Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Special Event at Morochos, Part I

In mid-December there was an event in Morochos that, among other things, was celebrating the 12th anniversary of the home sharing program in the indigenous communities (it had a lovely, official name that I didn't write down and so it is totally gone but I can get it if anyone is in need of it).

Paige is the Peace Corp Volunteer in Morochos and she makes sure we know about events up there that we might be able to support and that we'd also enjoy.  This was indeed one of them.

This event gave us all the opportunity to meet more of our village neighbors, shop for handcrafted items, and, of course, eat.
Ah yes, did I say shopping?  I was able to get the handwoven wall hanging she is holding for $20.  I was pretty thrilled about that.  It will definitely be hanging on one of my walls as soon as I find a way to get it up there.  With walls that are concrete, plaster, and brick, it's not just a matter of pounding in a nail or two.

Of course the women didn't just sit by with nothing to do.  They were busy crocheting when they were between customers.

All of this jewelry is made from natural products.  There is a thing that looks a little like a nut but is very, very hard that they use for any number of decorative uses, mostly jewelry.  The bracelets on the right are almost all made from it.  They have polished it and dyed it before drilling holes and stringing it.  It has a fabulous feel to it.  Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the earrings I bought but if you to the left of the center necklace and then to the left of the green necklace, you'll see some pink beaded earrings that are similar to the ones I got for $2.  They do such lovely work.  It makes me wish I wore jewelry.

The light coming in through the canvas was so bright it made this lovely graphic look.

I love this little girl.  She is just so beautiful!  Of course there's also the puppy that is almost cute enough to steal the show from her.

Speaking of dogs, they were definitely checking out this event--I said there was food--where there is food, there are dogs.

Not all of them were tiny but they were all polite.

There was much sharing going on.

...and of course that was preceded and followed by very polite begging.

Aren't these beautiful?  No one went to town to buy them.  Someone went out into the back yard and picked them--well, probably several back yards, but they grow like crazy here.

For most significant events there is an offering set up with fruit, flowers, candles, herbs, and ceremony.

The curandera performs the ceremony.  Here she is burning incense and herbs and saying whatever it is that goes with it.  (I may be incorrect in my term for this woman's title.  I know a curandera is a healer and spiritual leader, and someone who performs rituals, which is what this woman is doing, but I don't know that she is an official curandera.)

As the ceremony progressed the village leader called representatives from each of the surrounding villages to join with him.  Indegenous leaders are frequently both a man and woman from the village.  When they had finished calling for leaders from each of the communities represented there, they asked for a representative from the English-speaking community to join them.  Of course we didn't come with a chosen representative but one of our group joined with the others in the circle (she's the white woman with blond hair [grin]) as words were spoken that I assumed were very spiritual in nature.

It was really very moving and it felt very good to be included in their celebration.

Just as an aside to this.  When I was trying to discover the correct title to use for the woman who presided over the ritual I asked my neighbor to come in and look at the picture to tell me what her title might be.  This woman is a Mestizo (of mixed Indian and Spanish blood) and really didn't know what her title would be.  She explained (well, at least I think this is what she was saying--completely in Spanish) that this was an indegenous ceremony and that she didn't know who this woman might be.  She knew she wasn't a shaman because those are only men but she didn't really know what her title would be.  I found it interesting that there is that kind of separation in the community.  As I thought about it, of course, I realized I was doing what so many of us do--I was lumping everyone who is born here into a single group, just as people say, "Oh, you're from the United States," and what they mean is they know someone else from there so they know what I'm all about because I'm like everyone else there.  It was a wake-up call for me to check my assumptions at the door and remember to learn about the people in Ecuador from the people in Ecuador, not from what I might have thought before I came here or what my unintentional prejudices might be.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the festivities at Morochos.


  1. I was most interested in your perspectives as they relate to understand the nuances of local cultural groups and the fact that they are not one, just as the residents of the US are not one but many different cultures in one country.

    I have enjoyed your post and I have learned much more than I thought I would when I started reading your blog. Thanks you for sharing your insights and your experiences with me.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your adventures in Ecuador.

    1. Hi, David--

      I'm glad you're learning something of interest from my blog. My goal has always been to simply share my experiences and thoughts about my new home with anyone who has an interest in it. I started out writing to my personal friends and family and have since discovered new friends from all over the world. It's an interesting journey.

      Thanks for reading.