Commentary, Customs

Values of Quechua in Cuzco

Three Key Values in Cuzco

The traditional language of the City of Cuzco was Quechua. With the arrival of the Spanish everything changed. Now, thanks to the fact that they conquered us, the majority of the people of our city speak Castillian Spanish.

In the towns and countryside people still maintain the Quechua language. All the rural people, campesinos, speak this language and manage to communicate in it with others in their surroundings. They say that in every place Quechua is different.

It is a difficult language, and a hard one to pronounce. You have to speak with force to be able to say all the words. Only the people who were born in the towns and communities and those who studied hard can decipher this language and pronounce it as it should be.

Many might ask why the people of the City of Cuzco do not speak the Quechua language is it is their traditional tongue. We do not speak Quechua because our parents and family members did not teach it to us from the time we were little children. Everything was Spanish. For that reason many of us Cusqueños could not learn to express ourselves in our own language.

Our Inca ancestors left us three principles that are very important for everyone in Peru to live by. These three are very important for living a good life. The first is Ama Sua, the second Ama Llulla, and the third Ama Khella. These words in the Quechua language have deep meaning and are phrases that our ancestors, with great wisdom, gave us.

Ama Sua means do not be a thief. All that we wish for in life can become reality, but with honesty and sacrifice. We must be honest in order to obtain what we desire. This phrase in Quechua sends us a message: we do not have to commit bad deed in order to progress in life.

Ama Llulla means do not lie. Lying is an “anti-value” that is far to frequent among people. We lie so easily often bringing about a loss of prestige among friends and family members who thought that we were an example to follow. To tell the truth is harder but it gives us freedom. The most important thing is that even without seeking it we will have respect and prestige, jsut for being sincere. We will reach excellence without any doubt.

Ama Khella means do not be lazy. It is a very important command and difficult to follow for many people. Many times we do not fulfill our promises in work, study, or to our family members from laziness. We should teach our children the love for work. They should know this is key to success in life. If we manage to avoid laziness life will always look at us kindly.

You will see these phrases written all over the city so that people can read them and reflect on the meaning of what our ancestors left us, even if we are losing their language.

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