Janelle Conaway

Janelle Conaway

Writing, Editing, Translating, Interpreting, Media Relations

Office: (505) 867-4948 • Cell: (202) 321-3783



Focus on the AmericasFocus on Americas



Viva Mexico

Viva Mexico
Up and down Peru's scenic Colca Valley, restorers are bringing new life to
colonial-era churches that have suffered the toll of time and tremors


Text and Photos
by Janelle Conaway


Throughout my life, I've been steeped in Latin America and the Caribbean. I grew up in Venezuela, reported from Caracas and Mexico City, worked for a decade at the Organization of American States (OAS), and continue to follow the region today.

In 2012, for example, I made two trips to Colombia to write a series of articles for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). I traveled to Mampuján, in northwestern Bolívar state, where a community displaced by conflict is trying to go back home. On the Pacific Coast, I visited three Afro-Colombian villages where families are struggling to improve their way of life and at the same time protect the forests that have always sustained them. I also wrote about other priority issues for USAID in Colombia, such as promoting LGBT rights and helping crime victims navigate the justice system.

Over the years, my work has taken me throughout much of the Americas, and I've developed a sense of the region's tapestry of peoples and cultures. I'm now based in New Mexico, which has a rich cultural heritage of its own. Besides reporting and writing, I also do media relations and work as a translator for international organizations. Locally, I'm a court-certified interpreter and a member of the New Mexico Translators & Interpreters Association.


In the mid-afternoon of July 23, 1991, a powerful earthquake struck the town of Maca, in Peru's postcard-perfect Colca Valley. Relatively few people lost their lives—most residents were tending the terraced fields nearby—but much of Maca was leveled. Part of the roof of its landmark 17th-century church caved in, and one of the twin bell towers partially collapsed.

"The bell ended up on the ground," remembers Juana Cayllahua, who was born in Maca some six decades ago. "It was very sad. I've been coming to my church since I was a little girl."