability to future disasters.
Oxfam and the Women’s Association of Ica have been training women to raise guinea pigs for sale and their own consumption (yes, people eat guinea pigs in Peru), and participate in the local civil defense program. The women we met with got training in how to raise guinea pigs and process them in ways that help them sell in the market place. And the women’s role as breadwinners and organizers is building a lot of pride and satisfaction. Read the rest of this entry »