We Will Fight (Continued)


The men that fight in the Tinku do so because it elevates their status and the status of their community. But this all remains to be proven trough some Danger Zone witnessing. In Oruro we are to change bus. At the station I make a last phone call to an Oruro university professor for Cultural studies asking him about a cool headed assessment of the dangers involved by going to the Macha Tinku. The professor replays that it should be safe; as he had never heard of a gringo getting killed in Macha (something that apparently happened in another community). I also ask him whether he has been to the Tinku the answer is negative. I cannot make up my mind I hate to take difficult decisions. Whenever I can I try to apply the drift wood theory of life, which says that when you encounter an obstacle like the log that goes downriver you simply let the current take you around it. In this case I have to decide whether I am getting onto the bus there is no way around that. I decide to take the bus and try to give myself courage by thinking that as much as it can be horrific the world is not as bad as it can be in our heads. In my own experience it is mostly less dangerous, more human and gentle then I think it is before I get to a specific place. I am also thinking that I could die in a stupid road accident, which must be the biggest killer in Bolivia judging from the roadside wrecks. From Oruro to Macha we travel four hours about half the journey on the asphalted Oruro Potosi road and the rest on a dirt road. The bus is fully loaded with people animals and goods, the crew consists of the driver his wife which gives her husband the occasional glass of water with a piece of cake and of the board mechanic; a young man in an overused blue workers outfit in charge of manually opening the door that has a failed hydraulic system; and pouring water into the cooling system as the Volvo engine overheats. I dont invoke the supernatural very often, traveling on a Bolivian bus and seeing the roadside accidents is one of those occasions where one feels so powerless as to have to delegate everything to the supernatural. In my case I use a good luck talisman an Arab hand made of metal given to me by my mom. Bolivians tend to make an offering to mother earth Pachamama in the form of coca leaves or a bit or liquor. Tito is now fully awake and talkative so I ask him about the Tinku.

Browse photos