Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the Rural Libraries Network of Cajamarca. The network will celebrate with the ceremony All’pata paguikun (Offering to the Earth), and they are inviting their friends across the world to take part.

When: March 31 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (10:00 a.m. in Peru)

Where: Zoom

Rural Libraries invites you to make your own offering, in whatever part of the world you live in, “to the earth, to our deceased, and our sacred mountains.” They explain:

“The All’pata paguikun is a very ancient ceremony to render our affection to the earth, to the apus or sacred mountains and to our deceased. And it comes from always, when there were no churches or doctrines here. So your Celebration does not mean renouncing the creed that each person has but, on the contrary, it enriches it. It is foolish to qualify this ceremony as idolatry. And furthermore, as an elder named Gandhi said, ‘By practicing tolerance for other beliefs, we acquire a more real understanding of our own.’”

ceremony showing candles, coca leaves and a notebook on a woven cloth

Learn more about All’pata paguikun here (English) or here (Spanish).

Founded in 1971 by Father John Medcalf, today the Rural Libraries Network comprises a web of more than 500 tiny libraries housed in the homes of dedicated volunteer librarians throughout the mountains surrounding Cajamarca and neighbouring provinces in northern Peru. Librarians both house the reading materials and take leadership in establishing reading circles for young and old to promote literacy, education and pride in the Indigenous campesino culture. More than 50,000 rural readers have enjoyed the books Rural Libraries has published.

A group of rural Peruvian stand behind Father John Medcalf
Father John Medcalf and early rural librarians.

Heart-Links has partnered with the network since our own founding 26 years ago. In 2006, our donors funded publication of the first Enciclopedia Campesina, and we are currently funding a new revised edition. The Enciclopedia Campesina is a collection of 20 volumes that gathers stories and knowledge from across the region of Cajamarca. It is the cornerstone of the Rural Library Network’s literacy program. The revised edition will add stories and knowledge from communities who have joined the Network in the intervening years.

nada nos separa si la tierra nos junta
nothing can separate us if the earth unites us