Carmen de los Ríos
Ayacucho, Peru (director of Centro Loyola)
The Displaced are among the most vulnerable;
- Fear. Despair, they cannot sleep well. Headache. Crying. Irritation. Afraid to die. Domestic violence.
- Wounds that reopen: – Curfew. Militarization.
- It is not known what the Covid 19 is, or where it is, it is everywhere.
- They could be relatives or neighbors. They may now also be infected.
- Many died unfairly.
- There is a fear of dying.
- It is not known when it will end.
- Children have difficulties studying.
- Strong emotional tension situation. We feel “tied”, you can’t go out, you don’t buy, you don’t sell, you don’t work .
- With the support of counseling and support, they can say, “That time we won before, now we are going to win again.”
Rapid contagion rates these last weeks. Insufficient medical personnel, equipment, resources, etc.
It is the big theme: Between fear of disease or hunger. You are more afraid of hunger. “The belly obliges.” Most in precarious, mobile jobs, the so-called underemployment, which is hidden unemployment. So many leave quarantine. In the cities, if they don’t work they don’t eat. In the field it is time for harvests. Many go to the fields, circumventing quarantine and border controls.
Hungry families who do not have anything to eat put up white flags, happily the neighbors help or call for help. Lots of poverty, extreme poverty.
The walkers, or returnees, or illegals. Efforts have been made for the humanitarian transfer and to keep them quarantined, but many circumvent the quarantine. Many return with nothing, they don’t have a job, nor to eat … many of them had already moved before fleeing violence. Some rural towns only have elders. Some young people return with other customs, they do not know the authorities, they do not quarantine. “They demand rights, they can have a house and land, but they have not planted”, thefts are feared, conflicts are generated. Some towns do not accept returnees, for fear of contagion.
Distance education is taught. Failure to understand and parents not being able to support their children in studies generates tension and family violence … Due to culture, family life is organized according to agriculture, it is harvest time. Danger not only of missing the school year, but dropping out and difficulty in returning.
Urgent Actions to be Implemented by the Church, State, Civil Society
- Reject the old normality, unjust, perverse, corrupt. The gaps and poverty in which much of the Peruvian population lives have been evident.
- What society have we accepted? Have we believed that Peru had emerged from poverty? Have we believed in the mirage of a modern society? Lots of people without safe water, without health, without education … without work. Can they be called citizens when they have no minimum rights to live? Are we silent? Are we used to it? Have we ignored it?
- Have we closed our eyes as people, as a church?
- This hurts. We have not become accustomed to not accepting this “normality”.
- Generate a “new normal”: changing us too…. leaving flaws that have stuck to us like consumerism, racism and others.
- Affirm respect for the human dignity of each person, from the most vulnerable (displaced, native, internal)
- Accompany people in the face of the strong economic and psychological impact that individuals and families are suffering.
- Strengthen leaderships and social organizations; These have known how to face multiple problems, watch over their members, strengthen their social activity, give them space. Encourage your creativity.
- Prioritize work with women, youth, native communities. Address the ecological dimension that promotes radical changes on a personal and social level.
Collaborate with social movements.
- That it be recognized, as Pope Francis says, that “we are in the same boat but in another place of the same …” or perhaps “we are in the same storm but not in the same boat” … promoting the change of structures that integrate us into all as citizens with acquired rights.
- Value life, make life grow, take care of life. Take care of each other. Stewardship. Raise awareness that we have to generate a more humane society, with values and walk towards it creating a new normal.