White flags in Valle del Sol
Women’s solidarity fills the pots against the hunger pandemic in the hills of Lima.
Sunk between the northern hills of the city of Lima, between the districts of Puente Piedra and Ventanilla, is the human settlement of Valle del Sol. As in all the hills that make up the margin of the Peruvian capital, Valle del Sol is known as ‘invasion’, eight families from different provinces of Peru arrived in 2008 and built their houses on a land that, following the logic of Lima’s hills, ultimately belongs to whoever lives there. Those eight first clans were followed by many others, and there are currently 280 families there who have seen in Valle del Sol the possibility of raising a modest house and building a prosperous life as close as possible to the metropolis in a country as centralized as Peru. But life is hard in a neighbourhood so young that it hardly has power lines as its only service.
The State of Emergency decreed by the Peruvian State in mid-March in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the scarcity of the hills. The majority of residents of Valle del Sol, like most Peruvians, have informal jobs that provide daily income and have been unable to work for more than three months due to quarantine restrictions. The Government announced $100 vouchers and aid for the most vulnerable, but in Valle del Sol all families are, and not even half of them have received the promised help. That’s why after more than a hundred days of quarantine the only thing that keeps the plates full is the solidary work of the women of the hill, they are the ones sustaining life in difficult times organizing common pots and strengthening relations between the neighbours so no family is left behind.
The problems that these women face go from cold and hunger to raising the children, the abandonment of their partners and State neglect. Some are waiting for the quarantine to end to return to their province, others have made the hill their home and are trying to get on with their lives and the their loved one’s.