Lima, Aug 21 (EFE).- A new version of Peru’s legendary messengers, known as chasquis, have returned to the Andean heights of Cusco.
But while the ancient chasquis would travel along the Incan empire to transmit messages and orders, today’s chasquis bring knowledge and wisdom by delivering books to children living in remote areas further isolated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The innovative book loan service, the Chasqui Libro project, was launched by the municipality of Poroy, a village near Cusco, when some 1,500 students asked to receive school books at home after schools were forced to close due to the pandemic.
“They are generally children and young people from very precarious economic situations,” the mayor of Poroy, Francisco Toccas, told Efe.
Children place their orders through Whatsapp or a phone call and, depending on how remote the area, the messengers deliver the books by foot, bicycle or motorbike.
“We have named it Chasqui Libro: the messenger of knowledge; and also because, coincidentally, one of the royal roads, the Inca road to Chinchaysuyo, passes through the middle of the district of Poroy,” head of the project, Óscar Cáceres Quispe, told Efe.
Although Poroy is only 13 kilometers from Cusco, one of the most important cities in southern Peru, its community faces economic challenges due to the lack of access to technology.
The situation worsened with the pandemic, when people started migrating from the city to rural areas, generating sanitation, health and connectivity problems.
But despite its poor economy, in 2019 the municipality allocated a budget to acquire books, musical instruments and tablets as well as install internet service in public areas.
“Our project is small, but of very considerable satisfaction, the meaning is the most important thing,” said Toccas.