Puerto Maldonado
"So we are in Madre de Dios — Mother of God — and its capital is Puerto Maldonado, which means "given badly." The Mother of God is given badly. What does that mean?.."
Don Marco
66, from Lambayeque

Don Marco:
"I began as a goldsmith when I was 17, and when I was 20, I was already working on my own. At the beginning I would clean the workshop, there was no goldsmith school yet at that time. So we started as cleaners in the workshops. And then we advanced step by step. It was in Chiclayo, good old Chiclayo. Then I worked in Lima, but there is a lot of competition there. You need to have a lot of money to make it there. So I decided to return to Puerto Maldonado, where I feel relaxed and there isn't much trouble… By the way, this is volcanic stone from Arequipa — you can't burn it."
In his goldsmith work Don Marco uses bowls and plates of volcanic stone which cannot be burnt
Don Marco:
"The most popular jewellery items in Puerto Maldonado are wedding rings. People get married quite often here. There are no machines here, the machines are in our heads."
Don Marco is making a golden ring with a precious stone
Puerto Maldonado: here the gold is being processed for reselling or lands at goldsmiths' hands
Don Lauro:
"So we are in Madre de Dios — Mother of God — and its capital is Puerto Maldonado, which means "given badly." The Mother of God is given badly. What does that mean? God is eternal, right? And there are some things from God that are given badly. This is the case with Madre de Dios."
Mannequins in a shop, Puerto Maldonado
Grave decoration at Puerto Maldonado cemetery
Prayer to our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Supplications in difficult times
In my thousands of difficulties:
help me.
From the enemies of my soul:
save me.
In my errors:
illumine me.
In my doubts and hardships:
comfort me.
In my sicknesses:
strengthen me.
When I am rejected:
encourage me.
In my temptations:
defend me.
In the most difficult hours:
console me.
With you maternal heart:
love me.
With your great power:
protect me.
And when I expire:
in your arms, receive me.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us.
They divided the universe into three worlds: the sky they called Janan Pacha, which means the high world — there, they said, went the good people, praised for their virtue. They called our world of birth and death Jurin Pacha, which means the low world. They called the centre of the Earth Uku Pacha, which means the low world below: there, they said, the bad people had to stay. They had a stronger name for it, Supaipa Vasin, which means the house of the devil. They did not understand that the other life is spiritual, and not material like this one. They said that peace in the high world meant living a quiet life, free of the work and grief that exist here. And contrary to this world, the life of the low world below, which we call hell, was full of illness and suffering, worries and work — people there were tormented without rest or any satisfaction. So they divided this other life into two parts: all its joy, pleasure and peace they gave to those who were good, and the suffering and work to those who were bad.

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
(1539 - 1616)
Comentarios Reales de los Incas

"Mother of God, pray for us sinners. Mother of God, pray for us sinners. Now and at the hour of our death; now and at the hour of our death. Amen." Madre de Dios – Mother of God – is the name of this suyo, this territory; Puerto Maldonado is the name of its navel, its capital. Here, profits arrive, from here they depart. From the very womb. Mother of God, bless us. May your gifts be yours. May the man not name you. Puerto Maldonado - "given badly". Rarely can a name so clearly reveal the reality.
Julio del Valle, Professor at the PUCP, Peru
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