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un fin de semana con los indigenas (a weekend with the indigenous people)

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 8 May 2007 | Views [2447] | Comments [4]

Well, I just got back from a weekend in Saraguro, an indigeous culture group 3 hours south of Cuenca. It was definitely a weekend packed full of experience.

We arrived there in the late morning and were quickly shuffled off in a chiva (an open air bus)to a neighboring town to hike. Part way there, we actually got to mountain bike. Not going to lie, i literally thought i was goin to plummet off the side of the Andes mountain. Actually, Madison almost did... but luckily our indigenous friends came to her rescue.


When we arrived, we got a tour of the city, the church, and then started our intense hike. once we reached our destination, i realized why we had endured the difficult trip to get to it: soooo beautiful. it was funny though, because once we got there, the Saragurans whip out this huge bottle of this alcohol they make from fermentated plant juices... and start chugging away despite the fact that we have a 2 hour, somewhat dangerous hike ahead of us. I tried a little bit but with my lack of gracefulness i decided that a only a sip would be best haha.


The next morning we hiked up a a near vertical incline haha... everyone was a little tired. However, once we got to the top it was totally worth it. We came to a cave where 4 indigenous healers (kind of like shamans, but not because they are realllly offended to be called that) were starting a cleansing ceremony. It has definitely been interesting to learn about their spiritual beliefs... they are somewhat of a combination between Catholicism and the original native religion. When the Spanish came over to colonize South American, they began to teach the natives (or i guess one could say force them to learn about...) Catholicism. The Andean cross is equal on all four sides because they believe this better represents the 4 components of the world (earth, wind, fire, and water). Also, when trying to teach the natives about the Virgin Mary, they equated her to mother earth.

Although I do not necessarily agree with many of their beliefs, I definitely think there is a lot of truth to be found in their way of life: it is all based on solidarity, generosity, simplicity and reciprocity. They are definitely in tune with the fact that creation reveals the beauty of the creator.

After the ceremony, we hiked a little farther to a waterfall... i cant really describe how pretty all of the scenery has been and the pictures really dont even capture a fraction of it all.

Then, we headed to one of our Saragurian friend´s house for lunch... which believe it or not was guinea pig. And if you cant believe that, you iwll never believe that i actually ate it! yeah i know, despite the fact that i really dont enjoy meat, i tasted guinea pig. it´s actually a delicacy here!

Tags: Culture

Comments

1

Kelly,

It sounds like you had an amazing experience this past weekend. We can only read your entries and view your pictures but it is really hard to comprehend the experiences you are going through. It is hard to believe another month has passed. It sounds like you are learning through studies but have a good balance of experiencing the culture through your various trips and adventures. Take care of yourself and we look forward to seeing you at the end of the month.

People at church keep asking about you and how things are going so you have much support.

Todd

  Todd Whetstone May 8, 2007 8:39 PM

2

So, I know that your pictures are only capturing a fraction of the beauty that you are seeing, but they are still awesome and I can only imagine what everything really looked like for you... miss ya! *Allie*

  Allie Cohen May 9, 2007 1:40 AM

3

Dios Mio Kelly! Que magnifica es su viaje. Ojala que tienes mas oportinidades para tomar fotos. Todos mis fotos estan solamente sobre los clubs y fiestas! Pero, tengo peliculas de los excursiones que tuve.

Back to English... It sounds all so amazing!! I am so happy for you and we will have to lunch soon to trade stories. Stay safe (don't drink the water!?) and ENJOY your last few weeks... unfortunately it'll be over before you know it (even tho I am sure you are ready)

Te Extrana Mucho!!

  Hanna Trapp May 11, 2007 3:25 AM

4

Guinea Pig! Thats nothing, I have seen you eat worse than that.

Sandy,

  Joshua May 18, 2007 1:04 PM

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