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A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes. Photo by Benjamin Swift (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist), South America Semester.

Celebrating todos de los santos the boliviuan way

On Saturday, November 1, all of us got the chance to experience todos los santos, the day on which Bolivians honor and remember their relatives and friends who passed away.
For Max and I the day started off with packing the various types of bread layed out on the table dedicated to the spirit of our host dad´s dad, since this activity is traditionally fullfilled by a man and a woman. After meeting some extended family who would join us on our journey and storing evrything into the family-owned trufi, we began our 4-hour car ride through La Paz/El Alto and its surrounding areas. As soon as we reached Colocoto, the city the abuelo is burried in, we were greeted by smiling faces of even more family members who arrived before us. After lots of hugs, kisses and `mucho gustos` we soon joined the spirits at the cementary and decorated their graves with flowers, food and drinks. With the clock already reading 3pm it was time for us to eat lunch ourselves, which consisted of an amazingly seasoned chicken and some rice, topped off with cinnamon ice cream. Finally we went down to a near by river and enjoyed the sun. Soon us “children” had to head off to the bus, which would take us back home since the adults would spend the night near the remains of their loved ones.