Haydée Cerrón

Published on Monday, 7 August 2017

“One of us was attacked by invaders. They hit her and broke her head”

If it is so dangerous, why do you keep doing it? You get no payment, your work is ad honorem.

We are not paid. We do it because we really want to. We know that it is dangerous, but we keep doing it because we must protect the hills.

Why?

Because we love nature! Because we love the environment! It is our lung.

You committed entirely to this work when you lost your husband.

You can say so. It was a way out from all the pain and sadness. Sitting at home like a couch potato could lead to disease; doing these walks helps to stay healthy.

Yes, because you are 60 and you trek as if it was nothing.

That is why I invite all people to visit Lomas de Amancaes. Come and trek!

It is a beautiful place and only 15 minutes away from Government Palace!

It is very beautiful and has a wide diversity of flora and fauna. It is a unique but also fragile ecosystem, so we cannot allow it to disappear only because those who are about to run for the mayor's office want to win the votes of invaders. A great extent of the hills would be lost.

In summer, the area is arid; the rest of the year, it blooms. You have built stairs and a path to establish an ecotourism route.

The route was established by the administration of former mayor Susana Villarán, but we have stuck to the plan left to us.

Thanks to your work, you are in the ranking of the Latinoamérica Verde Awards.

Yes, and now we have to travel to Ecuador to present our project.

You do not have the money for that.

No, we have no money and no support. We hope to get some for the ticket and stay.

Otherwise you will miss the opportunity.

It’s a great opportunity! Because surely there will be many investors who will want to support Lomas de Amancaes.

A place that, despite its beauty and closeness, is not well-known.

It is not known. Lomas de Amancaes has left the anonymity thanks to the group that works here, thanks to our promotion.

In summer, when all becomes arid, you run out of work?

No. We are always climbing, because if we do not, people invade. It is in summer when invaders try to take more land, and when water is missing, so we take it up in bottles, in backpacks... We do it because we reforest taras, guarangos...

Once again: you do not have to do it.

That is what they say (laughs)... But we want to continue protecting this.

When you came to the neighbourhood with your family, you never thought you would end up doing this.

Never. When we arrived, my children were young and watched as the hills were turning green. They missed our green hometown, Huancayo, so we would constantly climb. It is nice to have a place to spend the day. It does not matter if the day is rainy or foggy, we like it! If you touch your head now, you will feel your hair wet with moisture… That is how it is here.

“Loma de Amancaes has left the anonymity thanks to the group that works here, thanks to our promotion”

Students are your allies in preventing invaders from taking more land of Lomas de Amancaes.

Children are like a sponge that absorbs everything, so we are also holding recycling workshops with paper, cardboard, plastic. The goal is that they observe, evaluate the situation and understand why we are doing this.

If you put so much effort into this, how do you make your living? I understand that some women have had problems at home for coming and protecting the hills.

I live on my pension. My friend Juana works from Monday to Friday and comes here on the weekends; so does my daughter. Trinidad is a housewife. That is how we do it. We do not receive support from any entity.

It is a sacrifice.

It is. At first it was hard; family does not get it: "Why keep climbing that hill?! You'll fall and break the bones". The other day I heard my son say I should take a sleeping pill because that way I would be more at home (laughs)...

What do you answer to that?

That I fulfil my duties at home: "There’s your food and your clean clothes. Everything’s ready. Bye!"