2001 Fieldwork Plan

Cabeceras Aid Project's fieldworkers will return to Peru this summer to continue working in partnership with indigenous communities to strengthen their well-being and autonomy. This year we will continue several projects already underway and also initiate a few entirely new ones. Please read on to learn about our goals and strategies for our coming fieldwork trip. We hope that we can count on your support!

2001 Fieldwork: The Camisea Project

In our work with the Nanti communities of Montetoni and Maranxejari over the past four years, we have striven to achieve a goal that community members themselves consider critical: to increase the resources that they have available in their own communities, so that they are able to manage their own healthcare. As you know, two components are essential to meet this goal and neither one works without the other: material resources and knowledge.

We are working with these communities to develop long-term solutions for present healthcare problems by simultaneously providing Nanti individuals with information on how to prevent ill-nesses and by providing training in how to use a small set of basic medicines safely and effectively when they are needed. In addition, we have supplied Montetoni with medicines so that the village healthworker that we have trained is able to respond to outbreaks of gastrointestinal and res-piratory illnesses, as well as malaria, if necessary.

This year, our major goal is to ensure that Montetoni is no longer dependent on Cabeceras Aid Project for medical supplies. While we have been happy to supply the community with needed medicines, it is essential that the community have access to a stable long-term supply of medicines.

To this end, we plan to accompany Bisarota, Montetoni¹s healthworker, to the nearest govern-ment healthpost in the Matsigenka community of Boca Camisea, to introduce him to the doctor and nurses there. By facilitating the relationship between him and the healthpost staff, we hope to enable him to acquire supplies and assistance directly from them in the future, without the need for us as intermediaries. The doctors at this government healthpost have supported and advised us in our training of Bisalota in past years, and we expect that they will be pleased to have a direct relationship with him. While we are in Montetoni, we will continue our healthcare training with Bisalota, expanding his knowledgof specific treatment regimens for common illnesses, and reinforcing his previous training.

We will also continue working with Bisalota and other adults to develop their knowledge of numbers. The ability to count in Spanish is crucial for Nanti individuals who are interested in using either medicine or money, but it is a challenging skill to learn for people whose concept of number is very different from ours. Bisalota in particular made impressive progress last year, learning to count confidently to 70, and we plan to build upon his accomplishments this year.

Along with our healthcare and educational activities, we will continue the complex process of documenting the Nanti language. Creating more written materials in and on the Nanti language will help ensure that Nanti individuals can be schooled in their native language, and will increase the knowledge that non-Nanti individuals have of the Nantis¹ unique way of expressing themselves. Cabeceras Aid Project¹s relationship with the Nanti communities of the Camisea River represents an on-going investment in the future health and strength of these communities.

Our Goal for this project is $ 2000.

2001 Fieldwork: The Iquito Project

Over the last year, we have heard from sources in indigenous rights organizations in Peru of a surge of interest among the Iquito communities of northern Peru in developing a long-term language revitalization project for their heritage language. The Iquito communities, as the name suggests, are located relatively near the large jungle town of Iquitos, and as a result have had extensive contact with Spanish-speaking people for centuries. Due to prejudice and economic necessity, the Spanish language has had a pervasive influence in the Iquito communities, so much so that now only about 12 elderly people still speak Iquito. This means that the Iquito language is presently in serious danger of extinction.

Fortunately, though, centuries-old prejudices against indigenous identity are beginning to lose their hold in Peru, and many indigenous people are now interested in embracing their heritage, not rejecting it. Among these are the Iquito, who have sent out an appeal for help in the challenging task of documenting their language, creating written materials in Iquito, and making these materials a part of the education program in Iquito communities.

We have two specific goals this year. First, we will investigate the present linguistic and social situation in the Iquito communities, in order to ascertain the feasibility of a language documentation and revitalization project, and to determine if it is appropriate for our organization to be involved in such an effort. This diagnostic study will include discovering the exact number of remaining speakers, their ages, and their individual levels of interest in participating in an effort to document their knowledge of the Iquito language. We will also investigate the interest of other community members in language revitalization to determine how broad-based this interest is, and what motivations and goals they have for a revitalization and documentation effort. If a project is feasible, and the community is interested in the kind of support our organization can offer, we will work with the community to formulate a detailed work plan for next summer, when we will be back in Peru.

Our second goal is to record and transcribe as much Iquito speech as possible, including story-telling sessions, conversations between speakers, and interviews with us. The goal of this work is to create documentation that will be useful for linguistic analysis. We hope to record enough data to determine basic aspects of the language structure and sound system, and to form the beginnings of an Iquito dictionary. Lev and Chris have received research grants to cover their travel expenses for this project; Cabeceras Aid Project funds will buy materials that are necessary for thorough documentation work.

Our Goal for this project is: $ 200.

2001 Fieldwork: The Purús Project

Our fourth project this year has a grim motivation. In February of this year, a violent conflict occurred between the settled residents of the upper Purús River and a group of uncontacted indigenous people whose seasonal presence in the area has long been known. Details of the conflict are sketchy, but it appears that a group of armed woodcutters from a local community and a nomadic group encountered one another at the mouth of a remote tributary of the Purús River. Why the encounter turned violent is unclear, but reports say that as many as eight people were killed by the woodcutters.

Much of the information that has reached an audience outside of the local area in which this conflict took place has been provided by FENAMAD, the region¹s indigenous federation. In recent years, FENAMAD has been working toward the establishment of a reserved zone to protect the uncontacted nomadic groups of this region. Due to the urgency of preventing another violent conflict, we wish to extend an offer of assistance to FENAMAD. In particular, we will work with them to generate further crucial documentation of the situation in the Purús region and to disseminate this information to those individuals and organizations who have the ability to alter the present situation.

As you may remember, we visited this very region in 1998 to learn about the potential for contact between the settled and migrating groups there, and we subsequently released a report on the existing situation. (This document, entitled The Purús Report, is available at our website, at: www.onr.com/cabeceras). Now that this contact has occurred, and in such a disastrous manner, we feel compelled to offer whatever resources we can on the behalf of the indigenous people of the region. We are looking forward to collaborating with FENAMAD this summer, and we hope that this will be the beginning of an enduring and productive relationship between our two organizations.

Our Goal for this project is: $ 1000.

2001 Fieldwork: The Paquiria Project

As you may remember, in the last two years we have traveled to the remote Matsigenka communities on the upper Paquiria River to provide material and medical aid that these communities have requested, and to investigate the consequences of the interactions between these settlements and woodcutters. In this project, we have worked in collaboration with Samuel Osega, the government-paid Matsigenka healthcare worker in the area. Samuel is based at the healthpost in Nueva Luz, a Matsigenka community on the Urubamba River at the mouth of the Paquiria.

Because the state of health of the residents of the upper Paquiria is directly related to the health of the residents of Nueva Luz due to contact among them, we have worked with Samuel to combat the spread of illness in Nueva Luz and up to the Paquiria settlements. To this end, last year we provided the Nueva Luz healthpost with a substantial quantity of medical supplies, since it is very difficult for Samuel to acquire sufficient supplies for the many people living in the area.

This year, we feel there is no need for us to travel to the Paquiria settlements. We trust Samuel to continue his skilled healthcare work in the region, which he can ably carry out if he has the necessary material resources. Therefore, this year we intend to provide another quantity of basic medical supplies to the Nueva Luz healthpost and the gasoline necessary for Samuel¹s next trip to the upper Paquiria settlements.

Our Goal for this project is: $ 500.

On-Going Collaboration: Matsigenka Ethnomedicine Documentation

Last November and December, Cabeceras Aid Project provided funds to Daniel Rios Sebastian, a young Matsigenka man, to travel to five Matsigenka communities in the lower Urubamba River Valley and work with elders in these communities to document their extensive knowledge of plant-based medicine. Daniel gathered his data in the form of written notes and photographs, and he recorded his interviews with medicinal specialists. Daniel¹s hope is to publish the data he gathers as a book written in Matsigenka, which will be available in healthposts and schools in Matsigenka communities.

The next stage of this documentation project is for Daniel to compile the data he has gathered and put it in electronic form, so that it can be turned in to a book; and to design a follow-up re-search trip after he has evaluated his current data.

Our Goal for this project is $ 600.

On-Going Collaboration: The Matsigenka Pisciculture Project

Although Cabeceras Aid Project often works with indigenous communities located in remote places, we have considerable contact with people in the communities on the main Urubamba River that lie along our way to more remote sites. The large and growing number of long-term settle-ments on the Urubamba, both indigenous and colonist communities, has significantly impacted the protein resources in the area, in terms of both the amount of game available in the forest and the amount of fish available in the rivers. Lack of protein is the main cause of malnutrition in the area, and most gravely affects growing children.

Discussions in the summers of 1999 and 2000 with the directors of the community of Nueva Luz prompted us to investigate the possibilities of securing funding for establishing pisciculture projects (that is, building engineered ponds for raising fish and ducks for food) in several Matsigenka communities that have demonstrated interest in them. Our investigations led us to ASPRODE, a Peruvian non-profit organization that has developed many pisciculture projects in indigenous and colonist communities in other regions of the Peruvian Amazon.

Cabeceras Aid Project funded a diagnostic survey by ASPRODE in October of 2000. ASPRODE visited six communities in the lower Urubamba River Valley to assess the viability --both social and environmental -- for installing fish ponds. As a result of this survey, ASPRODE made recommendations about how carry out an installation project in each community.

At present, ASPRODE is drafting a timeline and budget for the first three of these communities. When we meet with their team in Lima this summer we will lay out the next stages of the collaboration between our two organizations based on their proposal.

Building our Organization: An Investment in Field Safety

Due to the healthy growth of Cabeceras Aid Project during our organization¹s first five years, we have decided that it is time for our organization to invest in a two-way radio. Given the remote sites in which we work, a radio is a nearly indispensable piece of equipment. It is only because of the costliness that we have not yet acquired a radio. However, we feel that it is an unnecessary risk for us to continue to work without a means of communication with other communities. If you feel that a two-way radio is a wise investment for Cabeceras Aid Project to make, please let us know how much of your donation you would like to be used toward the purchase of a radio.

Cost of Radio, Antenna, Waterproof Case and Car Battery: about $ 1200.

Does Your Employer Have a Matching Gifts Program?

Many employers offer a their employees a matching gifts program, through which the company will match, or even double or triple, your contribution to a registered non-profit org-anization. Cabeceras Aid Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation; our federal tax iden-tification number is 74-2799387. Arranging a matching gift through your employer is a great way to make your contribution to Cabeceras Aid Project go much further!