Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Coca in your tummy

Peru President, Alan Garcia, has suggested the use of coca in salads. The coca plant is used widely by indigenous peoples who live in high altitude areas. We drank coca tea when we visited to help boost our energy levels in those high altitudes.

From the article:

"I insist that it can be consumed directly and elegantly in salad," Garcia told foreign correspondents at the Government Palace.

Garcia's comments put him in the company of leftist presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who have publicly promoted mixing the high-calcium leaf into everything from toothpaste to soft drinks.

Coca has for centuries been considered a medicinal and ceremonial plant in Andean culture, and Garcia said it should not be vilified as useful solely for producing the illegal narcotic.

The Q'ero shamans used coca, chewed it all the time. They also used it for divining purposes and in special ceremonies of which we were allowed to take part.

The picture shows me with some of the many village kids in the high Andes, ok, not SO high Andes at Salka Wasi, home of Don Americo Yabar, advocate for the indiginous people and
Shaman/healer. We were playing guess which hand with pieces of candy. The kids loved it. I did too. Notice the band in the background.

Now is the time of change say the Q'ero Elders.

The prophecies are optimistic. They refer to the end of time as we know it - the death of a way of thinking and a way of being, the end of a way of relating to nature and to the earth. In the coming years, the Incas expect us to emerge into a golden age, a golden millennium of peace. The prophecies also speak of tumultuous changes happening in the earth, and in our psyche, redefining our relationships and spirituality.

The next pachacuti, or great change, has already begun and it promises the emergence of a new human after this period of turmoil. The chaos and upheaval characteristic of this period will last another four years, according to the Q'ero. The paradigm of European civilization will continue to collapse and the way of the Earth people will return. Even more importantly, the shamanic elders speak about a tear in the fabric of time itself. This presents an opportunity for us to describe ourselves not as who we have been in the past, both personally and collectively, but as who we are becoming.

One morning while waiting for our bus I overheard the school children singing before class. Many of them stood in front of the rest and sang traditional Q'ero songs. I went over and filmed them and sang for them.

In school they learn the Spanish language. One day Marilyn Markham and I played with some of the children who had made a kite out of a plastic bag. The terrain is very steep in most places around this area several miles outside Cuzco.

No comments: