I made a book! Ayni, meaning reciprocity, is a big concept in Bolivia especially among indigenous communities. Thus, whenever possible, our program directors encourage us to give back and foster a little ayni ourselves. Thus, for our Village Stay (in Tocoli) project, instead of writing a journal about my experience there, I made a book to give to the elementary school there. I think I was pretty clever, too, and made a copy of it before I colored it in so that it could be photocopied and made into a coloring book for the kids!
The book is about Fiesta De La Cruz, a holiday celebrating the first Sunday of Lent. We were fortunate enough to partake in the day with many communities that had gathered together to celebrate; truly a beautiful event. The book is written in Spanish and Aymara, the language native to Tocoli. I wrote and illustrated the book, and Calixto (a friend of my academic directors and one of the priests) was kind enough to translate to Aymara. Here is the translation of the text:
- Celebration of the Cross
- Today is not the same as every other day. Today there are crosses in the street by the shops.
- Everyone goes to the church to listen to the priest and to see the big crosses. All of the representatives from the communities are here.
- After, we walk around the plaza with the crosses. It looks like a sea of hats to me!
- We sing with the crosses outside of the church. Everyone receives a blessing from the priest, and all of the communities receive their crosses.
- Finally, we eat in the street with all of the other communities. The food is so yummy and the banquet is very fun!