Ash Kosiewicz

Ash Kosiewicz (Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team): Ash graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 with a dual degree in government and journalism. After graduation, he worked for two years as a child support officer with the Texas Office of the Attorney General. In 2004, he moved to Ecuador, where he lived for 10 months working with a local foundation in Guayaquil to raise funds for a health center project in the rural canton of Santa Lucia. Upon returning from Ecuador, he worked for two years as communicators director with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which provides legal aid to the poor in the United States. At the time of his fellowship, Ash was studying for a master's degree in Latin American studies from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. After his fellowship, Ash wrote: "The AP experience has given me another incredibly impactful experience in Latin America. It has given me an incredible story to tell, one that truly leaves people interested though unsure how to respond. I feel like I’ve gone through some pretty intense stuff, and I’ve come out of it stronger and more aware. I know I can handle tough environments, and work in a fast paced environment."

From Ayacucho to Putis – Day 1

03 Jun

After arriving in Ayacucho, I stood incredulously in the heart of the region that had served as the central front of the war between the Shining Path and the Peruvian state.

When you’re in an overnight bus and then a car for 14 hours in total, you have ALOT of time to reflect and talk. I shared a small truck to Putis with Jose Pablo Baraybar, EPAF director; Iain Guest, director of The Advocacy Project; and Dan Collyns, a reporter with the BBC. Making stops in Huanta and Santillana along the way, the Peruvian landscape was something to behold. I was surrounded by tranquility, but I couldn’t help but look out the window and try to visualize the terror that had ensued within these seemingly pristine mountainous communities.

The Peruvian Truth Commission reported that there was considerable fragmentation within Peruvian society during the conflict, as the rural poor that suffered within the far removed regions of Peru described their communities as “pueblos ajenos dentro del Peru” (“foreign countries inside Peru”). Although the six most affected rural regions of Peru accounted for only 9 percent of the country’s population, 85 percent of those killed and disappeared came from these areas. Imagine – the Putis massacre occurred what is only now 14 hours from the centers of power in Lima given the recently constructed road connecting Huanta and Putis. The violent war in the mountains tragically unfolded with little resonance in distant urban centers.

Watch our trip to Putis and our first moments at the grave site …


Part two


Posted By Ash Kosiewicz

Posted Jun 3rd, 2008


  • heather

    June 3, 2008


    Super videos dude!!

  • Amy Burrows

    June 3, 2008


    All your hard work has paid off, Ash! these videos are spectacular… 🙂

  • John M

    June 3, 2008


    How did you feel when you finally looked at the mass grave site? Great job on the videos. You are doing good work.

  • Holly

    June 3, 2008


    Watching the part about the mass grave made my stomach churn. I can’t imagine how the families felt seeing their loved ones for the first time after they disappeared. It’s stunning to see that the people seem emotionally unattached when excavating the bodies. I don’t think I could muster the strength to do such work, given the enormity of the situation. Reflecting on your video material, I’m extremely proud of what you are doing. Much love.

  • Will

    June 7, 2008


    The videos I’ve been able to see are truly professional and evocative. Good job in sharing and presenting the work that you and the forensic experts are doing. Unfortunately, it seems that the videos of your trip and arrival in Putis aren’t available to view.

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