The Last IFSA Trip: El Carmen
Last weekend we went on our final IFSA trip of the semester, to the El Carmen district of Chincha, in Ica province. Chincha, and specifically El Carmen, has a rich Afro-Peruvian and indigenous history, and to this day El Carmen is a hub of Afro-Peruvian culture.
We stayed at Huaranjapo – a former hacienda (plantation) turned into a hotel/resort. It’s a beautiful place, but uncomfortably reminiscent of its past — it is still owned by a light-skinned woman and staffed by mixed, indigenous and Afro-Peruvian workers who do the cleaning and cooking.
We spent some time learning about the history and culture – a talk by Carlos, director of the Afro Peruvian NGO Cimarrones and the coordinator of the trip; a lesson in Afro-Peruvian musical instruments such as the cajón, lessons in zapateo (an Afro-Peruvian style of tap dancing) and festejo (another Afro-Peruvian dance), and a visit to a huaca (indigenous ruin) nearby.
We spent the rest of the time lounging by the pool or in hammocks, walking through the town, and enjoying the magnificent sunshine (a little too much – I’m still sunburned a week later) and each other’s company. It was a very relaxing weekend.