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Nunez Butron trained a circle of supporters called rijcharis (“awakeners” in Quechua) in scientific ideas such as hygiene, vaccination, and germ theory of disease. The rijcharis were made up of Seventh Day Adventists (educators), ex-soldiers, and curanderos (Indigenous healers).

These rijcharis began to form sanitary brigades. They traveled widely across the altiplano in threes by foot and bicycle, treating illness and “preaching” about health and the prevention of disease. Rijcharis often shared the messages of the journal Runa Soncco aloud in Quechua and Aymara.

Most of the rijcharis were men, but some women also participated.

As you can see in this photo, the richaris adopted the symbol of the Red Cross and would carry banners and wear armbands to identify them as members of the sanitary brigade.

Photo Source. Manuel Nuñez Butrón Papers Collection, in the possession of the Guillen Nuñez family, Arequipa, Peru.

Description of Rijcharis:

Alisha H. Redelfs, Paola G. Donoso Naranjo, and María del Pilar L. Guillén Núñez: Manuel Núñez Butrón (1900–1952): Rijcharismo and Rural Social Medicine in Peru. American Journal of Public Health 0, e1_e6,