Thursday, August 14, 2008

KOA, not just for camping...

Sorry for the lack of updates, everything has been a little crazy.

A while back, we performed a koa ceremony to bless the NGO I´m working with. I found this blog which has some good pictures. Basically, a koa is a ceremony in which you give back to the mother earth (Pachamama) so that she will bless and protect you and your business. You place cloths on a table and they are filled with sugar tiles that represent certain things like education, wealth, etc. and various other offerings (ours had some kind of animal, I think it was a llama but I´m not sure). Everyone sits around the table, shares food, chats, drinks beer, etc. I´m sure this varies with the group. You dip coca leaves in special alcohol to ¨challar¨, i.e. sprinkle the alcohol on the corners and in the center of the offering. We chose the best coca leaves out of piles to give to Pachamama and then placed them with the tiles, three at a time, making a wish each time we put three leaves on. Then you start a fire and place the offerings on the fire. With the rest of the alcohol, you challar the four corners of the fire. That´s a very compressed version of what went on, so you´ll have to use your imaginations, but it was very interesting and very nice to have time to reflect on the past and bond with my work partners.

Then I had to leave my site for some time due to PC security measures. Everything went well, thank god, and I´m very glad to be back in my site. My mom is going to be here soon for a visit and I´m really excited to show her my site and a few other cool places.

Not much else new, I feel like I´m all over the place lately and look forward to buckling down at work in September. I love and miss you all!