Tuesday, August 9, 2011

to my ñañitas

Ñaña is sister in Kitchwa the local native language. So it seems next to learning español, I also need to pick up kitchwa. The family we are with are fluent in both languages.

This is such beautiful country, so GREEN! We are in a small valley near lago San Pablo which is all at the base of a mountain called Imbabura, an old dormant volcano rather. Imbabura has 2 peaks, the one on the left is the Mama, and the one on the right is Taita, or Papa. I found out yesterday that on the other side of the Mama is the ¨Corazon de Imbabura¨, a massive heart naturally carved out on the face of the mountain.

I´m getting used to riding the buses around here, bumping back and forth on the panamerican from Pijal to Otavalo or Cayambe. We are in a dense indigenous area of Kitchwa people. A beautiful race with such noble features. High cheek bones under slighly slanted smiling eyes, the smoothest coffee colored skin and rich shiny blackest black hair. Their culture is strong and important (...a totally different concept to my american eyes. It is so refreshing to see a culture celebrate their heritage!) In the 2 festivals I´ve been to they were full of adolescents, young adults, and all ages in full dress, singing and dancing.

The Cayambe tribe of Kitchwa of which the Pijal family is, the women wear a wool skirt to the mid calf with tight pleats trimmed in ribbon of colors representing the earth and their environment...vibrant colors of blue, pink, green, browns, grey, reds and yellows. A white blouse with lacey full sleeves and embroiderd trim in colors to match the skirt. Red beads, traditionally red coral around both wrists and many strands of gold beads around their neck. They wear their hair tied back in either a braid or wrapped in a narrow woven ribbon, always topped with a fedora. On their feet they wear simple little flat black sandles that tie around the ankle.

When someone comes over to the house or when you meet someone you know in the street you hug and kiss, or for men handshake and hug each and every person hello and goodbye! They are a very affectionate people. Babies are stapped to almost every woman´s back, or another siblings. Breastfeeding is ubiquitous...walking down the street, in the bus...everywhere. I didn´t realize how sterile our culture is with that until I came to one that recongnized it for what it is.

....and the Mother, she´s here too. Pachamama is honored and seen as the always present volcanos ans mountains, and the maize they eat every day. but in the churches and the cathedrals it is Mary and child at the forefront... bigger and more impressive than any other diosa. She also has shines everywhere, places you wouldn´t expect like the dusty bus terminals, or just along the highway.


  1. What a wonderful visual picture you painted. Along side the photos I can live vicariously! Man the fashion is awesome! Wearing cocktail jewelry while milking the cows - I LOVE it! I didn't think you'd find all of this in Ecuador I guess I imagined it being Argentina - but clearly I don't know much. Keep teaching! I guess we gotta film down there for our breastfeeding movie huh? We'll be going after our first Executive Producer in September - cross your fingers and maybe we'll get the opportunity to meet you kids down there after all... ;)

    Green Day's playing at the Tiki Bar tonight btw... Gotta see if I can get online fast enough to get the tix - not the same without you guys tho - who will I mosh with? Miss you!!!!!!!!!

  2. I feel I am connected to my fellow earthlings...I am seeing the wonder, receiving the hugs and warmth, and the joy through you! My spirit is soaring! Thanks. Your spiritual friend (YSF)