The Matsiguenkas are a native group located in a remote area of Peru accessible only by small boats. Their detachment from modern society has enabled many of their cultural traditions to remain intact. GRACE Cares completed two projects with the Matsiguenkas community in partnership with local hero Maria Luz Perez.
The goal of the first project is to safeguard the cultural identity of the Matsiguenka through the recording and sharing of stories and myths that form their heritage. The myths of the Matsiguenka were recorded and written in the native language and then translated into Spanish. To assure that this is a living project, one that directly involves the community, local school children illustrated the book of myths, leading to the creation of the book “Stories of the Matsiguenkas of the Under Urubamba”.
The second project sought to re-evaluate the knowledge and use of medicinal plants in Kirigueti and other Matsiguenka communities. This project was implemented by Professor Samuel Choronto. Using a participative methodology, the community and students conducted a study of current medicinal plant usage. After the study was conducted results were shared in community assemblies and in school programs. A booklet on 30 of the most commonly used plants was compiled and made available in the local language and in Spanish. The school serves as a community repository and resource on medicinal plants.