In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • An Interview with Nicolasa Cartajena Milano and Norma Vargas Cartajena*
  • Marcus D. Jones and Mónica Carrillo
Jones:

Were you born here?

Cartajena Milano:

Yes.

Carrillo:

How old are you, ma'am?

Cartajena Milano:

Eighty-eight.

Carrillo:

Can you maybe tell us a bit as far back as your childhood?

Cartajena Milano:

I was born here. I grew up, my parents lived here, and at the age of sixteen I went to Lima. I worked there until I returned here at age nineteen. I worked here for a few months. I didn't like it.

Carrillo:

At the San Jose hacienda?

Cartajena Milano:

At the San Regis hacienda, which is now the co-op, I worked a few months. I didn't like it and I didn't continue to work. I stayed at home with my dad, my mom, and my brothers and sisters. From there, I got married at twenty-two years of age. I had twelve children. We continued to live in this house until my husband got sick. I was in bad shape for about seven years. He died and I was left with my children and my grandchildren. The one who lives on the side is my daughter. The one who lives across the street is my son.

Carrillo:

Who did you work for when you were young?

Cartajena Milano:

With French people in Lima and then with the Cilloniz family.

Carrillo:

Where did your mom and grandmother work? [End Page 397]

Cartajena Milano:

My dad's mom didn't work anymore when I knew her. I didn't get to meet my mom's mom. She had already passed away.

Carrillo:

Are there some stories they may have told you about how the work system was?

Cartajena Milano:

Yes. People worked earning $.42 a day [exchange rate in April 2010]. Now what they earn is $4.19 or $5.59 daily. But there's no work.

Carrillo:

Before, there was more work? In what?

Cartajena Milano:

There was more work. Now it's a co-op. Before, there was the hacienda with owners, like the Cillonizes. They had a good number of people who worked. The co-op has parceled out the land. Each person has his land, four or six hectares. They work it themselves, with their families. Sometimes there's work; sometimes there isn't.

Jones:

If there's no work, what do men do?

Cartajena Milano:

Many have gone to places abroad. For instance last week, I found out that many people had left to go work.

Jones:

To what country?

Cartajena Milano:

Well, Italy, where I have a daughter.

Carrillo:

What was the work structure like when you worked for the Cillonizes?

Cartajena Milano:

Very exploited. For instance I earned $8.75 a month.

Carrillo:

About how much would that be now?

Cartajena Milano:

It must be about $17.47.

Carrillo:

What part of the hacienda did you work at?

Cartajena Milano:

In cleaning. I was the nanny of a twelve-year-old child. I cleaned his room. Because he was the youngest one and was very spoiled, I had to bathe him, give him his breakfast, be with him teaching him things. Anyway, the job was tough and very low paying. With the French family where I worked, my mom had also been a little girl's wet nurse. They didn't want me to work. They said I should do the housework at my house and the lady of the house would send me clothes. I missed my brothers and sisters a lot, and I couldn't be there. [End Page 398]

Carrillo:

What were the owners of the San Regis hacienda like?

Cartajena Milano:

They treated us with respect. But the nephews who lived at San Jose liked to hug the girls. One day, one of them tried to kiss a girl. She broke a bottle over his head. I didn't keep working there after that.

Carrillo:

Was that very common back then? Did it escalate to rapes?

Cartajena Milano:

Yes, they even had children with the Cillonizes.

Carrillo:

Did your brothers also work at the hacienda?

Cartajena Milano:

No, my brothers worked in the fields...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Pages
pp. 397-615
Launched on MUSE
2011-05-19
Open Access
No
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