Saturday, December 27, 2008

From inside the mountain

I found this place on the way to Challa, a town in the central part of Sun Island. Water coming out from inside the mountain is something uncommon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Children of the Sun Island

I found these children when walking on one of the main streets of Yumani in the Sun Island.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Women´s life in rural area

Last Monday I arrived to Sun Island in Titicaca Lake. I stayed in Yumani which is in the south part of the island. Although I had planned to go walking to the northern part of the island I couldn´t because Monday night it rained until next day.
I share two pictures of activities in the island, the first one a woman guiding the sheep and carrying firewood on her back, the second one a young woman working in the land in order to prepare it to sow. In the middle of a storm I departed from the island Wednesday morning sharing the boat with about 23 inhabitants from the island.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bordering the Titicaca Lake

There are a lot of towns bordering the Titicaca Lake and I decided to visit one of them, Camacachi. It is located in the small part of Titicaca Lake known as Wiñay Marka. One can get there travelling by bus for about two hours. One takes a bus in La Paz which arrives to Tiquina. From there, one takes a boat to cross Tiquina Strait and from there one walks one hour and a half more or less.
From this town, I could see two small islands Suriki Island on the left and Taquiri Island on the right. Suriki is a very well known island because there, inhabitans built totora´s boats. Totora is a plant that grows up in the lake as seen in the second picture.
While walking I found a beautiful tree called cactus. I saw in many places this tree but I never saw it with flowers. I wanted to be nearer it but I couldn´t because it was protected by a lot of bees.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sagrada Coca Group

"Uka jacha uru jutaskiway....
The big day will come ... says part of the song in aymara language played by a local folkloric group called Sagrada Coca.

Monday, November 3, 2008

With our ancestors

Last November 2nd. a lot of families went to the graveyard at Santiago I in El Alto in order to make a celebration with music.


These days are very important for us. November 1 at midday arrive our died relatives. This is a belief within indigenous cultures kept during long time ago. To receive them, we set a table with different types of bread baked by us. Bread may have different shapes as human shapes or the the shape of stairs. We also include a variety of fruits, flowers, sweets, a glass of purple maiz liquour, a glass of water, a dish of food. This table is adorned with coulorful sweets and ornaments to receive our relatives. At midday, a candle is lighted on to welcome them.

The belief says that they will return the next day, so November 2, we take all the things and we go to the graveyard. There, we put the table again and as there are a lot of prayers known as risiris, one by one they pray for our relatives. In order to thank them for that, we give a dish with bread, fruits and the things we prepared. This a is way to share what we have made for our relatives with people we don´t know.

At the graveyard, there is always music and dance as it was practiced more than 500 years ago by our cultures. A family stays at the graveyard about four, five or more hours. This is very important for the families because in this way the link with our ancestors is kept.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Arriving to La Paz

Last October 20th. hundreds of people arrived to La Paz. Members of the different indigenous peoples and social organizations came from the rural area and other cities from Bolivia in order to have a big meeting in the main square of La Paz, Murillo´s square.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tarqueada, music and dance

This dance is called Tarqueada and it is generally danced in rural areas. This group belongs to Tihuanacu town in La Paz, Bolivia. Yesterday, there was a music and dance festival in a mountain called Kimsa Chata which means "three mountains together". Kimsa in aymara language means three and chata means together. This festival joined indigenous aymaras from three countries, Bolivia, Peru and Chile. In the ancient times, aymaras were only one but with the creation of the republics we were divided into three.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Last October 1st. it started a Flowers Fair in El Alto. This is an opportunity for people to sell their products but also to contribute to better the environment.

Monday, September 29, 2008

¡Jallalla Bolivia!

Kalamarka is the name of the bolivian folk group that plays this song. Kalamarka is an indigenous word thant means town of stone. Kala is stone and marka is a big town.
In parts of the song they use the expression ¡Jallalla Bolivia!. This expression is very important for indigenous peoples mainly in the highlands. We say Jallalla when we want to celebrate for something good. We also use Jallala in important events. When we pronounce this word, this has a powerful meaning, much more if it is said by a crowd.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Long time waiting and a late minute email from Samai last Sunday made me take the decision to go to Moon Island in Titicaca Lake, Bolivia.
Sunday morning I was taking a bus to go to Tiquina, then other bus to Copacabana. There I met Samai, Veronica and Arminda from Chile. Sunday was not a good day to go because there was no public transport, only private ones. So, we took a taxi to go to Yampupata on a land road. About fifty minutes later we got to Yampupata. There, Felix Mamani, a neighbour from Moon Island was waiting for us. This time in a boat, we navigated the lake for about an hour.
I wanted to go to that island long time ago, but it was very difficult. There are no boats to go to that place and if one wants to go there, one needs to take a private boat in Copacabana which is very expensive for local visitors.
As soon as we got off the boat we went our home where we stayed two nights. In the picture you can see the wooden bridge to enter the house. This part of the island has neither electricity nor water. Felix went to the lake and took some water for us. The lake was not very far from the house but it was a bit difficult to carry water from there. Hortencia, wife of Felix, gave us candles but we also made a fire.
We decided to take a walk around the island. The beach was full of stones. If some day you decide to visit this place, be prepared to walk on different sizes of stones, small, big and huge ones. There is no sand there, only stones.
Moon Island is the place where the most beautiful and intelligent women during Inca period used to live. Men were not allowed in this place. Felix told me that the original name of the island was Khoya Huata, which means the place of the queen. It is also called Ajlla Wasi, the house of the chosen women. It is said that during Inca period, authorities used to choose the most beautiful female children from all the Empire to be taken to Ajlla Wasi, in order to learn how to knit the most delicate clothes and prepare chicha. Chicha was made of maís and was used in rituals and special events.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Pastor Mamani is an artisan that participated at the Artisan National Fair. He and his wife live in a small rural town far from La Paz. They knit mainly colorfoul hats, ornaments for hands and hats, tiny alpaca and lama bags and other products. I met them when the Fair started and I was very happy last Thursday because they received the first prize this year.


Artisan Association in El Alto, Cocedal, organized the Annual National Fair with the participation of artisans that work in different areas: jewels in silver, knitted products in different materials, furniture, ornaments, etc.
During the closing ceremony last Thursday some of the participants received some prices and certificates for the quality of their products.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Walking along the streets in El Alto, one finds a lot of people doing different activities. For example, there a lot of young people working as shoeshiners. They are generally on the main streets of Ceja which is the central part of El Alto. Ceja is the place where people changes buses, to go to La Paz city , so it is the perfect place to offer a shoeshining service.

Shoeshiners are divided in groups, each one has twenty of thirthy members. These are formed generally by young men although there are adults too. I asked one of them about girls or women and he told me that they don´t accept women as part of their organization and probably it is the same in the other groups too. It is mainly a male activitiy although in La Paz, there are some women working in this activity.

Monday, August 11, 2008


August 10 was important for the bolivian people. We had the first Referendum in the history of Bolivia. It was to answer whether we agreed or not with the policies of Presidente Evo Morales Ayma and Vicepresidente Alvaro Linera. In my neighborhood in District 1 in El Alto, this voting process was very quiet. I voted in a school two blocks from my house. We generally vote in schools and in each one there is a different number of Voting tables. Each voting table is numbered and it has a variable number of voters registered. Voting process starts 8:00 and lasts eight hours. When a voting table opens later, it should complete the hours indicated.

Once the voting process ends, members of the electoral jury start counting the votes manually in presence of the public. Each vote is registered on the blackboard so that everybody can see it as shown in the picture.

In this case, President Morales, won. It is said that he received about 61% of approval in the country which is a percentage better than the one he received in 2005, when he was elected as President.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am between Street 2 and Kilometer 7 Avenue in El Alto. All this area is also known as Ceja and here we can find a lot of things. Small businesses of any kind, orange juice sellers, fruit sellers, bread sellers, food sellers, etc.

Among these, there is this small shop that sells Cd´s, Dvd´s. All this material is known as "pirata", because they are non authorized copies of the original, and due to that they are sold at low prices. To increase its sales, owners of this type of business, install a Tv and show films or material that may be attractive as in this case. If it is very interesting, a crowd of people use to stand from the beginning until the end of the film.

Monday, July 28, 2008


A last minute decision took me to the Titicaca Lake again last July 25th. I had waited for a long time to stay in the Sun Island and to celebrate my birthday was the reason than motivated me to go to this place.

I arrived to Copacabana at about 3 in the afternoon. I had the fortune to find a boat which took me to the Sun Island where I arrived about 2 hours later. But, I was left in other community different from the habitual place where boats arrive, so I had to take a walk up a hill for about one hour and a half.

Saturday, I decided to go the the northern part of the Island where there are some Inca ruins, called Chinkana or Laberynth built completely on stone. It takes about three hours to go there walking. One can take a boat to return more or less at 13:30 but me and a swiss girl, Nicole, whom I met on my way to Chinkana, went back walking taking other way which was Challapampa and Challa. Neither me nor her, took into account the time, and we stayed on a white sand beach in Challapampa and then we decided to visit a very interesting local Museum which includes pieces of Tihuanacu culture found on the depths of Titicaca Lake.

We started walking again, but night came soon and we had to walk in the middle of the mountains accompanied by the wind, the shining stars and a small lantern.

Picture1. It is the northern part of the Island and the stone way leads to Challapampa town.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Saturday and Sunday are the best days to make the well known ritual called “CH´ALLA” in Copacabana. All the cars that arrive to Copacabana to be part of this ritual are parked on the main square of Copacabana. The owner of the car, buys bunches of fresh flowers to adorn it. Flowers should be very colourful because that gives good luck. The objective of taking there a car is to receive the good energy of that place and to assure good luck with this new acquisition.

Before the arrival of the invaders in 1542 in Copacabana there was this sacred place where people used to go and make rituals in order to ask to the pachamama (mother land) all kind of favors, especially for good luck and prosperity. As the invaders wanted to make dissapear any kind of ancient belief from indigenous peoples, they built a catholic church on the sacred place. But, as it was in the mind of people their ancient beliefs they have continued going to this place to ask for good luck. This belief is very strong and that´s why now not only indigenous people but also what we call mestizos or whites go there to ask for favors to this sacred place.

Some catholic people, buy a catholic image and puts it in the car. Other times they make sprinkle the car with water. There are also yatiris (wise indigenous men) that makes a fire ritual for the car. Other times, the owner of a car, takes it to the border of the lake and make it sprinkle with water but also makes a ritual to mother land, thanking for his new car and asking for luck and prosperity for him and for his car.

A lot of people go to Copacabana to make this ritual, especially people from the different cities of Bolivia and Perú.

Picture one. A car ornamented with fresh flowers.
Picture two. One of the places where one can buy flowers and any kind of ornaments for the cars.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Morenada Eloy Salmon, is one one the most important morenada groups in La Paz, Bolivia. This was founded on December 1968 in La Paz, and since that time has been participating in the most important folkloric events such as Gran Poder Parade which takes place at the end of May or beginnings of June each year. This group of dancers was founded by a group of people dedicated to sell machines, mainly sewing machines Singer which was very famous here in the 60’ s in La Paz.

Eloy Salmón, up to now is one of the main streets where one can buy many types of machines at more or less reasonable prices without invoice. Sellers of this street are generally very prosperous and used to participate in big folkloric events, dancing especially Morenada or other local dances which implies a lot of money.

Morenada is a dance which requires a heavy custom for men and the use of a lot of jewels for women. Eloy Salmon group used three characteristic colors, white, red and green.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Titicaca Lake is participating in a contest to become one of the new seven wonders together with other sites of Bolivia. But whether it gets that goal or not, it is the most beautiful lake and very important in the life of indigenous peoples. When I have the opportunity to visit one of the towns that sorround the lake, I am always surprised by its beauty and mystery.

More or less two weeks ago, there was found a group of ancient tombs in Copacabana, in Lake Titicaca. Up to now, archeologists have found 11 tombs buried in Cundisa. Cundisa is near the main square of Copacabana, aproximately one block. This place was supposed to be a peasant market but each day archeologists work, they find more and more buried people together with beautifuld objects that belong to Inka and Tiwanacu age. In the ancient times, people used to be buried accompanied with many valuable objects including gold ornaments. That´s why indigenous aymaras are still vigillant to the movements of the people working there, because they think some valuable pieces could be taken abroad as happened many times in the past.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Global Voices, Summit 2008 held in Budapest, Hungary, last June 27 and 28 is undoubtedly one of the most important events of Citizen Media in the world.

1. My first impression when I arrived to the GV Summit 20008 was of happiness not only to see again some of the members of Global Voices whom I had met last February in other event but also to meet other new friends. I felt as if I were part of a World Parliament because there were people from the different continents, all of them very well represented.

2. Most of the participants shared rooms. I shared the room with Elena from Macedonia. It was an opportunity for me to know about her country. I didn´t know for example that Macedonia was one of the states of ex Yugoslavia or that they are 2 millions inhabitants and other aspects of her culture. When I knew that I was going to share room with Elena I thought she was from Russia. I never expected to meet somebody from Macedonia, this was a surprise for me. In the same way, I could discover different realities of other people that live far away from the place I live. This helped me to enrich my knowledge of the world.

3. Other aspect that called my attention is the situation of bloggers in our countries. For example, when I want to write a post I enter an internet café and write. I can stay in the machine all the time I need and as soon as I finish I only have to pay. This is the common and frequent procedure bloggers follow in my country. But I found out that it is not the same in other countries. One of the bloggers in the Summit told me that he can not write in an internet café because the person in charge goes around to check what is being written and if he finds something contrary to the government, the blogger may suffer some consequences. Through the other sessions I also knew how censorship is used in some places to silence the voices of people.

4. Its two day programme was developed in sessions, five sessions each day. Lova Rakotomala was the moderator of Session 1 during the second day “ Web 2.0 goes Worldwide” with the participation of the following speakers: Collins Dennis Oduor from Repacted, Kenya, Mialy Andriamananjara from Foko, Madagascar, Catalina Restrepo from Hiperbarrio, Colombia and Cristina Quisbert from Voces Bolivianas, Bolivia. As this session had the objective to show the experiences being developed in our cities, I could know what Collins and Mialy are doing in other side of the world. It is important to know that a lot can be made when we have the tools and when we receive the training to use these tools. When it arrived my turn to speak I was afraid to lose my voice because I was not feeling well. I knew I had only ten minutes to speak about the Voces Bolivianas Project and my blogging experience with indigenousbolivia, but I think I spoke more although Nicholas showed me two times a card with the hour telling me with his eyes "time to finish".

5. I also want to point out the importance of Lingua. First, I opened a blog in Spanish, so all me contents were in that language, but it was a nice surprise to meet Leonard Chien, who translated one of my posts to Chinese. In the same way, Paula Góes from Brazil made a translation of one of my interviews using dotSUB. I could also speak with Claire Ulrich who translated one my posts into French. With the participation of these talented people, creators of content have the possibility to be read in different languages. It is really a great job people of Lingua do.

6. I liked a lot that people who were not physically in the place of the event could participate too and even ask questions which were answered by the speakers. This was in charge of Jillian, Deborah and other GV hardworking members.

7. I would like to mention something about the internal GV activities too. There was a lot of group work and this gave a different dynamic to the event. For each activity we were changing groups and that allowed to know different views to focus a topic apart from having the chance to speak with most of the members of GV.

8. I would like to extend more but I will stop with my next comment. I really enjoyed writing my name on two T-shirts. I didn´t know what they were for at first but when these T-Shirts were given as a present to Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon I was happy. I don´t know whose idea it was, but it was a good idea.

¡Congratulations and a lot of successes to each one of you,
members of Global Voices!

Picture 1. One of the sessions.
Picture 2. Jillian York and Deborah Dilley, hardworking girls.
Picture 3. Group work. In this moment, I can only recognize John Kennedy.
Picture 4. One of the T-Shirts with our names.

Friday, July 4, 2008


GV Summit 2008 ended and it was time to say goodbye. I was ready at 13:00 pm. last Tuesday and decided to go to the airport in the bus shuttle with, Collins , Lova and three girls whose names I can not remember in this moment.

I had plenty of time to take my flight to Frankfurt. It was preboarding time and I quietly followed this process. There was time enough to chat a bit with Viktor Kaonga, and then with Mialy and Deborah. After saying goodbye to them, I went to gate 23, just to find that my flight was delayed fifteen minutes. “It´s not much”, I said. “Anyway, I will be on time to follow the procedure at Frankfurt Airport”, I said.

At Fraport, I had to go to gate C16. I was quickly walking in that direction when an employee asked me, “¿To Sao Paulo?”, “Yes”, I answered. “You have to go to gate B28”, he said. I doubted, I didn´t know what to do. “If he is lying”, I asked myself for a minute. I showed him my ticket. “Tem trocado”, he said in Portuguese this time. “OK. I will go to B28 then”, I thought. When approaching this gate I saw a group of people questioning to the lady in charge of the airline desk. At first, I didn´t understand what was happening. Some minutes later, a voice said “Sao Paulo”, please, “Come here those who go to Sao Paolo”. The lady started her explanation first in German. “Die Maschine is kaput und…. aber… “, “The machine is broken and the flight will be delayed but the piece we need to repair the machine is here, so it will take four hours approximately to repair it”. Passengers completely annoyed, asked “¿And what is going to happen with connections to Chile?. The flight was supposed to arrive to Sao Paulo at 5:15 last Wednesday and connections to Chile were early in the morning. The answer was “For all those who have connections, it will be arranged as soon as you arrive to Sao Paulo Airport.”

“Now, what I will do”, I said. I had nothing to read. I was walking from here to there taking pictures. Some time later, I met a girl, Kaina León del Prado, a soccer player who was travelling to Chile. She started playing soccer since she was seven years and lately she was playing in an European team. “I am planning to star playing, soccer in a university team in my country” she said. “There is going to be a big event in Chile, a world female soccer championship”, she explained. I was surprised because it was the first time to meet a girl that plays soccer with such a long experience not only in an European country but also in her country. I wish a lot of successes in her plans of studies and also in the future soccer events.

Time went quickly and we were called to board the flight and after eleven hours and a half, the plane arrived to Sao Paulo. Some hours later, I took the plane to Santa Cruz and finally to El Alto. I collected my baggage, but something was wrong with it. When I departed from Hungary, I asked to send it direct to El Alto, La Paz. I don´t know where, but somebody broke two wheels and it can not slide as it used to. They were OK when I left it at the Hungarian Airport. But something else had happened to my baggage before. When I departed from El Alto to Hungary, my baggage had a padlock and when I arrived to the hotel in Hungary, I realized that it didn´t have the padlock, the zipper was not completely closed and all inside was in disorder. Nothing was taken, but I felt sad that somebody could have done that.

PD. I haven´t seen that type of internet machines in my country, so I decided to take a picture of that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I had the fortune to meet Daria Ccalla Huayllara, an aymara artisan involved in alpaca knitwear since some years ago. She was born in Cochiraya, a rural town located near Titicaca Lake. Daria together with a group of other aymara artisans knit different products: scarves, sweaters, gloves, etc. She also knits the type of toy we see in the picture using other kind of wool.

Last February, she was preparing to participate in a regional event of women, when she fall down and broke her leg. This hasn´t allowed her to develop her activities as she used to do and that has meant losses for her but also for the women that depend on the contacts she could make to sell the products.

Two weeks ago, I visited her in Puno, Peru. In spite of her health difficulties she tries to manage this situation with strenght, but although she has always a smile I feel her sadness too. I see that she hasn´t been receiving medical attention because it means a lot of money. Something should be done in order to help her, so that she can receive the adequate medical treatment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Today is a very important day. Indigenous peoples celebrate the return of a new sun. Willka is a native word that means sun and kuti is other aymara word which means return. We receive the new sun with a special ceremony in sacred places which could be the mountains or sites as Tiwanaku or other places where our ancestors lived during ancient times. During the ceremony there is a sacred fire where we make and offering to the mother land. We also receive this new sun with the arms up, so that the warm energy of the sun enters through the palms of our hands. This arrival of the new sun means the beginning of a new life for human being but also the beginning of the new agricultural cycle.
Early in the morning, people wait in the sacred places to receive the first beams of the sun.


Saturday, May 31, 2008



Part of the closing ceremony Infocc 2008, an international event that joined people from different countries to debate about the access and management of information. Professor Abuy Nfubea shares dance with members of the afro bolivian community in La Paz, Bolivia.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Huatajata is a town located more or less in the middle of the road that connects El Alto with Tiquina Strait. One gets there approximately after an hour of travel by bus. Huatajata is an important place because from here depart boats that connect with the islands, especially with Pariti and Suriki Islands.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Copacabana is a town within Titicaca Lake. It is highly visited by nationals and foreigners. From this place, one may take a boat to go to the Sun and Moon Islands or to other places within the lake.
Each year on May 2 and 3 they celebrate a big event that joins folkoric groups: morenadas, tinkus, cullaguada, llamerada, etc. All the groups start dancing on the main square of Copacabana and they go dancing for about five blocks. They go up to a hill named Qolqepata. Qolqepata is an aymara word that means the place of the money. There, dancers pray and ask for prosperity.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


This is Tiquina Strait. One needs to cross this strait if one wants to go to Copacabana City, to the Sun and Moon Islands and to other islands.

One takes a minibus from La Paz to Tiquina and after about two hours one is in Tiquina. Then, one needs to buy a ticket to take a boat to cross the strait.

On the other border, one may take a taxi or a minibus to go to Copacabana. For me this is the best way to go to Copacabana.

One thing to take into account: one may cross the strait up to 21:00, but there are times when it is closed at 5:00 in the afternoon, especially in windy or rainy times.

One day, I crossed it at 20:00 and it was really cold but as a gift I had the pleasure to see the stars shining beautifully.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

In Chiripa

Yesterday, I had to visit an arqueological site located in Chiripa. After travelling by bus about two hours and other hours walking unfortunately, I couldn´t visit it because it was closed. Instead I could enjoy a beautiful landscape. Chiripa is on the border of Wiñay Marka which is known as the minor Lake within Titicaca Lake.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A rural town

Last Wednesday I was in Pajana, a little rural town near Titicaca Lake. There, I found to Victor Taquile. He told me he is 77 years old and that he lives with his wife in that town. “My daughter lives in La Paz and my sons in Lima”, he said.
I asked him to take a picture. Fortunately, he allowed me to take the picture.

I had a had work trying to find a person in that town. Finally, I couldn´t and I had to go back. When walking in the town I saw a man coming with two donkeys carrying totora on their backs. Totora is a kind of plant that grows in the lake and is used to feed cows.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Tihuanacu is an unforgetable place because as son as one arrives to that place one can see what our ancestors left us. Part of our history written on stone.

And, if some day you decide to visit Bolivia, don´t forget to include in your tour a visit to Tihuacanu. There are plenty of minibuses that you can take in Cementerio area in La Paz or in Chacaltaya, El Alto and in about one hour you will get there.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Today there was an important show at Murillo´s Square in La Paz, Bolivia. All the artists: musicians, poets, painters were celebrating their day. There I met Sergia Llanos. She was born in Tomás Frías Province in Potosi which is mainly inhabited by indigenous quechuas well known by their music and dances.

Sergia Llanos told me that she has about 25 years singing. She also said that she composes music and the lyrics of the songs. Up to now she has recorded 60 discs and dvd´s.

“¡That´s a lot, I said!”.

“Yes, My music is not well known here in La Paz, but I am mainly listened in Sucre, Potosi and Cochabamba”, she said.

Sergía´s daughters are following her steps, Celia, a young girl and Rossy who is 10 years old. She says that Rossy is becoming famous in Potosi because of her talent and voice.

Following the steps of my ancestors

To the Amazon