Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Peter Claver, Patron Saint of Slaves/Pedro Claver, Santo Patrono de los Esclavos
This book would be a great addition to your home library. It is especially great for kids 4-8 years of age.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
According to the law, Community Councils are now recognized as the ultimate authority in the internal administration of the collective territories. The Community Councils oversee the conservancy and protection of the collective property and environment and the protection of their cultural rights. In the past, Community Councils faced constant threats, harassment and assassination. "Many leaders and members of the Community Councils, have lost their lives while protecting the land and environment inherited from their ancestors."
While May 21st is celebrated as the day of slave emancipation in Colombia, it is important to the modern history of the resistance and the peaceful contributions of Afro-Colombians to the building of a democratic and prosperous society. This includes the mention and honoring of those who through peaceful , grassroots means have worked within the legislative process protect and expand the rights of Afro-Colombians.
If the topic of Afro-Colombians interests you, "you can make difference by staying informed and taking action. Question US policies related to Afro-Colombian and Indigenous development and ancestral territories. Ask your legislator to not support any policy toward Colombia before ensuring that the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous rights are not violated or affected." You can also Inform others about the Afro-Colombians."
Monday, August 17, 2009
Also, please leave me a comment about future subjects that you would like to see covered. I'd love to answer questions or give any information that you are specifically looking for.
I have a few ideas for weekly series including searching for Birth Parents, Lifebooks, Colombian authors and painters, more on Afrocolombians, and the Amazon. Abuelita Carmen has also sent me a few new recipes that we can try out.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Otilia Ruiz de Jerez is a native of Raquira. She is also perhaps its most famous artist. She was a master sculptor, using the same techniques as mentioned last week with Tia Isabel. However, rather than making the traditional pots and cooking implements, she began sculpting people and religious art. Unlike some of the other people that had began using ceramic molds, each one of her works was unique -- handmade and hand painted.She is considered one of Colombia's 7 Art Masters and as such she has earned recognition on the Luis Angel Arango National Library Website. See her picture and more of her art at the following link:
In 1994, when my husband and I were married, we were in a mall in Bogota. Inside, on the top floor, was an Art store. In the windows of the store were a bunch of statues made of red clay, most were religious in nature. They were very unique. So, we stopped to ask about them. The salesman told us that they were original "Otilias". I checked the price -- and they were pretty much out of our league, so we thanked the man and moved on.
A few months later, we were in Raquira. There in one of the stores were more of those neat statues. We asked about them, and sure enough, they were original "Otilias". We found one in our price range and were able to bring her back to the US without breaking her. She now sits in our living room with a companion that we purchased several years later.
I guess they are a collectors item as Otilia Ruiz died in 2000. Now, her trade is continued by her daughter, Rosa Jerez. You can buy statues made by Rosa in Raquira. They are a bit more pricey ($40-$75 US) than the multitudes of other massed produced ceramics, but a wonderful investment and a unique Colombian treasure.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Ráquira is the Chibcha name meaning "City of Pots", and that is exactly what it is. Originally, an area of a small Chibcha population governed by the Cacique Suaya and under the authority of the Zaque of Hunza (Tunja), the conquistadors passed through the village on their way to Bogotá in 1537. The city of Raquirá was 'founded' in 1580 by Fray Francisco de Orjuela, on October 18. The Natives of the area were then taught Catholicism by Augustine Monks who founded the first Augustine Monestary in the Americas in 1607 just outside of Ráquira.
Ráquira is an amazing place to spend a couple of hours. It is about 20-30 minutes from Villa de Leyva. Make sure to bring your wallet and be prepared to make some amazing finds in this little town that was named the most beautiful pueblo of Boyacá in 1994. When you are finished shopping, head back to Bogotá on Sunday night -- about a 4 hour drive.
All Raquira Photos by:
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Outside of the Museum, dozens of people are selling fossils they have found in the area. You can pick up 5 inch size AMMONITES for just a few dollars.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Art and ceramic making classes
Friday, August 07, 2009
Pedro Pascasio: Heroe antes de los doce años
Fernando Soto Aparicio
Here is a link to Amazon:
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Pedro Pascasio Martinez Rojas, is the 12 year old boy hero of Colombian Independence. Born on October 20, 1807, in Belén, Boyacá, to a VERY POOR peasant family. He became enamored of the idea of liberty.
His whole family worked for one of the wealthy land owning families of Belén, the family of Juan Jose Leyva. Even at his young age, Pedro Pascasio was expected to serve the Leyva family. In his capacity as servant, Pedro Pascasio overheard his employer and his Criollo friends discuss Bolivar's progress and their hopes for liberty from what they considered to be Spanish tyranny.
Pedro was inspired by their revolutionary conversations. He wanted nothing more than to join Bolivar. But, no one would take him seriously. He was just a child.
This is the monument in honor of Pedro Pascasio and El Negro José that is found not too far (about 1/2 mile) from Puente Boyacá. It has been placed near the Piedra de Barreiro. Worth a stop if you decide to follow my Been There, Done That -- liberty weekend trip while in Colombia.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Here's a refresher on Pantano de Vargas:
On August 3, after receiving new recruits and supplies, Bolivar once again began his push toward Bogotá. Expecting this, Spanish General José María Barreiro, headed to Tunja, hoping to block the rebels advance there. However, Bolivar had also anticipated Barreiro's move. He marched his troops toward Tunja not stopping to sleep or rest. On August 5 Bolivar's troops arrived at Tunja. This was long before Barreiro, and therefore, the city was easily taken and secured. The supplies meant for Barreiro that were found there -- food, medicine, horses, and ammunition -- were confiscated and distributed among Bolivar's troops.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Boyaca is one of the splendid departments of Colombia for its landscapes and its vegetation, and of most interesting for its history. The famous battle of Puente de Boyaca put an end to Spanish colonization; Simon Bolivar had passed by the village of Tutazá, where he had requested the Virgin of the Rosary, and when he had called upon “the Blessed Virgin of over there where they make pots”, he had been victorious in the famous Battle of Pantano de Vargas; the statues of the Virgin and Bolivar thus decorate the center place of the village, and now, the “Virgin of the small pots”, thus it is called, is venerated every year on the first Sunday of October and those which precede the Ash Wednesday. These days, the village is literally besieged by an huge crowd of pilgrims who visit the church in an attempt to receive a hoped for miracle.
Very many tradesmen unpack their wares around the church, and the potters of the surrounding areas bring their earthenware jars, their pots and areperos...The potters are not very numerous anymore, and almost all come from the hamlet close to Tuaté, whose inhabitants are dispersed on the majestic hills. They preserve rudimentairy but beautiful techniques of manufacture and baking; that is nowadays very rare in Colombia...the baking of the pottery on the ground, without furnace, such as the original inhabitants of America before the conquest had practised it.
We went from Belen to Tutazâ on foot through the wet and green landscape, among the morsels of corn and barley, the animals in the valley, the nets of smoke rise from the baking of the last pots, the maletas (carrying cases) - the pottery is bond tight in the nets of hemp cord, between each of them they are protected by some grasses or some ferns - and are placed on the backs of small donkies or on the backs of the potters themselves. And like this, the peasants of Tuaté prepare for the festival of the Virgin of the Pots.
We have appointment with Isabel Garcia the valiant potter. She awaits us and watches for us from her house -- a tiny adobe at the foot of a gigantic fir tree, which agitates its arms as a sign of welcome. The dwellings of Tuaté are all built in the same way -- two small buildings facing each other. One is the kitchen, very dark, with its open fire or its three stones for the hearth. On a frame of braided branches under the roof the pots are placed for final drying. Facing the kitchen, is the other small building. This one has two small rooms with wood beds and a storage area containing the grain, the potato bags, and corn hanging from the ceiling out of reach rodents. There are calendars or holy pictures on the walls. The meals are eaten outside under the roof the connects the two buildings. It is there that one rests with shelter from the sun or the rain. It is there that one works the clay.
Within three steps of the house, there is a laundry area where clear and fresh water runs continuously.
The mines are far away and it is a challenge for the potter to get there.. The clay is extracted with wood tools because the use of metal risks exhausting the resources of the mine, according to the local belief. The potters are helped but little by their husbands who are occupied in the fields and it is necessary for them to bring back the dirt on their backs, sometimes walking several kilometers.
Monday, August 03, 2009
According to tradition, as Bolivar crossed the Andes and began his trek through Boyacá -- where he would eventually win the Battle of Boyacá and achieve Independence for Colombia -- he passed thorugh the small village of Tutazá. In Tutazá, the people were famous for creating all kinds of things out of clay -- pots, jars, statues, figurines, etc. While in Tutazá, he had seen the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church and also the many of the clay pots and figurines in the village.
Incredibly, I have been to this tiny town -- at the end of a dirt road -- in the middle of know where -- not once, but twice. While it is not the easiest place to get to, it was very picturesque. The picture is of the statues found in the main plaza. They depict Simon Bolivar and the Virgin of the Tiestecitos.