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August 2017: A wedding in Peru

On the 5th of August we were at a special wedding in Cusco, Peru. It was the wedding of Doña Marquesa, wellknown Ñusta Paqo of the lineage of the Apaza family from Q'eros. And we had the honour of being 'Hatun Padrinos' (major godfathers). Still jetlagged from our flight from Europe two days before and the 7 hour time difference we reported at Doña Marquesa's house in 'Alto Cusco', a place where most of the indiginous people and so most Q'eros that moved to Cusco live, that Saturday at 11.30 a.m.

The complete weddingparty was already waiting for us as well as the present mayor of Kiko, their community in the Q'eros territory in the hihglands of Paucartambo. Whe knew him well, since the first time we visited Kiko 8 years ago he was the president of the community and we were officially met by him when we arrived. He had come all the way to Cusco to marry the couple.

The official part of the wedding lasted only 20 minuits. A short speech by the mayor, a statment by the parents and the godfathers that they agreed to the match and a signature of all. Then they exchanged the weddingbands we had brought for them. All present were very interested in this part, because this did not use to be part of their tradition. The rings were greatly appreciated as a special gift of a community of friends in Europe, part of our Ayllu who had given us donations for this purpose.

Then we were all served food that had been prepared by the familymembers of Doña Marquesa and her husband Maximo. They had all travelled from Kiko to Cusco for the wedding. The entire patio of their house was turned into a big kitchen with cookingfires everywhere. We saw tremendous amounts of food being prepared and wondered where all the gusts would be received. We understood when after eating we were taken to a big enclosure nearby. Here we were planted behind a table next to the bride and groom and the other padrinos, cousins of both Marquesa and Maximo. And here started a party that would last for two whole days. More that 300 people turned up, mostly from communities in Q'eros. We had to stay by the bride and groom all the time, to the extreme that, when somebody had to go to the toilet, we would all take each other by the hand and find a place together where pictures where made of us. Of course for the Q'ero women with their wide skirts that was no problem, they just squatted next to the men. But for me it was, so I just squatted witout lowering my pants to the understanding mirth of the onlookers. In the gallery and the videos you can see a lot of pictures but alas, I have not been able (yet) to get a picture of this moment, since Peter and I were of course occupied and could not take one. Another tradition, and one we appreciated much more, was the way the couple was given their weddinggifts, mostly money, that was put by the other padrino into a big bowl (that each time we had to perform the peescene he took with him). The gusts would take two long laces that were tied to bride and groom and would perform a little dance, pulling themselves in with the lace and touching the forehead of bride or groom with the money before putting it in the bowl. They would then receive a bottle of beer or soda and a bag of snacks. And went off dancing in a circle.

Of course with our jet lag and we were not able to stay the 48 hours continuously. We did our best but had to got to sleep when for us it felt like over midnight. We turned up the next day again and found the party still going, the family still cooking and a very tired bride and groom and second padrinos. Again we stayed till we could. We later learned that finally shortly after midnight the party was decalred to an end.

The next day, August 7th, we went to a beautiful place not far from Cusco, the lagoon Huakarpay, a sacred place to the Inkas. And here we celebrated, together with a small party consisituing of Doña Marquesa, Maximo, their two sons, three brothers of Maximo and Don Alejandro, Marquesa's father, a ceremony of offering to Pachamama for the spiritual commitment that the bride and groom had made to each other. Huakarpay is a very special place to us, it is the location of the water ñusta, Tonia Mujia of the Ñusta Karpay. Throughout the years we have celebrated many ceremonies there and have received our Mosoq Karpay there several times. This day was a much more solemn and intimate celebration. We greatly enjoyed it and were happy to be with these people that we love so dearly.

The next day we went to buy the rest of the weddinggift that we could pay from the donations of Doña Marquesa's friends in Europe: a modern gas stove. Up till now Doña Marquesa has been cooking all meals for her big family on a traditional fire. And this was one of her and her children's wishes. So we went to a big store and they picked out a model to their liking. There was even still money for a watercooker and a blender. Though the store would have delivered it at their houde the next day, we loaded it into a stationcar taxi to take it up to Alto Cusco, because the family that had come from the Q'ero communities had to leave the next day and they wanted them to see it. In the pictures you can see their happy faces. We went to buy the gas container and installationkit and even installed it for them. We can fully understand that Maximo and Marquesa had this wish, but also we think that the traditional firestove they built themselves is wonderful. And we are happy to find that Doña Marquesa still uses it very much. In the next blog we will tell you about the wonderful trip to Puno and Bolivia that was our personal gift as godfathers to the couple.

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