So I decided to do a recap on some of the things that I have learnt these months that I thought were interesting. Enjoy!
The first thing our TL told us when we got to know that we were going to be part of the Northern Cohort, is that Imbabura is known as the province of LAKES and GRAINS. I did not imagine how literal and true this statement was…
Fanesca is a traditional Ecuadorian soup that used to be made during Pawkar Raymi, the time where the people are thankful for the harvests of the year. After colonization the Catholics added some ingredients to it and adopted this tradition, since people prepared it during Holy Week. It is said that there is no specific recipe in order to make Fanesca, it is known though for the considerate amount of grains and other ingredients that this soup has.
(El Universo, 2018)
In my opinion, I thought that making this soup was a beautiful and valuable tradition, the family tends to gather together and help in the making process, since it is such a tedious and time consuming procedure. The soup that I tried had a sweet touch, due to some of the grains that were used for the soup and I liked it. It was just a very heavy meal and many can agree with me when I say that it completely messed up my digestive system for a couple of days.
There are around 9 big lakes and many lagoons in this area, all respected and considered to be sacred by the communities that live around it. A lot of legends and myths are told to explain either size, deepness, shape… of the lakes. My favourite? Mojanda, located south of Otavalo. It is a lake that is at a height of over 3000m. There is a beautiful hike around it, where you can find other smaller lakes and the volcano Fuya Fuya. The whole area has a magical and quite mysterious environment.
IMBABURA is also one of the provinces of Ecuador where the Indigenous customs and traditions are still deeply rooted in their culture. Over the past years the Indigenous cultures have been working hard to bring back, maintain and strengthen their ancestral traditions. Their year is still divided into the four ancestral Incan festivities: Pawkar Raymi (Flowering festival), Inti Raymi (Sun festival), Killa Raymi (Moon festival) and Kapak Raymi (winter solstice). All these times are filled with ancestral traditions and festivities that many of us had the opportunity of seeing and being part of.
Pawkar Raymi was definitely the best time for me, it starts in February and it is celebrated as a fun and quite crazy carnival. There’s a lot of water (balloons, guns…) and foam involved during these days and everyone participates, even elders! During this time there´s a lot of traditional ceremonies, such as the Tumarina (explained in my first blog).
Otavalo was the closest city from my community and the place where I had my apprenticeship. I spent most of my time there since almost all of my friends lived in or close to this area. Many events happen in this city and it was the easiest and best place to meet up with other fellows that also lived in communities close to this city.
Otavalo is quite special. As opposed to other cities, where you can generally see how mestizos tend to live in the city and indigenous people are most likely to be living further from the centre or outside of the city, Otavalo is not like this. It is a city that is mostly inhabited by indigenous people that still maintain many of their traditions and customs. Especially women with their traditional clothing and traditional cooking recipes.
The Otavalo Market is one of the greatest markets in Latin America and definitely a “must see” when travelling to Ecuador. It is
characterized by the amount of products (traditional and handmade clothing, handmade art, traditional instruments, souvenirs, second hand clothing…) that are sold every week. It was originally set in the market square, however, the number of stalls on Saturdays kept growing and now the market goes on through many of the streets of this city.
Everything is so beautiful there. I spent a lot of time with artisans trying to learn how to work with different materials (leather, wire, macramé…). And I found that spending my Saturdays in this market was quite fun, I would often run into or meet up with fellows and walk around this outstanding place.
(Enjoy this walk-through while I was supposedly talking to my mum:)
Hope you found this interesting, there´s so much more I would say and write about! …