- An Interview with Carlos Enrique Rocha Vargas*
Where are you from?
From Guayabo, from the community of Guayabo in Chincha, Peru.
And were you born here?
I was born over in the city of Chincha.
What is your profession?
I'm a designer of anything having to do with architecture: houses, parks, interiors, and exteriors. I'm also a decorator.
And do you work only in this area or also in others?
I work throughout Peru.
Do you have your own company?
No, I work for other companies.
You're also the owner of a hotel here in Guayabo.
Yes, that's correct.
Can you tell us how you arrived at the idea of building a hotel here?
Guayabo needed accommodations for tourism. People who would come would arrive but had to leave because there was no place for them to stay. I saw the need that this city had. Because this city has a black tradition, tourism is always a draw [End Page 440] here. Because I'm of black ancestry, I had the intention of doing something that reflected the black race. That's why ninety percent of the decorations I have pertain to the black race by means of photographs of African countries—Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, etc. What I also aim to do is to demonstrate a bit not only that we are here, but that we have a lot of talent, I would say. That's why I do design. This hotel has the décor, the design of the one speaking, of the owner. I'm black. So then what I aim to do is demonstrate a little bit of my work, a bit of my creativity. Here you'll find unique things, what you would call originals. I create them myself. My end goal is black creativity.
What's the difference between the people of this area and those in other communities in the region?
I don't think we're very different. San Jose, San Regis, Guayabo and El Carmen are characterized by what they brought to the hacienda in San Jose. Guayabo still retains a lot of its natural elements. People are very healthy. They still maintain a lot of customs. You can leave your door open, and you're not afraid that a thief will take your things. I think that's a point of distinction. Other towns have lost some of that.
In terms of food, there is no difference. The food that's cooked in Guayabo is also cooked in San Jose, in San Regis, in El Carmen. But that pertains only to blacks. In terms of preserving the black race, Guayabo has maintained more of it than San Jose and San Regis. In the San Regis and San Jose areas, the black race is mixing a lot with Peru's indigenous people. That's more frequent.
Who came to these communities first, indigenous people or blacks?
I can tell you about Guayabo. It was an area of weeds, plants, etc. The blacks who first populated the area fled from the San Jose hacienda. They would hide in this thicket. The indigenous people came years later, and they come for work. Of every ten workers, one stays behind and makes a life here in Guayabo.
What do you want to see for your community in the future?
I smile, because I think of Guayabo as a city. When I say it's a city, I'm talking about it in social terms. Structurally, I don't want it to be so much so. I would prefer that things were slower, because speed sometimes leads to collisions. In terms of social progress, I would like for people to be better educated, that colleges have better professors, that there be postgraduate studies not currently available, that there be development and structure. I aspire to Guayabo one day having a university, that the culture be maintained, that there's a bigger return to tradition, to traditional dance that is...