Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy New Year!

Like I said in my previous post June 21st, the winter solstice, is the Aymara new year. They worship the Sun as a god. So to welcome the new year, every one climbs the hill that we burned before sun rise.

Here we are making the long trek up.

The whole town was up their waiting for the sun to rise. Luckily Eli made some hot chocolate.

right as the sun rises everyone raises their hands and prays to the sun. Here is my family. Elvis, Jovy, Eli and Theodora.

Afterwords we celebrated with the families favorite meal! Guinea pig!! When I took this picture, I had no idea that the next day I was going to help kill and eat this Guinea Pig.... it was traumatizing and yes, it tastes just like chicken.

In the name of participant observation

For all of you that aren't nerdy anthropologists like me, participant observation is a form of research. In order to really understand a culture you have to try and see things the way they do. You have to learn their ways and do what they do. You know, try and stand in their shoes. My capstone paper is about how globalization is affecting the indigenous youth of Bolivia. So for a lot of my research I have to hang out with Bolivian teenagers. Its a blast.

So as you know, down here in the southern hemisphere it is winter. June 21st was the winter solstice. Also considered to be the Aymara new year. The Aymara are a group of indigenous that were part of the Incan Empire. Since it is considered to be the coldest night of the year, the people of Copacabana have a long standing tradition of setting everything ON FIRE!!! The pyro in me loves this tradition!

For example this hill that is right to the east of Copa... it gets set on fire every year. However a few years ago it was made illegal. But old habits die hard.

So in the name of participant observation, I went with my boys to go burn down the hill! Here we are getting our torches ready.

We had to drench them in gas and then light them up.

Here is my little brother, Jovy starting the festivities.

Here's Papush, Ronald and Fernando

did I mention that I am a pyro?

afterwords the boys lost a bet with me and had to do a musical number. They chose to sing "la cucaracha". It was stupendous.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dia de campo!

So I have been teaching English in the elementary schools and high schools here in Copacabana and on the weekends, in Siripaca. This last weekend however, I did not get a chance to go to Siripaca because it was a five day weekend. It was the Catholic holiday Corpus Cristi and the Provence of La Paz had its 59th anniversary. So pretty much I got to play with my family all weekend. It was a good time!

On Thursday me and my family all loaded up in Jose's bus and they took me out to a plot of land 30 minutes down the coast, right on the boarder of Peru.

This plot is where Eli and Elberto's Grandma was born and raised. Their grandma died last year at 96, so this adobe house is over 100 years old. This particular part is the kitchen. That is Eli looking for fire wood.

This is what the inside of the kitchen looked like.

The reason they brought me out here was because they wanted to have a BBQ Bolivian style! First what they do is they build this. Then they build a fire in it. and wait until the rocks get so hot they start turning white.

Here I am pretending to my part in helping. :)

Here are Eli and Theodora with the food. They had two kinds of Potatoes. Normal kind and then oca. They had all kinds of meet. They had beef, pork, chicken and lamb. They put it in the most amazing sauce!

When the stones are hot enough, they put the fire out and threw the potatoes on the bottom. Then they put the tins with the meet in and put some of the hot rocks on top of it. After that they put sheets of metal on top of the stones and then this herb... I don't know what it is called in English, but it smells really good.

Then they cover it up to keep all of the steam and flavor from the herb in. We left it like that for an hour.

in the mean time I showed Jovy what people from the "campo" (countryside) in the US are like.

after the hour wait, we all sprawled out on a blanket and dug in. No utensils were allowed. We ate with our hands. By far the best BBQ I have every been to. I love my family!!!! They are so good to me!