Daryl Peveto

PROJECTS: The Other Path

Like many emerging market-based economies throughout South America, Africa, and even many of the former Soviet republics, Peru is a case study in both the tumultuous nature by which free market economies develop and a reminder that they, like democracy itself, are a perpetual work in progress. More importantly, it is also a study of the will power of individuals and communities to effect change rather than wait for it to reach them.

In Peru 67% of the population operate in some capacity outside of the legal system. Eighty percent of all construction is extralegal, 80% of all buses and taxis, 70% of all food sellers and markets and 67% of all clothes made are extra legal. Corruption in the form of high taxes and long waits for permits and licenses prevent many from legally entering the marketplace. It can take over two years to gain a permit to sell produce and cost over $8,000. Over 54% of the people live below the poverty line of $648 per year, making it impossible for them to afford the legal route. As a result, many have created markets - commonly referred to a black markets - I prefer instead the term informal markets – and economies out of necessity that are organized and very efficient and allow those outside of the legal economy to make a living.

A wheelbarrow becomes a family store. A grill becomes a neighborhood restaurant. Brothers and sisters are the daycare for working families, creating a stronger family bond. And traditions of craft and skill are passed along to each new generation.

Out of necessity, ingenuity and perseverance, the people of Peru have not only created opportunities for themselves and their communities, they have also forced the federal government to take notice by rivaling, and at times, surpassing the growth of the national economy.

Juana Suerte Lua waves her whip to stop her sheep from running down the side of the mountain. Suerte Lua lives high up in the Andes, in the puno, where she tends to her flock of sheep and alpaca, as well as growing a modest amount of potatoes and corn, mostly for her own consumption. Her husband of 23 years left her ten years ago, and with her children now gone to the city, she lives alon with her two dogs in a straw hut. She says she stays here in order to be able to watch over her animals and because she loves the beauty of the area.
  
Grandmother, Zedora Oseda, right, laughs with her daughter, Esperanza Sonario, as Sonario’s husband, Marco, tries to fit all of his sheep into their Toyota hatchback. The family left with 27 sheep in and on top of the car. The animal market is a staple of the region, where families come to buy and sell chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, and goats, as well as those who slaughter the animals and sell of individual parts.
  
Siblings, Elmas and Eli Q’ispe, play a game with rope while their father and uncle bag shaved bark, used for making brick, in a pit behind the gate. Elmas was trying to take the rope from Eli by yanking it, so she let go when he did not expect it and he went tumbling.
     
  
Labariana Mendoza, stands watch over her and her sister’s sheep while also knitting a scarf, in a pasture near her house. Hualhaus is a small town northwest of Huancayo in the Central Highlands that is known for its fine weavings. Life here exists has it has for centuries. The people raise their own sheep and alpaca, hand-spin their own threads, and make their own natural dyes from grinding roots leaves flowers, fruits and minerals, much as it was done by the pre-Incan cultures of the Nasca and Paracas. Many of the towns in the Mantaro Valley are known for specific crafts. They have begun to market themselves to raise tourism and bring money directly to the towns, rather than having to send their wares of to markets and pay much of their profits to middlemen.
  
Julia Huasaca, washes clothes in her family’s yard while her husband, Mario Huasaca, tends to the family’s cattle and sheep in their home in the mountains above Ayacucho. The family lives there with out benefit of any government assistance, such as electricity, running water or trash collection. Julia says that they are fine without the government, as they make due fine on their own. Many villages throughout Peru subsist without any government assistance, opting instead to rely on their own creativity and ingenuity to survive.
  
While on summer break from school, Saida Basques, spends her time working the potato fields high in the mountains above Andahuaylas, along with the rest of her family. Her brothers and father work the fields, her mother cooks breakfast and lunch for the crew, and she carries water to the hands. She says she enjoys being there because she loves being close to her family.
     
  
From left, Maralene Mamani Lanorilo, Elias Mamani Yanarico and Raquel Yanarico work to till a patch of land high in the hills above their village on the island of Amantani. The family uses the land to grow corn and potatoes, as well as a place for their animals to graze.
  
Teofila Huaman Oré works to pick prickly pears from cactus in the mountains above Ayacucho. The fruit, which are sold in towns throughout the Andes, are a staple crop for many too poor to own their own farm.
  
Tatiana Canadramh nourishes her baby, Lisar, at the local market in Chinchero. The market, which now brings in many tourist, is still a staple to the economy for the many locals who live and work in the region.
     
  
  
Zedoro Alejo Castro, right, smiles at his recently purchased cow, from owner, Felix Oseda, foreground, at the Saturday animal market in Chupaca. The animal market is a staple of the region, where families come to buy and sell chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, and goats, as well as those who slaughter the animals and sell of individual parts. The Mantaro Valley is an agricultural region that exists largely without benefit of government services. The locals have created these unofficial markets to fulfill their daily needs.
  
The remains of political posters for Angel Mendoza Poves, who ran for Candidato a la Presidencia Regional de Junín. In Peru, many run on platforms of helping the poor, but do little once they are in office. The problem is many of the laws are written to benefit specific offices, which are another way of promoting corruption. In Peru, as in many developing countries, market economies have a difficult time flourishing because the system is defined by the supply and demand for monopoly rights by means of laws, regulations, taxes, subsidies and licenses. The fallout of these privileges creates a wall of legal barriers that exclude the poor. The class warfare being waged is not a horizontal line between worker and entrepreneurs, but rather a vertical one, to the right of which are politicians, bureaucrats, and businessmen who profit and live off of the government’s favor and to the left are the legal and extralegal producers who are excluded from favor. It takes on average 13 years for an entrepreneur to overcome the legal and administrative hurdles required to build a retail food market that would help to take vendors off of the street; twenty six months to operate a new bus route; and nearly a year, working six hours a day to gain the legal authorization to operate a sewing machine for commercial purpose.
     
  
As a part of the Carnival celebrations, young boys and men from the nearby village of Yucay wait in traditional dress for their chance to dance in the Pisaq festival.
  
A man pays for a glass of chicha de jora in a small village bar. The bar is a one-room place where the locals gather to share stories and watch television. Chicha is a fermented drink, similar in taste to hard apple cider, that is prepared by grounding the corn into a powder, then moistened by chewing in the chicha makers mouth – which releases the starch – and then it is laid out to dry. It is later fermented in plastic jars. Though it dates back to the Incas, it has become increasingly rare, and is only found these days in small Andean villages such as this.