Going to the Boca Toma (part 1)

by Stefmanovic


It’s morning and I’m awoken by the sound of barking dogs, I guess there is somebody at the door. I stare out my window, wondering if this could still be considered “anthropologically correct”. My view is that of house’ garden: there is a pool, a big garage, and various trees/vines/plants that provide us with all sorts of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

I go downstairs; ready to leave the house to buy breakfast. Rosa, the domina of the house, invites me into the kitchen for some bread and eggs. She tells me about her son who is in Cuba with his Venezuelan girlfriend. If I recall correctly they met whilst studying medicine in Cuba. “Hey muchacho! Are you ready?” David comes into the kitchen. David is my key informant during this research, but I can’t help but view him as my communist version of Doctor Gonzo. Our plan was simple; David was going to introduce me to several people who could help me out mapping the water distribution in the Ica Valley and more specifically its most southern part, Ocucaje.

We got into the car, a big old dusty American type. I’m not that much into cars so don’t ask me about the type and all that. David grabs some duct tape; “we shall use this to tie down the reactionaries when we interrogate them”. The mood of the day is set; everybody I will encounter shall be categorized into revolutionary or reactionary. We drive around Ica, David tells me to close the windows because he turned on the air-conditioning. I don’t really notice it since I’m already soaked into my chair. I don’t think I’m made for this type of climate. Driving through the city, the damage caused by the earthquake the year before becomes evident. Whilst the city of Ica didn’t suffer as much as places such as Pisco, El Carmen or Ocucaje, the signs of destruction are still visible. David tells me that the Peruvian government hasn’t done that much to resolve this problem, most reconstruction and humanitarian work being carried out by gringo volunteers and Cuban doctors. David took me to an office called ‘Junta la Achirana’ and introduced me to a fellow named Winston Anyarín who functioned as the junta’s leader. The junta is responsible for water distribution in the area covered by the Achirana, a canal constructed parallel to the Rio Ica. Both David and Winston explain the flow of the Rio Ica and the Achirana. They agree that a big problem with the water flow is that a lot of it goes lost into the sea, but that the farmers living in the more northern regions (despite having the capability to do so) have very little interest in storing the water. This is quite understandable since they have sufficient water. The same could be said about the southern part of the region who have adapted to the fewer amounts of water. However, whilst this system functions, it is rather short term in nature as was demonstrated during the droughts in 2010 when the Rio Ica didn’t reach Ocucaje.

To be continued…

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