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The orphanage is an isolated site of state support, directed only toward

children of a certain age (and by extension, toward their social networks).
Ayacuchanos, forced during wartime to accept the orphanage as a benefi-
cial and philanthropic establishment, recognized the risks of incorporating
orphanages into their postwar survival strategies.
One ofthe risks oftemporarily using the orphanage is that it is one-way
rather than an exchange. The use of state or philanthropic facilities does nOI
provide a site for the child or her parents to reciprocate these immense gifts
of food, shelter, care, and education. To use the orphanage is, in this sense, COMPANIONSHIP ANO CUSTOM:
amoral. Where Andean morality is rooted in reciprocity, in the give-and THE MECHANICS OF CHILD CIRCULATION
take of exchanges and connections and deeply embedded relations (scc
Alberti and Mayer I974), an orphanage only gives. This is a serious so
cialloss, although it is not always worded as such. The neglect of reciproc
ity that use of the orphanage entails is not at all at issue in the "extra
institutional" forms of child care and exchange to which I now turno
When Ifirst met teenaged Reyna, in my second month of field-
work in Peru, I thought she was Cristina's maid. As I reread my
field notes I can see myself wondering who she is. The notes
dl'scribe her as "acting like a muchacha, answering the phone and the door
IIld running to buy stuff, but also a loved one, who sits around with the
II IUp when she's not doing errands-is she related? what is her position?
",livre does she live?"
Slowly as I continued to visit the extended family, I observed more of
Jll'yn:J"s life. She laboriously hand-washes the household's laundry, includ-
iill\ hcr own school uniform, and she stays home when others leave so the
IIIursc isn't unattended and the pets are cared for. She knows where the key
1I 111:11 unlocks the telephone's wooden cover, preventing its costly un-
illllliorized use for dialing out. When Iasked Cristina's niece Olivia ifReyna
I~Ilcr cousin, she answered, "Yes ... no. Not by blood, but by treatment.
tJ, 11 hy I~Sl name, either." And Olivia's brother called Reyna 'Aunt Cris-
IlIlil'N, , . well, like her granddaughter. But she is a relative, because Reyna's
IltllC'l'ls Aunt Cristina's godson."!
WIi liin Ihc conicxt of Peru's complicated raciallandscape, described in
Illi~ lnt n xlurt iou. Rcynn bcars nlJl1y of lhe markers upon which urban
iilhll ',118 wonkl druw 10 defil1v lu-r :lS illdigt'110LlS.Shc is a prctry young
"DI! 1,111WhllSI' SP,lIlISIt IS 11I1)',nl wit h ,I Sll'lIllg <,hwCltll:l :1('('\'111. I le-r parcntx

l'Iycrs of supportive reciprocity that had built up for years to form a strong
and five siblings live in a small town two hours from Ayacucho, where her
ul.uionship, would be reluctant to say no.
mother keeps house and raises three young children (Revna's rwo older
Se Reyna moved into the house of the woman she now addresses as
siblings are married and travel around the province to work) and her father,
Ma," in a dusty hillside neighborhood of Ayacucho. (Although the neigh-
Carlos, finds work where he can, including laboring on the construction of
lurrhood is a poor and marginal one, Cristina's house is brick and concrete
a new natural gas pipeline.
111eontrast to some of its adobe neighbors, and it boasts electricity and
Reyna's father, Carlos, is Cristina's godson. By the logic of compadrazgo
nlllllingwater.) This action was not a completely selfless one in any sense-
described in the introduction, then, Cristina and Carlos were kin. Over thc
I /H'rond and equally important reason for Reyna's move was so that she
years, their relationship had grown and strengthened: she had taken him in
, '11lill take up studies in a high school in Cristina's neighborhood, which
when he moved to town to study as a youth and housed his sons years lan-i
when they wanted to study in the city, and she provided a city "horne" r(ll rld provide her an education far superior to any attainable in her small
, 111
IIIWII,Ar the time, she remembers, her father told her, "Yes, it's good that
his family whenever they needed it, in return for their help in variou-
,11II" LIdy, that you accompany Cristina." Years Jater, her father told me that
labors. To Reyna, Cristina-her father's godmother-was like a grand
I!11 i wo reasons Reyna carne to Ayacucho were "to become educated and
mother, a city-dwelling, reasonably bilingual woman with several growlI
li. urompany" and asked me to encourage her to study hard and take
Cristina, a widow in her mid-sixties, had been living in Ayacucho 1111 i 1 ,11liage of her situation. That is, Reyna is stated to be where she is in
1,11'1'to "accompany" a kinswoman who is in a position to help her be-
probably thirty years; before migrating to the city; she had lived in her sm.tll
town, which today is only an hour from Ayacucho thanks to paved m.111 '1111'cducated, both in school and in city life.
I"'yna 's experience gives a sense of what child circulation means to
and fairly regular bus service. She wears braids, a felt hat, and a heavy polln ,I
". li lill kinship. Her relocation from her parents' home to Cristina's repre-
skirt-ethnic markers which inform strangers in the city ofher indigcnvn ~
What's more, she speaks Quechua more often than Spanish, and sh wlll 1111IHllh companionship for someone perceived as related and the op-

chew coca on occasion. She also participates in the urban economy, ()WII~I " 1111111
Y 10 make something of herself, an opportunity which her par-

telephone, and speaks proudly ofher six adult children - four of whon I 11." " I uuccivc of as an investment. This chapter takes up the question of

migrated to Europe. "Shame comes from leaving elderly parents Witlllllll 1lIlliiltl0l1ship-the social relations forged and strengthened through child

young people to help around the house and to bringjoy to t" (Weisiu.ruu I Id,1111
111, rclatons that are impossible in the orphanage setting.

1988: 170), so, as befits responsible Andean grown children, her own I1111
dren sought ways roremedy her solitude. First, a grandson acconl11.llllql ACOMPANAR: THE MORALlTY OF
her while his parents worked to carve out their new life in Eurupr 1\111 ACCOMPANIMENT
when he turned seven and began telling his parents that Cristinu w,,~ lii
real mother, they carne and collected him in order to nip this in til! \'1 "/'011111/, "10 accompany;" is how Ayacuchanos describe what happens

(Leinaweaver n.d.). This left Cristina unaccompanied once more , " ~III' " .l yl 11111
g pcrson goes to live with an older one, in a role somewhere
'!]lIlldld of ihc farnily and household employee. Although the youn-
tion that her children felt was untenable.
Cristina's sons took steps to see that she would not be alonv 1111I,'li lli',11I11Ilily h:lvl.! nlany rcasons of her own to relocate, the word

asking Reyna to accompany their mother. As Cristin: 1.<,;(;11;1)..',('

11111', '1\11I',IIIy"I'llIphasij',!,s wh.u xhc is doing for the older person: warding
illI'III'I~h ('1l1'('sidcl1c(' nnd companionship. Acompaiiano (ac-
called, Reyna carne to .Ayacucho thrcc ycars ago "wcll, bl'C:III~I' iuv JII
was alonc." BCCilLlse0[' ihc rulcs (lI' A1ltk:1I1 )..',llllp:\lTllling, Itl'yll.1 \\:'1
'1"1\1\IlIr,l ruvulvr-s 1111'1I1l'.Il1illgi'ulsh:ll'il1g of social and physical spa

1'(':lS()Il:lhk 1:11)',1'1
()I' IlIi~ I'nl"I'SI 111'1'1'.11111'1',
111(:1iSIlIl,11[11 '111111.

While I usually heard about acompaiiando in the context of child circula- ihort a third pregnancy. (The doctor sent her to a specialist in Lima, where
tion, there was one exception that is worth mentioning, because it explains Iiv had a precipitous C-section, and the baby-now a much-adored toddler
some basic truths about accompaniment. After hearing my fiercely indc spent two months in an incubator.) Even the smallest children are also val-
pendent comadre's life story-how her husband had struggled to convnce IlI'd as economic beings, contributing members ofthe household, whether
her to marry him - I asked her if getting married had been the right thing to ihrough unpaid labor that offsets the need of adults to remain at home
do. She replied that it absolutely was, because it is imperative to have a child qil1ing to the store, washing clothes, carrying heavy loads, watching youn-
to accompany you, and "people with no children suffer so much more." 1\1'1'
siblings) or through paid labor as a maid (muchacha, literally "girl") or a
She told me she had once advised a male friend, "Get married or not Idlmui.or, the child who takes fares and calls out the route on the buses.
that's up to you-but definitely have a child, whether or not you are
married, because you can live with that child, married or not" (empha
sis mine)."
The companionship she describes is mutually constituted, a physical anil Ilds desire for children-as beings to love and bring up, who are expected
social contiguity between parents and children." Through this contigu iIY 1IIrollaborate with family economic and social efforts-coexists with other
and accompaniment, parents support their children, and children alleviau: I Illds of relationships to childbearing and fertility. In particular, the Peru-
the suffering and loneliness of their parents. This key characteristic I1I 1111state's own vexed relationship to fertility deserves some comment.
kinship usually goes uncommented, because it is self-evident, taken III( IlIfirinl policies on family planning and an ideology of population con-
granted. Only when adults have not yet reproduced children-or childn-u I" li hnve effectively linked lower fertility to modernity;" A seemingly un-
and parents have been separated through migration or strategies of beuc, I, uipcred desire for children thus takes on specific moral connotations:
ment-does companionship come to the fore in people's conversations :11111 "\ rrnrnent-sponsored billboards around Ayacucho announce that "farnily
recollections. Companionship, or accompaniment in a more literal translu I" 1IIIIinghelps us to live berter" (see figure 3) and a set ofuniversity prepa-
tion, is thus characteristic of the deeply interdependent parent-child n-l, I 111111\
course notes I reviewed define family planning as "a basic human
tionship. Its invocation as one of the keybases of child circulation sugg('~1 "1'111ronsisting in that the couple reproduces in a rationalform" (emphasis
that it, too, makes kinship. "ldl,tI)." In fact, in 2000, about 50 percent of Peruvians used "medem"
"People with no children suffer so much more," said my comadre. '1'111 "IIII'ilceptive methods (INEI 2004), and many of the young people I spoke
suffering that she refers to may be partly economic in nature-the prohlr-rn 101.u.l.uuantly stated that they would complete their studies before having
of having to do all the household upkeep oneself-but what I think ,~III hlh lr(-n.
really means is unbearable loneliness. The aloneness of the wakcha ()I' 1111 11I('se two sometimes disconnected relationships to children-the desire
orphaned adult who feels sapalla hovers beneath the surface of this dl'~1I1 111II.lVi'children and the imperative to have only those that one can afford-
for cornpanonshp.' Being accompanied is a basic need which is 011 Iy :11'111
11 111'I ,U i cornplexly in the scenes that follow. Because Peru's government
lated when it is lacking. Accompanying another person is equivak-ru 11' ,I, 1I'111111
in any way, shape, or form the protection of and attention
caring for them, and the fact that children are so often called upon \O dI I 1111 I , , Itlldn'n" (l.udcfia Gonzalez 2000: 76), impoverished couples who re-
for adults turns the typical North American focus on child care 011 ils 111',111 i !I,1111
I' "irrutionally" havc fcw sources of support when it comes ta raising
Among the urban migrants I worked with in Peru, I clcarly saw :I SI 11111 '''111/IIIII~childrcn. In Ihis conicxt, child circulation becomes potentially a
ethic oflove and value for childrcn. Onc young WOIII:111
i old me xht: WoIlIll.'l1 1""1"(' 10 popul.u iou ('0111rol poliry: a lal'gc nurnbcr of children can be
"as many kids as carne," and I had :111.lrl\lI.rilll.lI H" wll(J hucl slIll('I'I'" I Wii 111'1I'Ii 11111li) k in wlt h i-wrr cliildn'!l, disuibut inj; boih lhe burdcn of
dangcrous l11isc:ll'l'i.lg(Shut l'('i,.II.1 1"'1 di 111111
!I 11"11111111"1111.111'>11111,11
.,Ii. 1"" 1111111',1,_"
,,1111('11'(Ol1lp.l!ly. 1\1 11ll' S:\llll' t im,

given the generally strong desire for and valuing of children, child circul.i 1'1'1' aunt and uncle, and the only boy works with another uncle in the
tion is also a potential tactic for satisfying this desire for (more) children' IlIllgle region.
more affordable than medical intervention," more recognizable and trust 'I'he practical reasons for Diana, the youngest daughter, to accompany a
worthy than legal adoption." 1II'Ighbor thus are many, but her mother still must justify letting her child
Companionship sounds idyllic-but the care entailed in this companion '11,II The twists and turns ofher justification suggest an underlying shame:
ship is perceived as flowing in only one direction. Reyna left Cristi 11:1
Once, I was so sick I lost consciousness; the senara helped me then, cured
house six months after I left Peru, and I was unable to track her dowu
me, 50 my Diana must have thought, "You know, Mom, she saved your life,
during a brief return visit in 2004. As Cristina told me, "Her father, 111'1
I hc senara isn't well, 1'11help her. 1'11be there just as a way of accompanying
mother, are other [than me]. It can't be prevented" (she used the woul
hcr, 1'11be there," she told me. "But Diana, when Iam at home, you have to
atajar, in the sense of interrupting Reyna's trajectory). Acompaiiar "just iSII'1
hc at home." "Yes, Mom." 50 she's just there. The senora also: "Let her just
the same as being with your own family;" I was told by young people anil
dccompany me, I'm lonely here by myself, I'm missing people, there's no
their parents alike. And perhaps I should have expected Reyna's evenut.rl
()I1C in my house," she told me."
departure, because during our interview Reyna articulated her loneliness II1
me in no uncertain terms. She missed her mother, her father, and her liuh Ii li/lipanar has a moral cost, for the family loosening its hold on a child, and
sister. "[ust me, by myself, I do everything ... they go, they return 1:111', I 'IH'cially for the mother ofthat child. There is a gendered morality of par-
sometimes I am alone and don't even want to eat either, I'm alone, I fecl ,111 I li!hood, a sense that maternal Iove should have some bearing on whether a
alone."!? The affection Cristina gave Reyna "just isn't the same" as 1111 , IlIld is sent away Diana's mother's justification is set against the backdrop
affection of her own mother. Her loneliness even extended to the Iwll "I 1I('wspapers filled with lurid tales of madres desnaturalizadas, "unnarural
chamber: rather than sleeping in the same room or even the same biu I 1111
11 hcrs" who abandon or abuse their children in a strike against the very

building as Cristina in the co-sleeping customary among indigenous pcoph 1111I1 rc of motherhood.
throughout the Andes, Reyna had her own separate adobe room wiih 01 I )1:lIla's mother deflects this tension skillfully by turning the critique
lock on the wooden door. The terrible irony here is that accompanyim; I u uund and suggesting that the real immorality here can be found in the
intended to obviate solitude, and yet the companion receives no par.rlh I I/fll/'ll'~ home:
emotional succor.
11 's as if the senara doesn't exist for her children ... it's said they don't even
Acompaiiar is produced out of two perceived failings in the work iru;
t.rlk to her. Sometimes they dose themselves in their rooms while they
of Andean kinship, as the mother of nine-year-old Diana could tcll yllll
wnich TV or sleep ... Because of this she drinks also, so when she's talking
Diana's family moved to Ayacucho after her father, the captain of a ro"d" 111
wli li Diana she's distracting herself and isn't thinking of drinking. Some-
town defense group, was threatened by Shining Path and droppcd 0111111
j/"H'S hcr daughters cook, each one going into her room and eating, not
sight, vanishing for several years. Diana's mother, terrified of what SI!it1111)"
1 V('1lrnpable of giving a plateful to their parents, and they just leave their
Path might do when they couldn't find her husband and unsurc of IHlWI"
IIIIII('Sourside of their rooms for their mother to co11ectand wash. 50 their
make ends meet, brought her children to the city to live with hcr SI~\II
uu u lnr: "My childrcn aren't for me, f Diana accornpanies me I won't mind
(Leinaweaver zooza). Diana's mother now works long days and nighl~ 1111
lecting the fare on an interprovincial bus and has strategically dispnsl"d 111I
children around the region: the eldcst daughtcr livcs in hcr mot hcrs IHIII'.I 11,'11' lu-n is :llloll1n
moral COSI of' companionship. Ir childrcn are barriers
to makc surc no onc robs it, lhe scrond d:lllghll'r n'sitl<-s plTl11:IIWlllly wlill II\IIIII~I111II('IiIH'SS,
i lu-n 11l'1I/1IJ!lIl1l/rsprings
li'ol1l :\11rt hirnl nbscncc orgrown

vnd Lupe's stepmother explained, "Lupe must have realized, because she
children. A person who effectively lacks children, whether it is a physicul
w.inted to live with her father."15
absence (Cristina explained that Reyna lives with her because her childrcn
This change was not an easy one for Lupe:
are not a mi lado, "at my side") or an irresponsible failure to comply with
filial duty (like the seiora's children, despite their physical contiguity), !'(.
Iking at my father's side meant a dosed house, dosed, dosed, and I didn't
quires proactive accompanying. ict accustomed to that environment ... 1 wanted to go back up to my
1 didn't get accustomed with my siblings either, they didn't under-
siand me. It's hard when you don't grow up with a person from childhood.
Well, 1don't know what you think about that, but it's like that for me ... 1
W~lSalways sad, missing, it wasn't the same, 1 don't know how to explain it
Lupe is an experienced companion whose mother died in childbirth. l lrt I,I you, 1 wasn't very accustomed to my father," and I didn't get accus-
father Wilmer was a construction worker who was unable to care for I" I I, imcd to my other mother. 1 liked to be up where my unde was even if it
due to the demands ofhis job. Wilmer brought his infant daughter 1.1'1" hoihcred them."
along with her toddler sister, Laura, to his parents' village home. A 11'
description oflife "at my father's side" places his house and him
years later he remarried and brought the girls to live in his small town wllli
111I1 par, equating shelter with sentimento She found it truly difficult to
him and his new wife, and soon with their three young children. Wl\lll
I 1 uscd to life with her father, suggesting that kinship in the Andes is
Wilmer's father died, Laura was returned to the countryside to accornp.m
I" 111'lvcdto be largely, even primarily, the product oflong-term cohabita-
her lonely grandmother, while Lupe, who had reached school age, wns ~IIII
11111With these cha11enges in mind, Lupe strategically planned her own
to live with Wilmer's brother and sster-in-law in Ayacucho. For li1\' lil
1IIti .u ion."18
year she missed her grandmother and the fields desperately; but 3rt,'1 til I1
1\llllln, a teacher, was godmother to Lupe's half-sister, When the two of
"more or less I got accustomed, and when I went to my field 1 dicln't II
very much any more, I left calmly."14 Lupe's tearful, emotional 111111
COIlIII"1 II!LI1Iwould visit the teacher, Lupe helped out in Blanca's house, "lttle by
lll I l'lirning her confidence" until one day Blanca said, "You can be with
to the fields and her grandmother waned as she grew accustorncd I11I 11
yl 11I can accompany me, help me; 1'11be here at home during vaca-
life. The front room ofher aunt and uncle's house was a small COI'l1\'1'11111
and the doors were always open to attend dients. Lupe liked thc rl'l'l,dlllil '.11 il~ " (Notice in this quote that Blanca emphasized her own presence in
IlilllllllNI' in contrast to a maid's lot ofworking and minding the house in
the open doors, being able to play with her friends outside whilc 1<\,"1,1111'
li IIII'III'I"S nbscnce.) As Lupe reca11s:
eye on the store.
Eventua11y Lupe's aunt grew tired ofher company and told lu-r liI" 11 I IIdll lu-r "Tcacher, tell my father that you want me to be with you." And
to leave. Lupe remembers thinking, "if I were to stay with my aUIlI, 11.111.' .J i I ,I", Iencher was going to give me like a tip, 1wouldn't go just for free, 1
they might have separated, or fought." She had grown accustomcd ! liv 11,111
I wont to say no to her, she was a good person, so I said, "Okay

with her aunt and unde and worried that it would bc dil1indl 111 11111"'1',1'11bc wiih you," and she told my father. But it was my decision,
accustomed to living with her father, but said, "I nave nowhcrr ,'Irll' 111i 111)1.11111'1'
rlidn': icll mc "Go, go be with her." It was my decision, but I had
Although she was resigned to the change, both hcr SLCpl1101
11('I 111101
I 11li' ,I IIly 1.11
i1('r'~ pcrmission, I couldn't just go 011 my own. It wasn't ajob;
half-brother phrased this as a realization on Lupc's pnrt (s,'" AI, \ 11111 I1li I1'11I,dlllolls(', I JUS! wuxhcd hcr cloihcs, cookcd like in my own house, it
1978). Her half-brothcr told me that l.upc "no l(lngn 1(:11(,ollllllll,tllll I1I I~ \I I Y I ,dlll .uu] 11(>1'111.11,
I II('V('I'1:lckl'd I()!'rood, WL';)11ate togcther like
as it W3SI hcr housc. Shc r(':t1i".l'd Ihis 1111lu-r IlWI1.SI\\' 111'1,\1111
111111 pl.d. ,111.1
WI'II' 11111
IIIf',c'tI"'I"IIII I"
it , muyh Ih,'y y,'llnl ,li h1'1',,111\11111'
ti,,:, ,,',1',1111
~11I:I ,III\(' 111IIV\'wlllo I

Here, Lupe describes her situation in terms that explicitly differentiated it would later receive. So the propina, which in this context corresponds to
from domestic service. The "tip," the eating together, and the chores that "dlow:ance" in English, represents a sum given to children within the
were just like those in her own house-these are all markers of a family-likc 1.11l1ilyenvironment, including by godparents (Palomino Vall I986: 85).21In
arrangement. And this is not inappropriate; a sister's godmother is thought Ihis case, however, the boy didn't help his father; he had a more important
of as family. There is labor involved in this arrangement, but it's the kind 01 t.isk, which was to obtain money from his mother, run to the corner store,
chorelike labor that people at Lupe's income level perform in their OWII dlld purchase a round of cheese to dress up the lunch ofboiled potatoes for
houses anyway. ,llt' unexpected and important gringa guest.
Accompanying looks like an active coresidence, or to put it even rnorr If the propina is an economic practice located at least partly within the
plain1y, like child labor." The vast majority of relocated children end up phcre ofkinship, it's not insignificant that circulated children receive simi-
performing household chores for the family that has taken them in. I havr surns. The propina is given in the context of social relatedness.
1,11' Though
seen transferred children cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry hy Ihll'l.:l1tsset it up as a "payment" for chores completed, and Lupe presents it
hand. These are chores that would normally be done by children in .1 I~ sornethng that gave her presence in Blanca's household some sort of
working-class or peasant household but in the new context come to It' tllIe (saying "I wouldn'r go just for free"), participants in such relationships
semble the work done by a maid in a middle-class home. mctheless never use terms like sue/do or saiario (salary) or pago (payment).
\ IIgcs are for the impersonal workplace; propinas belong at home in the


""IU.:xl of interpersonal relationships." Nara Milanich has come to a simi-
II1 ronclusion, studying child circulation in nineteenth-century Chile: that
Circulated children are not exactly paid for the work they perform, bur 1111'11 "I',llt::ssnesssignals kinship (personal communication).23
school supplies or new clothes may be purchased by adults in the Ilt II ,'his analysis runs the risk of making acompanar into an idyl1ic stretching
household, contributing to the idea that this movement can lead to a S(I(111 ," 1IIIlIndaries, a previously undocumented category of relatedness bridging
economic "betterrnent" that is charted in apparel and education. FU1'l111
1 1IIIIIIyand labor. But as Roger Sanjek has suggested, "One should be sus-
more, as Lupe was, they may be given a propina, a word that can bc t1',111 I'" IIIIISof analyses in which everyone benefits" (I990: 57). There is a great
lated as "allowance" or "tip" -in other words, a small amount of 1\10111
\ Jutl ,,(' arnbivalence here, expressed in the acute details of a child's chores,
This payment situates child circulation in an ambivalent gray arca, SIIIJlI 11!1i1If'Ihc exploitation of kinship in order to avoid paying a real wage to a
where between kinship and domestic service, both of which it rescmblr 1li1i11liI/; child. And, significantly, the economic relationship between patron
On one hot summer day I had taken a bus two hours out of thc ('iI Y111 11111111)1 ncstic worker is also frequently expressed in propina formo
Ayacucho to visit Reyna's family. My arrival coincided with Carlos's pI'1I11
Bunster and EIsa Chaney researched the lives of domestic work-
ofbuilding a corrugated tin roof to cover the patio. He balanced 011:J111
I"1,1 iM1111,/11Ia, Peru's capital. They recounted the story of one such worker,
that had been placed on an old chair, reaching up to hammer thc WIII"1iII \ll1i1,1.11IwCl1ty-eight-year-old who carne to her seiiora's home at age eleven
supports for the tin roof, and as I looked on, one ofhis young sons ('1111
II d jil>lllil/Jworkcd there since. Maria-like many maids throughout Peru and
the house compound. The boy crossed the open patio and wcn: SII"ll'hl ,,, \"1111 hus ulways bccn described by her employer as "just like a family
into the kitchen, and his father called after him, "You don't hclp 1111',\"1 1," 11111('1'."
1\llllsLer and Chancy write: "What Mara receives she calls 'pro-
don't get a propina!" ,'" I I. 111'tips, :1(0111111011
I'l'('OIllPCI1SCfor yOLlnger servants just beginning
Here, as in many North Amcrican houscholds whcn :dlow,IIIII'~11 illl 11WIII'IIlilc', nnd ~aill 1()l1IHllwl'(';111(/thcl'c ~m()ng oldcr wornen. Mara
discursivcly prcscnicd as "puymcru " IC)1',I ('l1illili11 11I)'. r!lIlI'l'S, 1111'1.11111'1
'\'oi WI'II, IllI'y dOIl't /l"y 111(',lllytI1lIlg, I dOIl't l':J1'I1;lIlythil1g. 'l'h<; xcfiora
l'qll:1lill)\ Ilis S()I jl.1l'licip,llillll in 111111,1'11111"
1.1',1\',wIIII 1111',dl"w.1111111 1111)""
IlIy (11I111('~,
ih.u, SIIIII('lillll'S )',Iv('s 111(":J tip'"

kind that would be recognized with a voluntary payment like the propina.
(19 9: 52). This resembles Reyna's financial situation. Cristina's niece said
8 Importantly, the very idea of helping implies the presence of another per-
that Reyna "sort of" gets paid. Cristina's grown children, who live in Eu-
son, and thus a social relationship. And, as Orlove's analysis suggests, help-
rope, told the young woman, "We'll help you with clothes and everything,
ing occurs within the domestic sphere-within the thoroughly gendered
but accompany our mother." When they visit their mother, they bring
space of the house.
Reyna small gfts and "tip" her to wash their clothes. As Reyna herself said,
The giving of a propina to circulated children positions them within
"No, they don't pay me, 1 only accompany, rhat's all."
particular social and relational geographies. It represents both voluntary
Any hard-and-fast unlinking ofkinship and domestic work in the Andes
pny for voluntary labor and the furthering of social relations. The neutral
is thus difficult to sustain under dose scrutiny. Parents give tips to thei r
u-ciprocity described as ayni throughout the Andean region (Portugal Cata-
children, employers give rhern to their maids; kinship terms are employcd
I ora I988: 68-69; Alberti and Mayer I974; Skar I982: 213) does not apply to
to describe both kinds of relations. Critical analyses of employers who say
1ilt' parent-child relationship (Anderson 2004), perhaps because parents can
maids are "like a daughter" suggest that this terminology
"soften[s] thr
0 Iu-vcr be certain that their material and affective "investments" in their
edges of exploitative capitalist wage relations" (Colen and Sanjek 199 ; Sl'r
I luldren will ultimately be reciprocated in the form of help in the house-
also Loza et alo 1990: 26-27).24 And so it does=but this analysis should nut
ild and fields and care for aged parents (Van Vleet 1999: 170). In the short
be limited to relations of domestic work alone. The propina hints at inequ.il
25 I. 1'111,then, parent-child relationships appear deeply unequal (Bloch 197J:
ity and exploitation in the safe and loving family environment, toO.
li 77), with parents giving everything and receiving little in return.
There is a certain kind of relationship that is being expressed thrOlll',11
'I'hough the propina is popularly claimed to be voluntary and spontane-
the propina. The "gratuity" suggests spontaneity, rather than obligatillll
'1111,I maintain that it is more accurately about reinscribing social relations,
and represents gratitude (Lpez Basanta 199T 462-63; see also Mauss 1111/1'
li11\ti tuneously framing these relations as voluntary while at the same time
[1954]: 3-5, 13; Kopytoff 1986). Similarly, the connotation of work in 1111
lI! ti, Ing rhem habitual, patterned, and regular. The propina, appearing on
private sphere, as Grace Young has written in an article on domest ir " I
il\l 'Hllf:lcCas a one-way gift, is really a statement reminding children that
vants in Peru, is that it "is of a voluntary nature, given oflove and dcvoiu 111
ili \ Me subordinate-that they must accept this gift, and that they must
(19 T 3 ). Within the space of the house, labor is felt to be given VI111
8 68 '''JI,IY Ii onc day. Here, a gift-of money-is being used to symbolize and
tarily. This is the case whether a son is helping his father with thc I 111111
I ",,1111(' hicrarchy
gated tin roof, whether a young woman is accompanying a teachv: 011101
li 111\,
who spends her school vacations helping out in her uncles house
helping her in her household, or whether a domestic servant is pcrf 11111111
cxplicitly described the propina in these terms. Rather than saying,
I 1111,1,
her duties. And the propina is felt to be given voluntarily to recogniv:: 111
li [li-ti, lI)!' thcm, and at the end ofthe summerthey give me a propina," she
voluntary labor. l 1i11('lhingvcry different, something like: "It is humiliating to have to
In this, the propina can be aligned with a distinction charu'd
I'1 "",~ Irca t I11Cl1tin exchange for getting the tip, but 1 don't want my
anthropologist Ben Orlove (2002) elsewhere in the Andes. ln L1w dL111i
111III~111w()rry about school expenses." In aninterview, she repeated this
Bolivian peasant men, recorded for a development project in thr 11//11
IIIIIII~III',dll'('('\cd now at an aunt and uncle in Ayacucho: "Sornetimes
19 0s and reconsidered by Orlove, all manner of men's :lei iVIIII'~ \
8 1*' 111 1'1'1'11,whcn thcyrc going to give you something, no matter if
described as "work," but the majority of women's activitics ('111
\l1'~ 11
I' \ 11111
n-l.u ivox, ir rhcy'rc going to givc you their money it's because
preparation, tending to animais) were dcscribed as "hctp" )t!IIVI
. 11111'"11111dll Ihill)\S righl, i hc way ihcy likc thcrn. $0 to receive a
101-7). The division was not cronol11ic, as 1l1;\I1Y01' lhe 111l'1\\ WIII~
\, '01111
(' W(' d1)11'1II.IVI',II1Y,WI' h,lsirllly huvr 10 humili.u r our
tivit ics wcrc unp:1id, und SOI11r OI'WIIIIII'I\'S111'1
pi"1'.hH'lllllt-d M,IIiI\I:v.
.1111'\11WII.11ilII'Y '"IY I11II~ 'I'11i\ 1\ wh.ux \,1(\ ,11111111
hlt-s aI 111,11'1\('1.
I11SII,\d,111'11111\1',11111111111:" Y kllllllll
,\ Vll111111.11 \'111111

Sarita sees her propina as a payment for humbling herself. When a young The inequities contained within the few coins of a propina underscore
person accepts a propina, this reaffirms for the giver that he or she retains Illc class distinctions of giving and receiving children. Households that can
social superiority and control. The propina marks imbalance and chari ty, ,dlord to take children in will do so; those that struggle to provide for their
making the inequalities contained within one shared social space tenabh-, I hildren may distribute them (Weismantel I988: I69; Fonseca I986: I7). Nara
both constituting and muting them through economic practice. Milanich asserts that in nineteenth-century Chile "the circulation of poor
When the relations made material through the propina are exposed til ruinors was inseparable from the market for women's domestic labor"
the scrutiny of the state's representatives, however, they don't hold up I1 (Ul04: 3I4), because live-in domestic workers were usually not alIowed to
becomes a clear case of domestic service, and the connotations of recipror 1,!lSCtheir children in their employer's home. The sharp tensions of need
ity, dependence, and imbalance fade into the background. Ayacuchos aLio!, 1!1I1
opportunity play out in gendered, classed ways on the terrain of child
tion office coordinator, interviewed on a local radio station, explicitly St:lll'd rll'clIlation. While children receiving the propina as an alIowance may only
that acompanar is definitively not adoption, nor should it be considcred ,I oIgllclygrasp the messages about inequality it contains, circulated children
family relationship: 111'more often positioned in a structural context of inequality If a poor

Q: Do people take [i.e., adopt] kids for service in the home? Do they w,1111 , IlIld moves into the home ofher social superior, the propina can, in essence,

to take a child for service? "1"lnel her of this indisputable fact persisting somewhere beneath the
luec of a voluntary transaction.
A: No, no, no, no, no ... A couple is disqualified if it's for that. 8('(',111,;
many times fifty- ar sixry-year-old people, who already have children, ('111111 I,IIPC described how, when she moved in with her father's family, six

[to the adoption offi.ce]. They want a companion; it's not for compnny \\, 11li illlhs passed before she got used to it, and "frorn then on my father took
111111110account, since I had come to be at his side. He boughr me my
tell them, "You don't want a son ar daughter, what you want is a COIIII'''"
iooks, paid for my graduarion party, all my school costS."28 Circulared
ion." Now, for this, there are persons that can serve you, hired, bUI 111''"
are attentive to who pays for what-Reyna and Sarita each took
the focus is, is it a child they want, a son or daughter? Not a person t11"1I 11
serve them, you understand=" IJ'_.11IICl me know that, although they were living with or had lived with
ItI IVI',~, it was their natal parents who paid for clothes, school supplies,
Her reference to "hiring" a companion discursively pushes aCO/llI'IIII/1/ 11 I" 1, 1111('r cxpenses. Their insistence on this suggests that such expenses are
ward employment, distancing it from kinship. Those who are involv. .lI! I"'Idly borne by the adult responsible for the child (see Goody I982). But
the relationship would never use "hired" to describe it; the coordln.urn 11di' I Ii/ld's Cntire economic upkeep is not the main reason for the transfer
explicitly doing so in order to set up adoption as a legitimatc kin 1II,d111 "UI !~, Il'n parcnt is not too poor to pay for the child's school supplies him-
practice, the same as family and therefore necessarily distinguislu-rl 11tH i li)i'lI'lI)1 hcn other, noneconomic, intangible aspects are clearly felt to be
acompanar. til) l-I '1111':11:
educacional opportunity, the possibility oflearning Spanish or
Similarly, acompanar makes little sense to persons of a highn SIli IodI I II~lill1111',ldc, lhe hope for self-improvement. Tony Whitehead has sug-
One well-offwoman who worked for the Fulbright C0111l11issil'lI111IIi I' ,IIIJ.,I ~llrh cconomz transfers may even provide incentive for an adult
commented that when people bring their godchildren to livc WIIII ti, ,,',,1\1' ,I rhlld (1978: 824).
they may treat the children a little better than they would uv.u .111'''1/,/, I "1'I '~ '11t!l')101'how she carne to live with Blanca deserves a closer look.
but they do not treat the godchild Iike thcir own child, 1)(,(,;lIl~('lilf \ li! I" 1111111'.
11,I,~IJ(,I'()WI1dccision, but one that must be set up as a request
him do chores, and this is wrong, FoI' hcr, thl'l'l' CII1 IIlIly 111'"".!I'II 111/JIIIII ,I 111/,11jH''s 1:11
licr . .'-lhethcn dcscribcs hcrself respondng to this
hildrcn 01' rnaids; nnyt hinj; hct wrr-n is ,II11higIIOIIS.uul t'XpIOlldllvl' li jill'"1 1"1"'1'1 W,11l1111s;IY I)() I() 11('1',~IH'W,IS:Igood pcrson." And fin:1lly,
1'/11/(1/' li irt.ibk- 111'I'VI'II 1111.11
ix 11111'11111 I I'pl.lhll' 111
I'111~H JooIli1M' IVI'I~" I, 1111,111011
,1',\WoIS,~IlIlI!'IIIIlI',IH'I' 1:11
h1'1'1()ltIlu-r lO

ItI .' I1rnaid and can't treat you like family. But the important point is that,
do. Lupe avows that the move was her choice, framing it as a strategic pl""
1!l1\' a nalysts may perceive child circulation and domestic service as sus-
on her part, but the complex set of reasons suggest some level of rnplk \I
1,10inusly identical, Lupe experienced them as different. She accompanied
coercion. 11111(.1, but she was a maid in Lima. The process ofbeing welcomed and
Reyna's move to Cristina's house played out very similar1y. Reyna 10111
accustomed is at the root of this difference.
me that Cristina's grown son Vladi rold her she would be needed, and hlll
then told her father, presenting it as a fait accompli: "Vladi says I'rn gOillf',l'O
accompany." Reyna said that her father responded, "You decide." But \h. THE PROCESS OF KINSHIP: GETTING

also said that she had already told Vladi, "Okay, uncle."z9 Furtherm o 1"(' , o,li ACCUSTOMED, BECOMING FAMILIAR

said that her father had "already" told Vladi she would accompany, .,1
011,1lives next door to her mother-in-law, yet she never eats with the
implied that the move was her choice, but she also referred to huw 111
od li\(' family, never gives her mother-in-law "a piece offruit or a plate of
father and others had supported, taken for granted, and ultimately ,1)',111II
.1 ~ltc should really make more of an effort with her husband's family;"
to the move." Reyna's relocation occurred within a context of IOl1g I' I
I [01li' 111law. It would be "no big deal" for Yosselin to give her mother-in-
social relations complicated by class differentials. I 1IIIIIc of soup or main course, but she doesn't, "she's not like that."
This volatile combination is articulated by the young people (()III I 111
1111"docsn't seem like family, she removes herself, it's not right."3Z Her
in terms of duty-deber in Spanish, which also means "chore," :11Id
dll 1 11111Iw's relatives complained, one after another, that Yosselin was
verb, means "should" or "must." When a social superiorwho is al~(lod\O
lll 1111111111 izana.
connected to your family-Blanca, a teacher and Lupe's sister's god ' 11li
11" I11luw relationship is another kind of circuIation-marrying into a
or Cristina, mother offour migrants to Europe and godmothcl' I11li.
1lIi'IIIIS cntering into a new set of social relations that must be
father-makes an initial request for companionship, a dutiful 1"l"'IIi!!
"tI~ 1II'p,Oliated. The tensions that inhere in in-law relationships can be
both necessary and prudent. The framing of social responsibilil y .lllfi I
lil d I,y urt ivc efforts on both parts to become familiarized-that is, to
archy as "dury" is a strategic portrayal ofkinship. Kin feel a scnsv 111,1"
111J',raciously share space and food, and to earn each others' trust,
one another-strangers do noto But "dury," like the propina, i~ ,tI,1!
'" t , "IILi nffcction (see Van Vleet 2002: 578-80). Familiarization is an
strategy for deploying the terrns ofkinship in order to bind a YIIIIIII',
"di 1II'o,l)\cd effort toward becoming family, a process that hints at
to the work of companionship. li' ojl~II'NNnnd constructedness ofkinship.
I asked Lupe what happened when she moved to Limo as ,I yllllll
.!' 1""1'1' sistcr, Juana, reminded me in an interview how she had
after her time with Blanca-was what she did then: ~Irrtlllilll\ll
luuw uu-:
She said:
1111 11111\11'
IWl!Il, since you are very friencUy and understanding, and so
No, I worked there, I was like a maid, I lived and skPI ,,,I lid'l, hil hy bit I got eloser and we are going aIong accustoming
went out on Sundays to visit my aunt. I worked thcrc, I di.! \"VI'I\'111
illolllll'o'. WI' wcnt :Ilong accustoming to one another, and then we
people there treat you like a maid-there, they cal1'lll"l',ll yllll 111
1,11yllll til1 your birthday, and frorn there bit by bit we have been
like when you work in another house ianolhcr verslIS ylllll uw 11 I
iilllli'llllIlIl' .uuu hcr, and l think up until now, right?33
liked it. I never lacked for fcod, the Scfiora wus VI" I Y 111,I', 1\

house, j lkcd to clcan wcll anel quickly. \I

Itlllll \111111W,IH"'I dl'srrilwd as Inmilinrizntion but rather as ac-
\,o'I/IIIIIIIIIII I~ ih.u xluw, SllQl1'lsillg tl'i1llsf()l"Jll;lliol1 i11hchavior,
She W;IS Iclling \1("1'siory. ;\I1d I di.!"1 il1l\'ll"Ilpl, 1111101111111
111,1111'~1I11'illllil"lId,llip til' k inxhip. TI1l'
.ISkl"I', IH'I' dil('llly wh.u slll' 1111',1111
WIIl'1I ~,III' ."I!tII\t,11 11111111'

his profession, would call "attachment" (Karen 1998)-this material from

actors are effaced, and the process appears passive-it happens to people.
I'('I'Usuggests that attachment, complex and deeply essential though it may
Accustoming represents getting used to new practices, to an active intcr
IH', can indeed take place after infancy. Yet acostumbrar is rarely so complete
action with persons ar objects within a new ar rearranged social space."
the former status is entirely rejected. Psychologists researching adop-
To an anthropologist like myself, this process of getting used to IiiI'
Ilnl1 call this "boundary ambiguity" -is the incorporated person in ar out
inside someone else's house resembles nothing so much as the slow h,1
ul the family? (Fravel et al. 2000: 425).
bituations of fieldwork, the developing relationships we like to call "I'~IJI
In child circulation, a young person starts life in one household or family
port," and the subtle methodological shift from heavy-on-the-observatitlll
then moves to another. Although participants may immediately begin
to immersed-in-participation. 1remember my anxieties when 1first carne 111
['I iISCthe words and acts proper to relations of cohabitation, they only
Ayacucho, most of all not knowing what or where was safe to eat, :\1111
LIII orne naturalized and embodied over time. When self-aware young peo-
resenting the stares that a white woman walking down the street on 1111
pilO move or are moved into different households, at first there is fear and
own naturally drew from curious townspeople. A few years late r Sal1l1
IId'ul self-policing. A newcomer may feel hesitant, afraid to ask for some-
would describe to me how her relationship to her aunt and uncle chal1)',111
unable to just eat whatever she wants or sleep in until noon as she
slowly over time:
lill~111have done at home. But little by little she "becomes accustomed"
In the first weeks 1went to my town every weekend, and it was very hnu li,! ".I 111lhe process-by quietly comparing what she couldn't do before to
get accustomed ... One or rwo years 1must have felt like that, dying 111.~il ~II11shc now feels comfortable doing-family is formed and reinforced. So
back to my parents and grandmother every weekend ... After thosc IWI'"1 I yllllng woman has started to feel as if she belongs in her new house, she
three years, by then 1had gotten accustomed, with my uncle and :111111
11< I!!J\\'1lIhcre is a time that she once didn't, and in reconstructing that time
their house 1 ddn't feel such a hurry to return to my town, 1weru wllI 11I iid I('111Cmbering her feelings about it, she creates a backdrop for her
felt like it. That is, 1had already gotten accustomed. li i 1'11
[cciory toward self-improvement and validated kinship. ln this way,
11;;,11hungcs are obscured and can only be recognized through a com-
Sarita referred to twO unique statuses, unaccustomed and accustotlll'd,llul
i~'1I1()f' historical points.
deflected attention from the accustoming as it actually takes pi;!CI' 11I
1;111IIIII'astto the revelation of accustoming, a child in the Andes is bom
minded me that 1, toa, had already gotten accustomed to life in fl.y,u11'I"
111I'xisling household space and grows up surrounded by variously
Though the stakes weren't as high for me, 1 thought 1 knew whn: ~"II '
1IIIIIj',IIlll1igurations offamily members. Relatives, friends, andneighbors
getting ato Acostumbrar happens when you aren't looking.
li ,I illy, lhe child also visits these people, goes to school, and runs
ln Zumbagua, Ecuador, Mary Weismantel recalls a man, I('('dllll' I
!lllj '1'111'proccss of getting used to one's own life is one which goes
newly "adopted" son, who staunchly proclaimed: "'1 am goitlg 11111111
loilCl,1,llld is not remarked upon. This is Bourdieu's notion ofhabitus:
father ... Aren't 1 feeding him right now?'" (1995: 690).His w()l'Il~ lIll,i
liill'lllll ItiSIOry, intcrnalized as a second nature and so forgotten as
score the recognized importance of a serious investment 0(' tinu: .111'\II
\111'nrtivc prcscnce of the whole past of which it is the product"
active social sharing of the spaces and practices of thc domcsi il ~'I'IIIli
producing the desired conditional relationship. Acostu1'I1bn'll' is ,I ,,111\'I, ""
IIlli 111;'1';1111,',"
Ihing :1\)OUIBourdicu's habirus is the demonstration that
cess ofbecoming, situated in and responsive tO a wcb 01'I'd:1\nllll"l~ 1.1\
ilp, 111",11 Is qli('1l f\'lt III hc and has similarly bccn theorized as a
place "bit by bit." This slowness Il1LlStbc onc of thc I1H)SISi111,111)',
1,1i 11\, 11111111'1
I, ,u'llI,tlly ('(l11SiSIS
ofprnrt ircs Ih:11constantly produce
ences berween cornpanionship and at!opli()I1, Ic)1' oltln childl'I'II \\'11111i
1","11111'1I'I.III'tlll"S~(1I)i'I: I', 111: ,"so S(T Mrdirk .uul S:1h(';1I1It)R/f
xpcricnccd hoth. fi. colk:lgll1' wh() ix ,111,nlllJllillll p~yrl1ilIO)',I',111111,1
wu h ,I, 111,\1(1111111)'"
\VIII'.IIis ,tlSI! 1'lIlhlldil'llltislllry,
~,IIIIIIdnlltl",' ",IIItI li
l'xcilnlly ou \'(',lllill)',lh('SI' w()ld~ Ih,II (11111/1"11/1,,"

prcpared for the town's annual fiesta, which her nephew (one ofher sister-
but one not so distant as to be forgotten. What distinguishes acostumbrar i~
!.ristina's sons, who now lived in Europe) was sponsoring. Those were long
the young person's memories of origins, self-awareness, and insecurity in
the new setting. Because it takes place over time, accustoming lays bare thr
d.1YS filled with cooking and conversation-Margarita's kinswomen, those
who lived there and those who'd returned for the fiesta preparations, kept
normally unexamined foundations ofhabitus and allows a de ar view of tlu:
.lropping by to help. We would sit around a seemingly endless pile of com
different emotional, material, and social variables that converge until ,I
ih.u, months earlier, had been harvested from Margarita's fields and spread
young person feels at home in a new house. The flexible movements 01
liI hcr tiled rooftops to dry. Pushing the hard granos of com off their cobs
Ayacuchano youth, and the time they take to become accustomed to thru
.11h callused thumbs, we exchanged adivinanzas (Quechua riddles filled
new situations, allow an unusually dose view of the production of BOUI
II h double entendres, my mastery of which was always hilarious to new
dieu's "structured structures predisposed to function as structuring su'tu
1Iljllaintances) and conversation. One of the visitors, watching how I sat
rures" (1990: 53)
Ih the others and engaged in the labor of desgranando, commented that I
I~ like Margarita's daughter, and I had become acostumbrada. Margarita's
THE ETHICS OF ACOSTUMBRAR: OE-KINNING I. pd:ILlghter asked what would happen when 1 left (a year before that was
ANO THE OANGER OF LOSS 1"'1'1cd to occur) and 1told her 1would cry; she replied that so would she,
ti NI IV is very sentimental. Only now do 1 connect these comments to
Sarita and I walked through Ayacucho's pretty colonial downtown, p~lsslll
111.'HI/"i' constant awareness that 1 would be leaving one day, and to the
the statue of Sucre, a hero of Peru's independence, sitting proudly 011111
.ljtlll1l1Lpleas to remember them which would only emerge as 1 was
horse in the center of the plaza. I invited her to an ice cream cone-it W.I, ,\

hot day-and we kept on walking. Later she apologized to me li)! 11"1 I, , 111)1,
Ben Orlove has written about such urgent requests at length and

having asked how much she owed me for it, saying ruefully of hcrsvll .11111 ul I I I) 111passion: ''As a modern American, 1 tend to think of forgetting as

her siblings, "We've really become accustomed." It was as if hcr .11111'11 .; uuwlllcd lapse of mental function, as something that happens to one
,,111I 111<111
something one does ... [but] forgetting is a social act rather
were bad-mannered because she had come to take my occasional )"III~ 1"1
'! ,111Individual one" (2002: 8). The fear ofloss, the projection of a new
granted, and-more dangerously-as if getting accustomed to rn I hil
ice cream from a gringa would make its absence someday SOOI1 SI111"111 I., I~ lncxtricable from the idea of getting accustomed, especially to
[ill'd social relationships.
the more.
Sarita's words nfer an ethical resistance to the dangers of geui\1)', .111I' IIIIi 1'1\11'1
lhe height ofbanality to underscore that the poor can love-as

tomed-a tantalizing new life, whether it's represented by a compllu 111\1 I!'I 'trnwick wrote about Tamil families back when she thought it

ice cream cone or the constellations of social betterment that chihl 111I\I 11['I'/N\Iry (1992: 49; see also Bledsoe 1990: 85). What is ofinterest is how

tion should unfurl, can be addictive. Young people away frorn :1111111111 Ilrll.l'"I1/ love-how, as Olivia told me, "Our parents have never said, 'I

influence are felt to be vulnerable to the dangers of city Me, a\1111111)! "11 W(' know because of the advice they give us and perhaps their
11 1"\V,II'lius -they want the best for us. 1 don't know if it's from fear
the risks oflosing respect for elders or traditions, drinking, joil1ll1)',,I Illl
111111'.I 1IIII1k u's bccause no one has ever said it to thern." The urban
or, for girls, pregnancy. Even when a change is viewcd as largrly 1"I~it
becoming accustomed to it opens up a new risk of loss. /\llluHI)',11III~~
! ..1111 I kll('W rurcly statcd thcir love and affection for each other ex-

danger and fear in most aspects of lifc, thc 10s$ of ncw h:lhil I~ ti 11\1jjj\ 1 "liI 11'111tydicl it was usually aftcr an evening of drinking had
" 111I1lhe cxprcssious 0[" affcction that wcre available for
more vulnerablc"
I spcn; sl'vnal dnys up in Milrg:lril:l'S vill.l)\(1\1/\lIgusl J.I)()
lI! "Ihl' vu u n t W('I"(' :tlW;IYS rllllrlwd in 111t"idiorn of"worry: rhe trepes

of missing loved ones, and of fearing their loss, appeared again and again ,I

expressions of carino. Returning from a trip to Lima to find no toasted CCII

available to offer guests, Margarita groused, "When I leave everything I.dl
must happen when parents decide to temporarily place their children in
to pieces." I told her that her daughters had missed her and she said, "SIIII
I( I III'phanage, parents like Diana's mother must be motivated to let a child
but now that I'm here they make me bitter," and Sarita joked, "We mi~" .I
I whether out of obligation to the requesting adult, desire to strengthen
having someone to make bitter," And yet ...
di 11l'dationship, 01' belief that the child is going somewhere with better
Sarita, who had cried for weeks when her mother first left her ;1\ 111
1'1 unities
'1 available to her. Receiving adults like Cristina must have
uncle's, eventual1y didn't want to leave her uncles house, which W,I~I"
.. ,1.lIlls-the fear ofloneliness, the need for household help, a trust in the
cated in a wealthier, cleaner, more central part of town. Germn <1l1d1,1
l,iliI'N good character and permanence-to make the economic outlay
father, living apart for nearly twenty years, "became accustomed" li) 11111'
''''~ill'y for another's child's subsistence. The idea of orphanhood eluci-
apart and actual1y no longer get alongo Reyna made regular vsits 111"
,I 111lhe previous chapter has much to do with why children are invited
natal family, but when her little sister asked her where her mothr:
!U umpanv their elders. Andean lives are unmistakably social, and being
Reyna pointed to their mother and her sister replied, "No, she's 111
11\ li

HC I~ perceived as a lack. Child circulation connects households and

mother. Where is your mam Cristina?" While a young companinu li'
miss her parents and siblings, she may also be reluctant to return 111li,
!dj Iljl social relations-a young person's relocation materializes the
i~' illill hcr natal household may owe to a relative 01' social patron. Such
lifestyle. Signe Howell's work on transnational adoption highlil',111 11
1I11'IIISalso speak to the value Ayacuchanos place on togetherness,
concept ofkinning-how a sense ofbelonging to the family is 11',111'<111111
I dly(,ol'esidence.
to an incorporated child (Howe112003). When a young person 11.1"
'IIIII)',COll1panion can fill that aching emptiness, but in doing so, she
panied outside her home for long enough, however, she ma y 111'1
"11' rcasons for that emptiness (a failure to carry out filial duty)
accustomed to the new way oflife that she enters into a relatcd, !I,IIII'II
li, I IIWIIvulnerability (why her parents rnight let her go). The social
and potentially immoral process of de-kinning: becoming unaccus: I""
li 11" Alltk:an kinship is the basis for the relations of child circulation as
her social origins." De-kinning ,I
takes the fear of losing a [n',I'"<l11I
1'11rnuch of domestic service. There's no denying that there is a
relationship one step further into the asocial realm oflosing a 11C,I~III',I
I' "'III\)lllI1CCbetween these two notions. One ofthe material mani-
11 '111II()sC rei ations is the propina, an economic practice, expressed
Yet de-kinning need not always be greeted with fear and I'C,'d'dll!!
li ti" '1III'!ttlgcography of the house, that undergirds relations of
contrast with a model in which new knowledge or bchavior.rl ;11'I"i'l
111 f, Y IIl~istcncc on representing child circulation as different from
are added to a previous core, Quichua speakers in lowland 1'1lI.ld"l ,
, ""11',~Ou t o f the descriptions of Lupe and others like her, who
nized that changes in social relationships 01' physical IO(':lIIIIII;tIllt.1
I"" I Ilil' IWO. Yct the similarities can be seen in descriptions like
some aspects of identity must be divested, "dissolvcd so 111.11
I~I Iipll()IlNfhat suggest on some level there is little difference.
be built up" (Uzendoski 2005: I6). This model bcars a ('Ios(' I ("li IId,l
iih!l~d ( Itlldi'('Il':-;POsitioning within a new household must be got-
George Foster's notion of Timited good" arnong l.iu in 1\11111111111
. jo; ti 11I1111'.11
Ihv prucucc ofaccustoming that lays bare the founda-
societies (I965: 289-99)-the idea that thcrc cxixts a lil1dl 111li" III!I
ill 1111'
.I11l1h.ll1ifIlH.To !l:lyihai ir musr be gotten used to raises two
possible social relations, such that gcuing accust ouu-cl S('I'III', 111
I If'''"I~ IIll'SI, III()ving to a ncw hOllschold is a change, and not
of ncccssity, thc deliberare [C'll1pcl'ing, disl:II1Cilll:, (lI' 1111',11
I \ 11111'li I.lk(,s soei:tI work, t1ll' :1('1iV(' sh;Jl'ing of social space
li 111 1.I/II"llil('III, /()I' 11", II('W It()IIS('10 i'('Sl'l1lblt'" hOIl1l' nnd rol'

the new relationshipS to become second nature. Sometimes this work I

difficult or impossible, and acostumbrar becomes a resignation, a cominj; I"

terms with loneliness. This difficult transition raises a second ssue= wlu
apart from the pressures of duty already mentioned, would a young pcrsun
do this? The answer can be found in Reyna's story, which opened rhl
chapter. As her father told me, Reyna moved into Cristina's Ayac1I1""
home "to become educated and to accompany;" From the young persuu Five,
perspective, there is another set of reasons, another moral position, wlih "
further justifies child circulation. These reasons are the subject of th 1,,1 SUPERACIN: THE STRATEGIC USES
lowing chapter. OF CHILD CIRCULATION

On a warm summer day in January 2003, I went to the market

near my house: an entire city block covered with corrugated
tin and blue tarps, its thick adobe walls enclosing hundreds of
uu ous stalls vending an assortment of meats both living and dead, vege-
, li oI,'N, lruits, spices, dry goods, olives, breads, cheese, and cleaning prod-
'LI' I was there to visit the kiosk of my usual seller, who had just turned
id'l,'\'n. I frequented her stand because she usually had good-quality egg-
I 11111,
dlfficult to find in Ayacucho's markets, along with my usual standbys
I ocs, peppers, limes, celery, carrots, beets, and aromatic fresh herbs.
li, 11\1.1
Iwo small kids with her, one a boy, and she asked me, "Can you take

""1 1111111(;
with you, caserat" I'd quickly learned to respond in a joking
1,1."I lO such offers, and retorted, "What in the world would I do with a
1111,1IIIy11shc your sonr" She said no, he was her brother. I smiled in return,
!l1I , , 1)1)1(;on with me," and the boy giggled and giggled, but stayed put.
\ I /111('11
cvcryday occurrences demonstrated, I was living in a place
lii " .Iilklrcn did not always reside with their natal parents. Gentle jokes
111. 111''',1'(~l'C :1IS0 Van Vleet 1999: 146m8) indicate the ubiquity of this
,I,IgI'Il1('nl, hut bcforc
1.1\0111 r Iearned to parry them, my best-laid plans
rixin in ClISCO wcrc dcrnilcd
IlItI.v 11111 by scvcral offers of babies that
Ii\,' 'I lI'vi~1I1I1(lI Il1y I'I'SI':II'l1tqur-st ion: why W:1Sthis so prcvalcnt, and
li ti I,v 111'1