Collaboration with Peaceworks (US) to build a sustainable Women's Center in Shilla! OSU project

Peacework, an international NGO based out of Blacksburg, Virginia (US), in a project with Ohio State University Global Health Initiative, has allied with KillaWarmi to build a Women's Community Center for the women & girls of Shilla district and its communities, in Carhuaz, Ancash (Peru).

Welcome to all the volunteers & Katie and thank you all for your hard work! (Field work at site in Shilla: June 5- June 15th, 2014)

The Center: Our Vision

The Women's Center will be administered by the local "Mujeres Lideres de Shilla" Association and will be supervised and monitored by KillaWarmi (KW) to make sure the center is used for the specific ends for which it was created: it will be used for their women's meetings, training, workshops and classes in feminine health, other workshops around women empowerment, counseling and talks (for non lucrative purposes), where the beneficiaries will be all women & girls of Shilla district and its communities with no discrimination or personal favoritisms.

It will be a pilot center that serves for reference to other female community centers in the country that could be created with KillaWarmi in other provinces of Peru, with the possibility of having cultural/feminine wisdom exchanges coordinated by KW. As a women's center and demostrative community project, we plant the vision of having in the future feminine wisdom inter-community and inter-provinces gatherings & workshops, where feminine wisdom can be shared in the Center, and with the possibility of extending it to international visitors interested in revaluing and sharing Ancestral Woman Wisdom. All this will be in alignment of the purpose of promoting intercultural exchange and the strengthening of feminine wisdom in Peru.

View of the center site from below
Peaceworks has provided the funds necessary to cover the costs of all the materials that will be used for the construction of the center. Ten volunteers from the Ohio State University are coming for two weeks in June 2014 and will help in the construction process. 

Our goal for the construction work is to recover and preserve the traditional techniques and architecture used in the Andes. Most of the material used is coming from the local area. The shape of the center will be circular for several reasons: it makes a structure more stable and solid; round buildings are traditional and closer to the design of nature; and it provides for an effective use of the space; and symbolically because it represents the Feminine.

Aside from the main building, we also want to make good use of the land around the center and create gardens using the principles of permaculture. Women will have the opportunity to grow traditional medicinal plants and important crops, to maintain their health practices and cultural expression. 

 Offering to Pachamama, we all shared our prayers for this center with our MamaKoka kintus. Students were introduced into Andean Cosmovision, sacred prayer & Ceremony when starting the building process

Each one offered their Kintus and Mother Corn kernels with their prayers and intentions for the Center

Andean Adobe Making and setting the poles

Working throughout the whole process ..

Harvesting & collecting Ichu (straw for the roof): this was collected before the arrival of the students and throughout the whole building project

Shiny golden Ichu ready for the roof!

Collecting Ichu up in the Puna altitude

Building of outhouse (baño seco) for the Women's Center

Last day of work with the students ..

Circular Roof

After the volunteers left, the work continued throughout the month! The straw roof layer was finished and the glass at the top of the roof was installed. The windows and the door work was also completed!
Beautiful local made windows (June 23)
Finishing the carrizo roof (June 18)

Final pic of this Stage 1 of the Center! (June 23rd)

Sharing with Sra. Norma, the leader of Shilla's women organization, how to use the Hesperian Foundation community health books donated to the Center, both enjoying to be inside the almost finished Warmi Walli Center

Beautiful and/or unexpected building project impacts on the community
* Reintroducing Ceremony & Prayer into the community for the building process
* Revitalizing Minka & Ayni Andean concepts of community working (not income-oriented)
* Introducing circular building, with a simple adaptation in the design of the conventional squared adobes

WACHUKU (2013) Andean Birth Wisdom: sharing by a Partera from Callejón de Conchucos, Ancash Region [subt. castellano]