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Our Earth, Our Future, Our present blessing

The indigenous way to see the earth in Bolivia, demands that you call it not only 'earth' but 'MOTHER EARTH'. In Bolivia we have native indigenous people coming from 36 different ethnical groups. All of them are very respectful to Mother Esrth. Many of our indian nations have only a few hundred inhabitants, some have thousands and only two (quechua and aymara) have hundreds of thousand inhabitants. Of the nine million people in Bolivia, 80% come from a mixture of races, mostly indian and white, and we call them 'cholos' and 'cholas', and they have social values that differ from those of native indians in the fact that they tend to mix their traditions with white or Spanish traditions. Native indigenous always show us a cleaner, clearer path to living in harmony with Mother Earth. Although Cholos (the vast majority of our population), have evolved into different stages of modernization, they never forget the ancient indigenous rite of saying thanks to Mother Earth every first friday of the month by burning what we call a 'Mesa' (Table), which includes rustic candy in the form of a house, a truck, or whatever you want Mother Earth to preserve for you, five different kinds of dry herbs and medicinal plants, some pieces of colored rustic wool, some silver and gold pieces of shiny paper, two or three rustic cigarretes, twelve coca leaves, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and some inciense. The mesa is burned in any small device that can be carried around the house to make the smoke get into every room, giving thanks to Mother Earth and asking for her protection. When the burning begins, we usually pray one catholic Our Father prayer. In Bolivia it doesn't matter if you are white, cholo, indian or black. You just do this. You thank mother earth every month. There are also some special dates to honor her with a bigger Mesa: Carnival (on Tuesday), the first friday of August, and in the winter solstice in June. This is something we understand comes from our indigenous heritage, but it has been taught to us by our elderly ones, and is very widespread. Bolivians do this even when they are living in foreign countries.

This is the way we understand llife: in spiritual conexion to Mother Earth. We understand that the earth is not only our home, but our unique blessing.

Happy Earth Day to all.

Latin America and the Caribbean
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