Our cultural project revolves around the ancestral tradition of the “caballito de totora” (reed watercraft), which is distinctive of Huanchaco (peru). The caballito de totora has been crafted and used by local fishermen of Huanchaco for more than 3000 years and is believed to be the ancestor of modern surfing. This tradition has been recognized as a Cultural Heritage of Peru but the little interest and involvement of the youth towards the caballito de totora may compromise its perpetuation. This is critical as the local livelihood is extremely dependent on this tradition, which is the root of tourism in this area and a major element of the local cultural identity.
preserving the local cultural identity
In order to address the risks related to the lack of engagement of the younger generations towards the “caballito de totora” tradition, our goal is to spike the local youth’s interest and to give them the possibility to learn about, know, and preserve the cultural heritage of the caballito de totora. how? An important mean of doing so, is by linking this thousand-year old tradition to its modern (and much more popular) counterpart: surfing. Therefore, we run workshops where we craft “caballitos de totora” especially modified for surfing. the kids try their hands at building these artesanal rafts, before testing their skills and balance trying to surf the modified reed watercrafts.
We plan to run more workshops to craft “caballitos de totora” and to make these accessible to any- and everyone in order to share the history and importance of this Peruvian cultural heritage, hence promoting the subsistence of the local cultural identity.