When looking up at the shanty towns, we can see a range of communities: some are developed, some are still building, and some are abandoned. As these human settlements are spread across various districts, it is hard to imagine that this area was once desolate, with no life. The greatest mystery to outsiders is how communities have been able to build roads, houses, stairways, etc. on the steep, rocky terrains of the mountains.

This mystery was unveiled to us in the past month, as the Reciprocity team and our volunteers have been working together with two communities (Pircas del Mirador & Bello Horizonte) to level the ground to build and expand a wawawasi (daycare center) and school, respectively.

Using techniques and traditions passed down from generation to generation, these community members are able to make something from nothing. It is an amazing, complex process that will be summarized:

- Huge boulders from the mountains are burned so that they can be broken down into smaller pieces.
- These smaller pieces are then aligned carefully to create a contention wall that will help prevent erosion and landslides.
- More rocks are added to the area to build a strong foundation.
-The platform is eventually covered with dirt and sand to fill in the holes.


Being a part of the initial steps of creating a livable space opens our eyes to so many possibilities. Using tools we've never even heard of allows us to broaden our horizons. It is during these experiences when Reciprocity realizes that we learn so much more from the communities than they do from us.

Meygan Ngo
Communications &
Project Coordinator
Reciprocity NGO 🌈


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