So, Diego is home (in Spain) visiting his parents, and it’s just me here in Mocomoco. Flora is in La Paz with her family – its exam time in school. Today Roberto, the parish coordinator/records secretary, and I made the climb up to Tocoraya. It’s a community of about 15 families – about 50 people total. The ascent is made by car, the last part of which was pure red mud — this mud is kind of like driving on soap — and we had to go very slowly, using 4-wheel drive and sometimes the low gear! We parked the car in a reasonable place, and made the last part of climb on foot, backpacking our Mass gear.

First, we celebrated a special Mass for the family of the community’s catechist, Fabiano, and had a snack of apilla (sweet oca – a tuber) and sheep’s liver with hot sauce. Then we climbed to the high point where their chapel is for Sunday Mass and a baptism of a little girl. Her godparents had come from La Paz and brought a pretty white dress. It was a beautiful time mostly in Aymara, with parts of the baptism in Spanish because we don’t have a ritual in Aymara and I couldn’t translate everything ( I didn’t know there was a baptism until we got there. Not unusual!). After Mass, we went back for nice dinner of ch’uqi (potato) dehydrated apilla (that tastes mildly charcoal-y) and what they called cornejo(rabbit) which is really guinea pig. Yep: tastes like chicken! Then we celebrated Sonia’s (the little girl) rutucha — the ritual first cutting of hair. The hair is cut in small pieces by friends and family and they offer a monetary gift which the godparents will save and invest for her for her future life.
In the late afternoon, we headed down, gingerly, through the mud. I dropped Roberto at his house across the valley form the town and headed up home. Flora’s Dad, Don Rogelio, met me as I arived and we had coffee and a nice chat in the house.
Tomorrow is Mass as usual in the Church (Spanish). I’ll shop a little in the qhatu (feria / open market) early in the morning. My afternoon is free — I’ll probably play a little basketball with the older kids. Monday is a feast day (a Holy Cross feast). We’ll celebrate Mass early and the folks will make the trek up to the Calvary shrine above for devotions and a party. I’ve been advised not to go because everyone gets pretty drunk and you have to join in and, of course, I can’t. I’ll head back to La Paz Tuesday or Wednesday to see if I can finally get my residence card (still waiting!) and open a bank account. Who knows?