New Internationalist

Nancy Chappell

Issue 335

During the carnivals in Soccos, a small town in the Peruvian Andes, women cook together for all the town – they boil potatoes and chickens – while men decorate the square and have some beer.

Late at night, I could hear the campesinos still dancing and singing on the narrow and dark streets of Soccos. And I couldn’t help thinking of that terrible night almost 12 years ago when the military entered Soccos and massacred over 80 people because the campesinos didn’t let them join a wedding party.

I always wanted to be a writer. I felt this was my calling in life until I began writing for a newspaper and had to cover a story about a flood that killed almost 100 people. I remember that I stayed for hours in front of my computer thinking about the images I saw, but feeling unable to express them in words. I quit my job to be an intern photographer at the same journal where I worked as a writer. It didn’t take me much time to realize that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Nancy Chappell

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