This month I traveled to the town of Sarhua and Pampa Cangallo on assignment for Pension 65, a social program of the government for elderly living in extreme poverty. Besides the financial assistance they provide, the program is working to give recognition to ancestral traditions and knowledge.
Sarhua and Pampa Cangallo (located in the Morochucos area) are well known for their strong traditions such as dancing, singing and weaving. Sarhua is also famous for its tablas, wooden planks decorated with drawings representing life milestones. Originally they were given almost blank as gifts to newlyweds, placed into the rafters of the roof and as time passed, new drawings were added. Not many families follow this tradition anymore but the tablas de Sarhua are still made as an art form. Pampa Cangallo and surrounding areas have the tradition of the morochucos, skilled horsemen who have been dubbed the “cowboys of the Andes”.