Volunteer José Sánchez ended his visit as Michelle Burdette began hers with the festivities of August 6th which is Bolivia´s Independence Day. The fun began with a lantern parade the evening of the 5th. The following day, José stayed in Independencia at the invitation of the graduating class who he had helped design and paint the map of Bolivia they marched through the streets. Michelle and I headed to Huancarani at the invitation of Doña Máxima to experience Independence Day in a rural community.
The authorities set up the podium then herded everybody up the hill above the soccer field to march back down. The 3 mayors led the parade with their tin staff of office in hand. Each was attired in a poncho and ch’upsa (shoulder bag to hold the ceremonial coca leaf) their wives had woven this year. Behind the mayors marched their families, the Organization of Women led by CdA member Doña Antonia who is the current President, the Organization of Men, a few Cochabamba based youths who returned for the holiday, and a small group of
school children. The procession circled the soccer field than stood at attention at the podium for the national anthem and speeches.
The program continued with folkloric dances by the children in creatively constructed costumes and a feast. A sheep had been butchered and potatoes and fava beans were cooked in the communal wood burning oven at the school. We left before the
feasting, and Doña Máxima reported that the festivities went on until 3am in the morning. She thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days she spent in her home community. The opportunity to participate in a celebration there had eluded her for over 12 years.
Michelle´s University of Akron professor who is a WARP member and longtime PAZA supporter challenged Michelle with linking her Club de Artesanas (CdA) workshops to her millinery internship. Michellebrought quilt squares, thread, buttons, and headscarf patterns.She and Doña Máxima spent half a day working together to sew the headscarves that the women and chicas adorned with bows and pom-poms. The women enjoyed adorning the headscarves and the chicas were over the moon. The chicasare easily spotted in the streets with their colorful headscarves woven through their long dark braids.
PAZA wishes to thank José and Michelle for all their contributions to the CdA and the community.
The Spinzilla Spinning Week is just a month away and we still lack a volunteer to make the short documentary and a volunteer to manage the social media. The Spinzilla expenses are not yet funded. Last year the expenses were $600.
Thank you Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby-Stern for your continued support that has helped keep the CdA activities moving forward.
Joel Cachi skipped kindergarten and plunged into first grade last February thanks to the medical evaluation paid for by PAZA supporters. He couldn’t register without submitting the evaluation results.PAZA raised $2,200 for the medical evaluations following his surgery to have brain tumors removed in 2013. Joel and his father traveled to Cochabamba in late June for the final evaluation. His father reported that there are no further signs of tumors and Joel should recover completely. Joel’s family has asked that their appreciation of your support be conveyed again. Thank you!Two of his sisters are CdA members, and Joel often joins us around snack time. Dorinda Dutcher, August 22, 2015