Andres served as our guide throughout the entire day. He drove us in Tosha’s car an hour north to several important sites. We were also joined by Roderigo, his wife, Carmen, and the children Emi (14), Sophia (5), Roderigo (4), and Antonio (3). They were a delight to have along on this journey as they experienced the Mapuche culture with such excitement—often dancing, singing and playing instruments.
First, we visited the historical fort of Fuerte Tucapel. In 1553, the Spaniard who founded Chile, Pedro De Valdivia, created this fort to conquer the native strongholds of the area. With just 2 cannons and 12 men, he destroyed all the natives and the land surrounding the fort.
Next we went to the home of a Mapuche Indian who builds and plays traditional Mapuche instruments. He’s a friend of Andres’ and he invited us into his home to see the instruments. He explained the significance and symbolism of each instrument and played it for us. The children were eager to get their hands on the instruments too, even though they couldn’t play most of them.
Notice Antonia covering her ears. It was so loud.
And then me! I am totally a Mapuche.
Andreas actually knew how to play this one.
After that stop, we went to an interactive outdoor museum which enabled us to go inside the traditional Mapuche homes out of straw. Our guides were Mapuche people, including the chief of the area tribe and his son. They are passionate about teaching and preserving the Mapuche way of life that is deeply connected to the earth.
This is a little Mapuche boy from the tribe.
This is the inside of the meeting house. The things hanging above are foods being smoked. Though their was smoke throughout the house, it didn’t smell very smoky because the ventelation system allows the smoke to go though holes on either side of the ceiling.
They had set the table for us to eat a traditional Mapuche lunch including sopapillas, a meat stew, vegetables and hot chili sauce.
Though the Mapuche now live in more substantial homes, they are of the same design as the straw buildings.
They served us the traditional matte tea. It is so thick with tea that it looks like green mud. You have to suck it through a specially designed silver filter straw. Obviously, it is really strong tasting.
Here is William’s cup of matte tea.
The Mapuches played instruments for us around the fire and told us more about their customs.
On the way in, Tosha found her hollywood star on the sidewalk.
Since we were the only ones there, we talked them into doing a short laughter yoga session with us.
At the end of the day we witnessed a spontaneous laughter moment. Andres in his typical aggressive fashion, stood up so quickly from the table that he bonked heads with his cousin’s wife. Here they are the moment after the bonk.
Then we headed to bed after a wonderful Mapuche day.