Members of the rural community of Queromarca took part in a series of activities in the Araucanía Region in the framework of an international cooperation project.

A delegation from the community of Queromarca in the Cusco Region of Peru has participated in an important exchange of ancestral knowledge. The delegates visited Chile’s Araucanía Region to speak in the First International Seminar on Interculturality and Medicinal Flora in the Andes Region, held in La Frontera University, Temuco.

The participation of the Peruvian delegation formed part of the activities of the “Strengthening food sovereignty and cultural identity through the implementation of ‘chacras-huerta’ (vegetable gardens) in the Andean Altiplano, Cusco-Peru” project, financed by the Chile Fund for Sustainable Development and executed by the Desarrollo Campesino Foundation (Fundecam) and the Faculty of Farming and Forestry Sciences of La Frontera University, with the support of Centro de Promoción de las Sabidurías Interculturales (CEPROSI).

The members of the delegation were: Elena Pardo (CEPROSI), Pablo Pumachoque, Lorenza Ccasa, Indalecio Orue, Juana Huacoto, Donato Moscoso and Jaime Yauri; they also carried out a series of activities in the Araucanía Region with Fundecam including a visit to Trañi Trañi School, which is supported by the Foundation.

In the Seminar, Elena Pardo, Pablo Pumachoque, Lorenza Ccasa and Indalecio Orue spoke on the use of medicinal flora in this part of the Peruvian Andes in the Quechua intercultural context, and about the importance of preserving this knowledge which has been handed down over generations; the director of School N° 56101 of Karhui, Juana Huacoto, took part in a round table discussion on medicinal flora and the school.


Elena Pardo commended the seminar as a space which allowed people to discuss shared concerns about how interest has faded in “cultivating our medicinal plants and knowing what each is used for; easy living has made us lazy and we have forgotten our healing techniques”. She added “our task here is to reflect and to recreate this respect for nature, and to go back to using our own resources. We need to change our attitudes, to cultivate our plants and learn from our grandparents,” she said.
The president of the Amaru Runa Association of Queromarca, Pablo Pumachoque, said that he had been pleased with the visit to Chile, especially the meeting “with my Chilean and Mapuche brothers to share in conversation about ourselves and our knowledge”. During his speech this delegate spoke of importance of seeds, especially of different varieties of maize and their different uses.

Juana Huacoto stressed the same ideas: “We have come here to share between our communities; some of our medicinal plants are also used here, and we have seen that their curative powers can be used in different ways. Many of them are the same handed down to us by our ancestors, and we have learnt how to use them from our grandparents; they have survived despite the exotic species that have been introduced. What we must continue to do is to enable this diversity to go on growing.”