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Photo by Benjamin Swift, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Teatro Trono!!!

Teatro Trono was incredible. The people there were all super friendly, excited to get to know us and welcome us into the community with open arms. On the first day, we did an interactive play about the history of El Alto. It was an emotional rollercoaster of sadness, anger, happiness, and excitement. Then we climbed way too many stairs to do a workshop. It was on a theory that two of the members, Fabian and Lucho, came up with about how to “decolonize the body.” The second day, they took us on a tour of El Alto in a combination of walking, driving, and teleférico-ing (gondolas). They gave us some historical background of the city and showed us some really cool projects. One was an apartment complex with murals on all sides of the buildings. It was designed as an affordable housing project by a famous Bolivian artist named Mamanimamani.

Then, back at Teatro Trono, we watched another play, adding more to our historical knowledge of El Alto. The third and final day was a closing ceremony and dinner with the cast. The ceremony was a traditional Aymara ritual for health. We all sat in a circle, and Lenia, the woman who took charge of the ceremony, put a little Agua de Florida in our hands and passed out these little shapes made of sugar. Oscar, the other guy there, gave us all a small chunk of llama fat and a tuft of wool. We rubbed the fat into the sugar and wrapped it into the wool like a little present. Once everyone had done that, we took turns placing it on the “mesa” in the middle of the circle. That was the end of the ceremony, and it was time for dinner. I sat next to one of the members that I’d never seen before. His name was Lucho (yes, there were two Luchos). We had a really nice conversation, and I found out that he was going to law school. Then we had cake to celebrate Benny’s birthday again and two weeks later. During the cake eating, I was next to Fabian and found out that we have the same birthday. I guess December 4th is the best birthday after all. We said our goodbyes, and Motas, one of the actors, did all of our names in graffiti. Back at the hostel, we finished our packing, watched Hereditary, and left for the airport. It was 3:00 am.