December 18, 2006 is now an historical date for Tupe. On that day the graduation for the first Jaqaru Language Course was held. This course is the beginning of sustainable work that opens the door of hope for the survival of Jaqaru.
Eleven people from Tupe, mostly teachers, and twelve others, also mostly teachers, received their certificates. Yolanda Nieves Payano Iturrizaga, linguist and native speaker of Jaqaru, taught the class, as a teacher in the ISP Pedagógica de Catahuasi (Normal School). The Director of the Normal School Mag. Manuel Gil Hernández was present for the ceremony; Prof. Abelardo Ventocilla called by telephone in representation of the support of the Gobierno Regional de Lima Provincias. And Dr. MJ Hardman and Dr. Dimas Bautista Iturrizaga called at the end of the ceremony and congratulated all of the participants by telephone through a loudspeaker connected to the telephone and installed in a tree, so that all could hear.
It's hard to overestimate the importance of this event. Jaqaru is in very serious danger of extinction. For the first time in a very long time there is some hope of its continued existence. For decades Dr. Hardman and Dr. Bautista have sought the necessary means for the recognition of the language; just now, on December 18, their hopes became reality. With this act Dr. Hardman passes the torch to a linguist from Tupe as a realization of one of her dreams; in this way the work already done can serve the future together with works yet to be done by the young people now preparing themselves.
A little history: Beginning in the forties Dr. Bautista began searching for help to read and write his language, but without success. In the fifties he met Dr. Hardman and achieved his goal: once the phonological analysis was complete with the phonemes clearly identified, Dr. Bautista himself formulated the alphabetic representation of his language, and from that date it has been written and read. The basic description of the grammar was completed and in the sixties published in Holland. Fifteen years later it was finally published in Peru by IEP (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos). In the sixties we began the odyssey seeking bilingual education for Tupe. There were promises and pronouncements, but no official backing was ever forthcoming. Dr. Hardman taught informal courses for many years for the people in Tupe. And one Tupe professor, Lisandro Sanabria Casas, did successfully obtain backing one year for Dr. Hardman to teach the students of the 3rd and 4th grades to read and write Jaqaru. Meanwhile, We sponsored a scholarship for Prof. Nieves Payano Iturrizaga to study linguistics in Bolivia to become a linguist with specialization in Jaqaru. At that time linguistics was well developed because of the INEL (National Institute of Linguistic Studies), founded by Dr. Hardman and Dr. Elena Fortún. On finishing her studies, for more than a decade Prof. Nieves sought a position in Peru where she could work for the benefit of Jaqaru, but without success, even thought we tried through every possible governmental office and level. Now, because Prof. Elena Huaytalla Rosales, teacher at the Instituto Pedagógica de Catahuasi, took an interest in the formation of teachers for Tupe, and understood the necessary role of Jaqaru for that purpose, things have changed. She took the initiative to take the problem to the Gobierno Regional, and thus, with the sponsorship of the then Director Regional of Education Wilfredo Cornejo Ybargüen, brought about the course I taught in July of 2006. The current course has come about with the continuing support of the Regional Government under the leadership of the current Regional Director de Education, Yulimo Fulgencio Milla Salas. The position for Prof. Nieves became a reality in October of 2006.
It did actually happen! We are old and at times it has seemed impossible that we would live to see it, and meanwhile, with the terrorism that devastated Tupe and the influences of the recently completed road, we saw each year fewer of the young with fluency in their native Jaqaru. And often they knew little or nothing of the language and at times refused to use even the little they knew.
And now is a time of celebration. The teachers have again taken hold of their language. There was a message from Prof. Nieves just before the graduation saying that the teachers wanted to use Marka, the name they use for where they live when they talk in Jaqaru, instead of Tupe – a name obviously Spanishized from Txupi, and considered to be the Spanish translation of Marka.
It is hard to exaggerate the happiness we feel. The class is already a step toward sustainability. We couldn't be there in person, but the teachers managed to connect a loud speaker to the telephone and they hung it on a tree so that we could congratulate everyone at the end of the ceremony. And it was appropriate that we be there thus, as support, because the work now passes from us to the young people, who now have what is needed to continue with the work, building on our work of the last half century, so that Jaqaru may live. ¡Jaqars jakp"a!
Dr. MJ Hardman
Dr. Dimas Bautista Iturrizaga
Yolanda Nieves Payano Iturrizaga next to First JAQARU Language Course participants
Tupe, December 18, 2006