We Will Fight (Continued)


Tinku means encounter of opposites, people living on top of the mountains “los del altiplano” against those living in the valley “los del valle”, men and women, this river with that river. It is ritualized fighting, the blood spilling the occasional death are but a complement to the encounter. But then in what seems to be a permanent presence of Bolivian arguments contradictions appear. It is as if people are saying that the countrys history is too complex to provide any straight answers. Tito goes on saying that there is no Tinku without death because that would be a bad omen for the coming harvest, the blood spilling is viewed as spiritual obligation to Pachamama. The Tinku is also a way of sorting out arguments between communities over land or between individuals over a woman or a cattle robbery, for young men it is an opportunity to gather respect in their community and to show their strength to women. For younger community member it is the equivalent of a manhood ritual for young women an occasion to parade their beauty and meet a future husband. I find all of this incredibly fascinating (for those of you with a professional interest you can check the works of the social anthropologist Tristan Platt a friend of Titos that lived over one year at the Macha Allyu). At the intersection of the cruce Macha we leave the asphalted Oruro Potosi road for the dirt road, all this talk and thinking about FEAR and fight and blood spilling make the yellow sorghum field that gently move in the wind look lion colored and ready to jump at its pray. The road is dusty but not bumpy. It is close to sunset when we approach Macha that stands surrounded by hills at the end of an open valley where the rivers Caranca and the Jatemayo meet at 3500 meters. Macha is a tiny town of about 800 people (much smaller then I had imagined) administered by the nearby mining town of Colquichaca. At one of its entrances an arc greets the visitor with the slogan “Macha la capital del Tinku”. The towns main square with its white church tower and the few hostels isnt much bigger than a football pitch. Tito shows me where I can stay, at the parish of Padre Cabezas. I am very much looking forward to a bed. One of the priest assistants shows me to a dormitory in the back yard; on my way there I see a seemingly peaceful goat that is eating grass. The priests assistant gone I take a stroll in the backyard to look at the sunset and the first stars and breathe some fresh dustless air. I see the goat coming at me in full speed attack mode, making me run up the stairs to the priests home and chasing me into a corner.

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