If we travel through places that in ancient times were inhabited by original peoples, our attention may have been drawn to stone walls that run through miles of fields and hills, with no cement or mixture keeping them bonded, but that in spite of this, remain firm after having been built centuries in the past.
This kind of wall is known as a “pirca” and comes from the word “perqa”, which in the Quechua language means “wall.” Notably, when the construction is lower and less stable, only serving as a delimiter of spaces or for controlling stock, it’s called “cancha” (field).
In the Brotherhood Light-Community, affiliated with theFraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), in Cordoba, Argentina, the stones are abundant and through the area can be seen “fields” built by the native peoples in antiquity.
Evaristo Pfuturi Consa, descendent of the Peruvian Inca people and currently a permanent member of the Light-Community, tells us the history of these kinds of construction, and why the impulse emerged to apply them in some of the spaces of the Light-Community.
From childhood, the natives of Peru are taught to make “fields” for the cattle or small “perqas” to protect themselves from the wind or rain, which makes building them something very natural and part of their culture. The technique is learned through practice. Evaristo says that originally, the natives built the “perqas” for two main reasons: for cultivation terraces and to protect the roads, for which reason, it’s common in Cuzco to see firm roads that where built more than 500 years ago, demonstrating that this laborious but simple technique has lasting results.
In Peru, the shape of the stones used to build these walls are different to those existing in the area of the hills of Cordoba, which made it more difficult to do the work, with more rounded stones. However, things moved forward with the resources offered by the surrounding areas, including knowing this would bring several benefits such as the retention of water, in the case of the crops, and protection, in the case of the roads.
The first reason for beginning to make pircas in the Light-Community was the need for tidying up the spaces in the vegetable garden of the area called “Brotherhood 1.” On clearing a space for making a medicinal herb garden, many stones were uncovered, so with them, three terraces began to be built, where in the future, native medicinal species will be planted.
After this initiative, small pircas began to be built for bringing harmony to other spaces and roads of the area. The biggest impulse occurred on a slope where the vegetable garden was, and where a small space called “Aguaribay Woods” was created. Evaristo tells us that in the beginning, he was asked to make something small, but that he perceived he should make a greater effort on something bigger that would be lasting, so he set out to do a much expanded task. Halfway through the work, the Community perceived that undoubtedly, the work should continue on that scale, since the space was visibly changing, bringing beauty and harmony, inviting people to spend more time in the place.
“The experience was interesting because we knew this work was very arduous; it’s not work that just anyone can do. In reality, it’s not about a task that requires strength, although it appears to be just that. This work helped me because one had to apply more heart,” shares Evaristo.
In the end, through this experience that began as a simple offering, ancestral and ancient techniques were recovered. We perceived that through effort, beautiful, harmonious things can be created, which can be perpetuated over time by using only what the surroundings offer us; in this case, stones from the mineral kingdom, without using artificial products.
The aspiration is to continue applying this technique in many more spaces, in thanks for having perceived and shared great lessons in simple things.