Journals from Year abroad in Quito, Ecuador
2008-12-16 My favorite trip!
I have saved the story of my favorite trip to tell last-my trip to Cacha, Chimborazo. As I mentioned in an earlier entry I have a boyfriend here named Inti. Actually his full name is Inti Rumiahui Condo Pilco but pretty much everyone calls him Inti. Inti is indigenous, specifically from the indigenous group Puruhua and spent the first part of his life in an indigenous community in the Sierra, Cacha Chimborazo. From there he moved around a lot and now has finally settled in South Quito where he lives with his mom and two sisters while attending La USFQ. This trip to Cacha was really special for me because we went for an indigenous wedding, something I had never experienced before and because I got to meet Intis entire extended family, and his community family.
We went with his mom, two sisters, and sisters husband to stay for one night-enough to help with food preparations and to visit. When there is a wedding in the community everyone is invited without need of invitations and everyone brings what they can to contribute to the food preparations; some people bring chickens, some bring rice. Then, the extended families of the bride and groom prepare everything. And there is a lot of delicious food! I helped to prepare some 50 plus cuyes, guinea pig, (a traditional indigenous food here that now-a-days is generally eaten for special events) roasting them slowly over the fire the first night as the air through them whistled and made little popping sounds and visiting with Intis family although I couldnt understand everything as they talked in a mixture of Quichua and Spanish.
Inti introduced me to everyone. We greeted all with, Buenos das/tardes/noches de Dios( Good day, afternoon, evening of God), as this is the traditional greeting in Chimborazo. This specific greeting is used as nearly everyone is Catholic. Greetings are really important here because it is a small community and, as Intis mom explained to me, acknowledging each other with this greeting, even young children, is a sign of respect for the members of the community. Inti walked with me around his familys land, explaining to me what they have planted, what animals they have, and telling me stories from his childhood. As a photographer, the experience became even more alive for me as I interpreted it through the lens of my camera. I didnt feel so odd taking picture of everything because Intis mom who is a filmographer was filming as well.
The first part of the wedding took place outside of the familys house and only included the close family members. It was in Quichua, only lasting for about 15 minutes, and basically represented the couples promise to each other, to their families, and to their community. After that brief ritual we all walked to the town church and had a more traditional Catholic wedding, which was in a mixture of Quichua and Spanish. The church was filled with people from the entire community, an array of brightly colored indigenous garments. The wedding itself lasted for probably about 2 hours though after the first 30 minutes or so people began wandering outside to talk and visit.
After the wedding officially ended, everyone, and I mean everyone, from the entire community, came to the familys house to eat. First there was soup, and then bread and then chicha (an indigenous drink made from fermented corn-it can be alcoholic or not depending on how long it is fermented for-oh and a note, everyone shares from the same bucket of chicha passing it on and always saying, Dios le paga-(God will pay you/ God pays you ) and then potatoes, rice, lamb and on and on. Inti and I stayed for a couple of hours eating and conversing but we had to leave in order to make it back for classes the next day. When we left nearly everyone was still there sharing in the festivities. (Another note, normally, there is dancing at indigenous weddings, yet the families of the couple are really religious so there wasnt any.)
My first visit to Cacha, Chimborazo was wonderful; Im excited to return again with Inti and to get to know his family and community more.