Another Journal Entry:
15 June 2014 Sunday
Today we went to the Recoleta Cemetery. Yes, a cemetery.
I was a bit freaked out at first and I kept wondering if I even belonged there being that I it’s against my religion to participate at all in funerals. One of my classmates commented to me that she doesn’t do grave yards at all and we were able to connect. I quoted what Jesus said to his disciple, “let the dead, burry the dead”.
Nevertheless, I went along with my class and Dr. Anderson and at the end was not scared at all. I realized walking through that the Recoleta Cemetery was actually a tourist site! Imagine, a cemetery as place to sight see! But it is indeed like no other cemetery I ever saw! It is literacy a city of the dead! We walked in and had a time finding our way out.
We met our tour guide, Simon, who made the tour very interesting and informative. It is at this site I begin to understand the story of the Peron’s and Roca, the father of the disappearance, since I was behind readings.
Simon’s mind seemed to be a store house of innocuous anecdote. He told us stories about government officials as well as others who happened to be buried in the cemetery. A few stuck with me and if I could have a favorite, it will be the couple who always argued. The man held power of some sort which made the family rich. The women loved to shop, not clothing shopping but high art and things of value. She shopped and created debt for herself and her husband until he put his foot down and told her to quit. Of course she wouldn’t and that is when he refused to pay her debt or associate himself with her buying habit. They stopped talking and their graves were built resembling that fashion. Their backs were towards each other.
I should say here that these tomb stones are huge, some over 10 feet!
I also learned through the story of Rufina Cambaceres (1902 )that Argentina doesn’t waste time in burying the dead, she was buried alive!
The only animal buried in the cemetery is a dog of a girl named Lilliana who died in the 1970’s. She (I forgot if the dog or the girl died that day…) died on her wedding day.
The cemetery was once a garden and is connected to a huge church. It dates all the way back to 1716 and is 14.5 acres which is equivalent to 6 city blocks.
Check out my youtube videos for the full stories.
When you are traveling, the longer you stay away from home, the more you begin to get used to where you are staying. It is usually in the beginning of your stay, while your brain is still making the adjustments, that you learn the most (about the people and the place) with great eagerness.
I went to three fairs while in Argentina and before each fair Dr. Anderson encouraged us to talk to the merchants and try to bargain with them- not shake them down- but make fair bargains with them.
I made great bargains at all the fairs but it was at the Plaza Francia Fair I was able to not only buy two shawls at a great price but to connect with the sales lady and learn the meaning of the indigenous people’s flag.
Each square and each color means something within the universe and more importantly, the meanings also have a lot to do with the women’s body. This is what I picked up:
the white square means the women
the yellow square means the children
the orange square means the youth
the red square means the men
the purple square means the knowledge of the Elderly people
the blue square means the knowledge of the cosmos or universe
and the green square is the earth
The 7 colors represents the 7 days and in total there are 49 squares. 4+9= 13. The 13 represents the 13 months of the year of the original people. They don’t / didn’t have 12 months. It’s 13 months because each month has 28 days like the cycle of the women. There are also 13 bones in the column and 1+3 = 4 which stands for north, south, east and west.
The flag also stands for the elements of life: fire, water, air and the earth. The top of the flag stands for the head, the two sides stands for the hands and bottom for the feet. In the original language, feet and earth meant the same thing.
The center of the flag stands for the connection of the earth to the unborn babies and the harmony of the earth and 4 elements.
I think I may have missed something in translation so I made a video of her teaching me and posted it on youtube.
I am taking an interesting and complex class this summer at the College of New Rochelle entitled: Race, Class and Nation in Argentina.
We do most of our studying and discussions in New York but for one week and few days we will study in Argentina.
Here we are! We had just gotten off the plane and were so happy we safely arrived in Argentina. It was one flight from New York straight to Argentina.
I will discuss more of my journey as time continues.