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.

Following the steps of my ancestors

To the Amazon