New Internationalist

Nancy Chappell

June 2001

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

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 335 This column was published in the June 2001 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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