After the crops were collected, the land had some rest and now Pachamama is waking up. She is hungry and she is eager to get food from us. During most of August, Andean people celebrate rituals to give back what Pachamama gave us: food, coca, chicha, wine, etc. Last Friday we celebrated it in our place and we asked for prosperity and health for the next year.
The day before, one of our colleagues went to the Chifleras (people selling the several parts) to buy all the elements to make our offer. On a big paper we put khoa (sacred and aromatic plant) at the centre. All around the khoa we put llama wool and candies with the shape of Virgin Mary, US$ (we need money!) and many other symbols. Then, every one of us put coca leaves and muscatel wine. We got the fire on and we put our offer to burn. We started an ancient rite, assuming that we are part of earth (Pachamama).
Depending on the final colour of the ashes, we know if it will be good or not. It took us like 3 hours to get it done. It was not easy. Though we all took care of the fire, in the process we discovered that we did not work as a team. We did not put the initial logs leaving space for air to circulate (many of us were in a hurry…) and we did not leave the holes at the bottom of the fire open for air (and oxygen) to circulate properly.
After one or two hours we got a huge cluster of candy and unburned khoa and llama wool without burning. Most of our friends had left. But then, the few of us who stayed close to the remaining fire started to think on what was happening. We broke the cluster, opened the bottom and put some wood and alcohol and… it was great to see the immediate result. All was burned and we got white ashes at the end!
Perhaps the best part was when we started to assimilate the ritual with the real life of our team. We started to discover many similarities, jealousy, lack of knowledge and lack of patience, lack of proper communication and… worse of all… lack of adequate space for oxygen to circulate.
The Pachamama gives life but it takes it too! Now that the khoa’s smell went to the superior world, we will see how the Pachamama power will help us to grow. Yes, our life will continue to be close to agriculture. In the discrete space of silent communication, we will see how to succeed.