Customs

Neighborhood Associations Call People to Work in Faena on Sundays

Working together in a Faena

In the city of Cusco we carry out extraordinary gatherings of people who belong to a single group, the homeowners associations. These groups form from people who settle and build a neighborhood. They dedicate their different skills and organize many activities to improve the society where they live.

In order to carry out these activities people hold meetings to set dates for them. The activities are generally carried out on Sundays. This is a day of rest and people have time for activities such as those of their neighborhood association.

These activities take the name of a faena. They are also called ayni, a name for activities our ancestors gave to mutual help to gain some end. A clear example comes from agriculture where many people were needed at certain times of the year, such as in planting or harvesting. Those who lived nearby were invited to come and help.

The faena is also a kind of help given by the associates to one another to help their neighborhood grow. There are rules and people who do not come to a work party must pay a fine or suffer some sort of punishment. To prove you went to the faena you will have a sort of card where every time you go you get a stamp or the signature of the person in charge.

The homeowners associations that organize neighborhoods often have more than 100 members. They carry out their faenas, or work parties, to grow as an association and to carry out projects for mutual betterment. A clear example comes from the new associations where the neighborhood may lack water or light. People carry out manual labor with tools such as pickaxes, shovels, wheelbarrows, etc. in order to do the work efficiently.

As a result, every Sunday in many parts of the city people are working in faena to improve the place where they live.

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