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To share with you this ancestral knowledge and how it talks to the virus, I will take for example one of our cultural practices: I will tell you a secret, a secret that a wise Aymara told us: “The secret to not catching the disease”. From there I will comment on the approach and the logic of how our Andean cultures assume disease and how they relate to it.
In the world a lot of information has been generated around this pandemic, declared this way by the WHO, focusing on statistical information on infections and deaths; what generates the spread mainly of fear. With the arrival of the virus in our country, many of us have been prey to it, a fear that invades us and makes some of the prejudices that we carry within come to the fore; However, actions and attitudes of solidarity and sensitivity have also been seen by people who at this moment help those who need it. This health crisis came in the middle of a political crisis, but it also caught many people who make a living from their day job by surprise; and today they do not have the money to buy their food, is just one example. So, today is a time where we have to live in quarantine and assume an attitude towards what is happening.
The modern media repeat and show us a confrontational approach, that is, declaring war on the virus, a logic in which we have to fight and fight against it, unite against this enemy that stalks us, "together we will defeat this disease”. However, let's talk about other approaches, something that is not talked about much, ancestral knowledge, as the arrival of diseases or pests was assumed and still is assumed.
It is said that there is a diversity of knowledge, to heal from diseases, how many cultures there are, how many ways to heal there are. Each people brings their wisdom with them and all those worldviews are respected. For now, I will only share a part of the many knowledge about the disease; I will tell you a secret of one of those worldviews: the Andean.
This secret is told by the wise grandmother Margarita Marka (whom we interviewed), currently lives in the city of El Alto from the community of “Macaya”Near Tambo Quemado, Bolivian border with Chile. She shares that her grandmother told her:
“My grandmother told me that in the old days when diseases such as smallpox and measles arrived, they should be welcomed by offering her little flowers when she visits us, because she also needs to eat, so that the disease does not hit us, so that later she will leave and continue on her way , the disease like this, it will pass”.
Well, Ms. Margarita Marca, upon receiving the virus's visit, you are expressing a way of understanding the world, a worldview. Julio Valladolid will tell us “The worldview refers to the way each people perceives (sees, feels, experiences) and is related to both their natural and cultural environment ...”. Our worldview is related in an equivalent way between human beings, deities, the sacred and the "Pachamama" (Mother Earth); that is, between people. Everything has life, all are subjects. For this reason, Doña Margarita tells us: “You have to receive the disease"At that moment she is conceiving the virus as a subject as a person.
In addition, respect is involved, it is not overestimated, and it is not put below the human being. It is a totally holistic conversation, as stated by the teacher Grimaldo Rengifo: “We breed and let ourselves be nurtured”:
“Raising is nesting, breastfeeding, protecting, protecting, loving, caring ... It is a verb that connotes mutuality and reciprocity”. How the offering is made: In a special place in the house "In a small bottle or vase, place Red and white flowers can be roses or carnations, in an even number, it is complemented with broom flowers and around, outside the vase, sprinkles are spread (ball-shaped anise candy) or they can be other sweets. After it is already in place, the following order is made: If you visit us, just do it, but then go on your way”. We know that ancestral practices are diverse; For this reason, the wise grandmother tells us that flowers and plants can vary according to where we live. In the photo, we see the red and white carnations next to the sprinkles. In addition, the yellow broom and rue that are to ward off bad energies.
Thus, you can “raise viruses”, Feed him like any other subject and ask him later that he has to continue on his way. Similarly, the virus teaches us and reminds us that they came first, as did bacteria, etc. as Marco Bazán would say: “It could be said that it is our ancestors who are claiming something; perhaps the bad behavior of human beings that go against life ”. This relationship between both, human being and virus, is the way in which the disease is discussed, possibly it would be mutual nurturing. Be careful, Sister Magdalena Machaca reminds us that: “Raising is also not commenting much on the virus, not naming her, so as not to invite her”.
Now, I ask you: Is it true that this secret will prevent us from catching the virus? Well, the biophysicist Andreas Kalcker points out that viruses feed on energy ..., which agrees with the approach from quantum physics where everything is energy.
So, when our grandparents emit the words: Eat and then go your way, they are launching an intention and with it energy. Likewise, they ask the virus to feed on that energy that flowers and sweets contain and not on our energy, because we must not forget that our body is also energy. For our part, we believe that yes, the secret will prevent us from catching the disease, especially the disease of fear, yes, of fear, since it does not contribute much to our body in this context. When we talked with Doña Margarita, she seemed calm, without fear or fear, she spoke with respect about the disease, perhaps like her our grandparents did not accentuate the conflict and fear of diseases; on the contrary, they looked at her kindly, calmly; but above all with respect. I confess that in my family we are calmer since we put together the offering.
About the disease, our brothers of the organization "Sum Yapu”They share that:“The disease is also even, it is female and male, if it is male it does not give you very strong if it is female it puts you on the bed ”. As Dona Margarita Marca's grandmother would say: "The disease is compadre and comadre”. I will dare to say that the higher percentage of those infected who will pass the disease as a simple cold will do so with the male side of the virus, and the lower percentage that will be accentuated will be the female side. Something that must be noted is that the virus before reaching our body announces us with signs, these are manifested through our dreams.
Also, the virus can be visited in a community way, as the organization tells us "Uywana Wasi”: “In the Jach´a Marka Tapacarí Cóndor Apacheta territory, located between the municipalities of Pazña and Antequera - Oruro, they agreed to carry out the “ROGATIVAS"To their deities, so that the"Qhapaj Child”(Term used to refer to coronavirus) pass without causing harm to the Wawa community. With the offering of a table with incense, local plants and sugar on their knees, they asked God and the Pachamama that this disease pass without causing damage or crying.”.
Regarding the attitude that we must take: Today, is when we have to assume a behavior of solidarity, of empathy with others, of respect, nurturing and reciprocity with everyone and with everything, to practice the “Ayni" (today for you tomorrow for me); but above all, do not forget that we can be physically separated, but not communally. Furthermore, we must not lose hope, as the teacher Rafael Bautista says: “The most genuine hope is not born in normal situations but in the most hopeless ones. When everything seems to end is when the utopian momentum is born, from the ashes”.
For our part, we see that all the measures taken, to prevail life are necessary. Avoid large concentrations of people, washing hands with soap, using the chinstrap, resorting to alternative medicines, ancient medicinal plants and others; the more we can contribute the better. But also, in the event that the virus wants to pay us a visit, we will have ready and assembled the offering of flowers and candies, so that the visitor can eat and then continue on their way.
By Juan Carlos Nina Bautista (Archi)
City of El Alto-Bolivia, April 2020.
Harvest time in the "Andean Yapus" (Andean Chacras)