Then Don took us to the Interfaith Chapel to show him around and we drove out to the Marin Headlands where he could get a sense of the topography of the land and sea.
Of all this the things that impressed him most were the areas that have been set aside as natural parks, the endless vistas of pine and mixed hardwood forest viewed from the crest of the Sierras, and the care that we give to setting aside natural places for posterity. There are no forests in the Andes and few trees anywhere. Every square inch that can be cultivated or used for grazing is.
During this time we bought him a small video camera for his work in recording the remaining rituals of his people and encouraged him to use it. I worked with him extensively on expanding his use of the computer with Google, Google Earth, and Wikipedia. He could not believe what can be learned from just “Googling” a bit of information. Not long after that he brought me the computer with something he had found on You Tube and wanted me to watch it.
It seems there is a village in the Peruvian Andes with a rather unique custom. No one in the village is allowed to fight at any time during the year. It seems that two guys trashed a church once and the local priest set up this custom in order to prevent it from ever happening again. On Christmas day the entire village goes to the bull ring, the police act as referees, and anyone with a gripe against anyone else may call them out one at a time, at that time. Men and women both do this and it seems that at least 80% of the arguments for both men and women are over who got the lover. It has now become the standing joke between Don, Anna, Greg and me. “Why no I’m not angry, I will see you at Christmas.”
Alejandrino was our guest speaker at the “People of the Earth” conference held this year on November 20th at the Interfaith Chapel of the Presidio, in San Francisco. I did the set up and food prep and service and Don handled the programing, and hosting. Greg taped his talk but, unfortunately Alejandrino took both the CD and chip with him in error leaving us no copy.
I learned many things while he was here. I discovered just how large is the gap between the modern corporate world that we are used to doing business in and his indigenous, one village one family, world. Communication is incredibly difficult. Even face to face communication where one can pull him back into the topic at hand is a challenge. At times I had to ask a question two or three times in two or three different ways in order to get him to address it directly without a major preamble. E mail communication is all but impossibly frustrating. He has no internet and the likelihood that he soon will have is slim. When he does it will be the most jury rigged set up you can possibly imagine with friends stringing the line from whatever they can find for some distance. Even the connection will be made by “a friend who knows how to do these things” rather than the supplier. This is of course if they can raise the funds for the cable. He has no understanding of how the system works and did not understand that any computer can be connected. He thought that the entire system had to be hard wired to a single computer.
Still I continue to move, I think, forward. Our next plan is to get him a set of by-laws that they can use to model a set for their organization. CoG’s are the best suited but that means translating them into Spanish. OMG!!! As if they were not complicated enough in English.
The last words that he left both Don and me with were that there is a ritual in December that is as ancient as his people and very secret as they do not want the Government or the Church to know about it. He wants us all to attend this ritual next December. It is a several mile hike into the mountains from the last point at which you can drive a car. “But don’t worry,” he says to me “I will get you a horse to ride”.