(Project Participants: Christine Robinson and Sarah Miller)
Work in the city with the Center for Human Rights and nearby “shanty town” La Victoria, performing the following research:
- Conducting surveys of Chilean perception of the Mapuche
- Researching legal cases related to human rights
- Create photo or video documentation of communication techniques
(Anita Joshi, Jillian Wagman)
Human Rights and Chile’s Legal System
(Chui Archuleta, Jessica Beaird, Unnju Lee)
Gender and Development
(Alex Lesko, Steve Karamitros, Essra Mostafavi)
Human Rights, Environment, Contamination
(Joanie Baczewski, Jen Sanders, and Jessica Roach)
details written by Otto Hansen, 2009 J Term Participant
The Community Runs a profitable ‘ferria’ about 7km outside of Pucon, a tourist hub in southern Chile. The ferria consists of a dozen or so individual micro-businesses whose store fronts all center around a plaza-style setting. The ferria attracts tourists from the Pucon area and offers a variety of cultural and educational experiences to teach people about the Mapuche. They perform traditional song and dance throughout the day on site, have a traditional Mapuche house set up for visitors to vist, and sell a variety of foods and arts and crafts. Each individual store is individually operated, but dues are paid to the Lonco and a few others who oversee the limited administrative facilities for the entire ferria. The ferria currently operates from the end of December to the beginning of March and the money earned during this time is used to support the community through the entire year. On the day of my visit, there were approximately 25 visitors, both foreign and Chilean.
I introduced myself to the Lonco and told him about the project we had just finished (J-term 2009). I mentioned that I was a business student and that, given our interest and knowledge of the Mapuche people, there may be interest in a business development project during January of 2010. We discussed some details of the ferria, including current issues and problems with the general business model over mate. We talked about the sustainability/longevity of the ferria and discussed current issues with marketing and profitability. The Lonco’s knowledge and understanding of business basics was primitive and it was mutually agreed that having a small group of business students on site for 1-2 weeks would be extremely beneficial to the community. The scope of the project would include a thorough examination and assessment of current operations, emphasizing financial stability and marketing strategies, and offer recommendations on how to improve in these two areas. The Lonco seemed excited about the prospect and encouraged me to explore the opportunity and get back to him with any ideas.
The Lonco mentioned that homestay arrangements were possible for any interested students. The alternative is to stay in the town of Pucon, where many hostels and motels are available at reasonable nightly rates, and walk, bus or bike (bike rentals are cheap in Pucon and week-long rentals offer discounts) into the ferria to work during the day. Pucon is easily accessible by bus or plane from most major transit hubs in Chile.