It’s the Líderes del Dia again, blogging to you, and to the world, but mostly to you, so you know your child is okay! Today we learned about the culture and worldviews of an indigenous district in Riobamba called Cacha, home to the Puruhá people. Here’s how the day went:

First, we personally went to everyone’s door and woke them all up at 7:00 am. We got ready and left for breakfast at Isabel’s at 7:55 am. The menu consisted of bananas and grapes along with a few other options. Then we left and went to Cacha Pucarátambo, a site in one of the Cacha communities. A local, Segundo, gave us a tour of the site, which consisted of a museum, a garden, and a ceremonial plaza. In the museum, we saw and learned about traditional Puruhá clothing such as ponchos, cultural traditions which included different methods of flirting, arranged marriages, and the gathering of all 18 different Cacha communities for a special holiday, and the history of resistance to outside invaders.

The Puruhá have resisted and preserved their culture and community against the Inca Empire and the Spanish and Mestizos. Segundo taught us about Fernando Daquilema, an indigenous leader who led a rebellion against an oppressive government that was exploiting the community. Next, Segundo brought us to the ceremonial plaza. It contained the Chakana, also known as the Andean Cross. Chakana means “to cross over” in Kichwa. It is also a very important symbol in Incan and pre-Incan Andean societies. Chakanas were also kneaded into the poncho that Segundo was wearing. We all stood around in a circle, and Segundo began a cleansing ritual using sacred plants grown in the garden. He beat us individually up and down with the plants to get rid of our unwanted bad energy, then he threw the plants into a fire at the center of the circle. After that, we had lunch at the site, in a style called pambamesa, a shared meal laid directly on a cloth, usually on the ground, but in this case, it was on a table. We had chicha juice, beans, peppers, cheese, and guinea pig. That was our morning, and then we went back to the hotel.

After our super fun day, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our panel presentation with Despertar de Los Angeles. We got dressed up because we wanted to look our very best for the panel presentation. After our panel, we were supposed to have a Council Woman from Ecuador but she wasn’t available. We went to dinner and had rice, salad, chicken with carrots, and gon madla, which is similar to coleslaw. We also had some tea made from a Tilo Tree. This helps relieve cough. After dinner, the Council Woman, Micaela Lema, took a picture with us and spoke briefly about her journey. For the nightly meeting, we went over everything we usually go over and then passed the torch Katie and Yuleimy. Our word for the day during the clap was Cleansing Culture and then we bonded over cards and cup pong. The day was a great one, and we’re looking forward to the next few.