Issue - March 2007

March 2007

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This month, Bolivian archaeology and tales of our people invite us to explore our cultural diversity and heritage.

An interview with Ema Paz Noya, and more...

March 2007


by Daniel Vanello

In this moment of cultural and social tension in Bolivian society where the dichotomy between campesino and the “descendents of the colonizers” is dominating, an exceptional author comes to my mind. I said exceptional because of her personal identity that brought her to write in the Quechua language. In fact, all of her poems are written in the language of the pueblo originario, which she then translates into Castellano. Poet, novelist and former radio commentator, Ema Paz Noya, was born in Tarata (Cochabamba) in 1920. My fortunate encounter with this intellectual was held on the 8th of December.

She was born in a land-owning family upon which some Quechua people worked. Most of the times the notions of the native populace working on the land of white people are of exploitation. In her case it was not so; at the question why her family differed from so many others, the reply is simple but profound: “because they knew how to think”. Her childhood has been mostly in the fields with the workers. That is where she internalized the Quechua language and customs.

Her favourite theme in the creation of her poems is the role and figure of the “Mother”. This was spawned by the trauma of her own mother dying when she was only seventeen years old. This is why we want to offer her this space for her poem:

Para Querer a Mi Madre
Mamayta munakunaypaj
Dius qowan jatun sonqota,
Yupaychanaypaj simiyta,
Makiyta yanapanaypaj.

Umaypi churan k’anchayta
“Diuspagarachun” ninaypaj,
noqapay tukuy ruwasqanta
sonqoypi waqaychanaypaj.

Nawisniypi waqayniyta
Waqajtin waqaysinaypaj,
Makisniypitaj kallpata
Llank’aypi yanapanaypaj.

Mamaspa munakuyninta
Sonqoy ukhupi jallch’ani;
Phutikuywan kausajtinku
Waqayninknkuwan waqani.

Mamaypa kusikuyninwan
Sonqoy ukhupi t’ikarin,
Paypa munakuyninwantaj
Qhasqoy junt’asqa qheparin.

Umay mana jap’eqanchu
Mamata chejninankuta,
Paymata paqarimuspa
Qonqayman wich’unankuta.

Mamaj sonqonqa may chhikan
Wawasnin munakunanpaj:
Sonqonchajta winachina
Paytapis munakunapaj.
Para querer a mi madre
Dios me ha dado un corazón,
para elogiarla mi boca,
mi mano para ayudarla.

Ha iluminado mi mente
para decir “Dios te pague”,
guardar dentro mi pecho
todo el amor que me ha dado.

Lágrimas puso en mis ojos
para llorar con su llanto,
y puso fuerza en mis manos
para ayudarla en la brega.

Todo el amor de las madres
lo guardo en mi corazón;
Si viven acongojadas
mis ojos lloran su llanto.

Cuando mi madre se alegra
florece en mi corazón;
con el amor que me brinda
De amor mi pecho se inflama.

Mi miente siente aversión
por los que odian su madre;
que habiendo nacido de ella
la sumen en el olvido.

El corazón de una madre
es grande para sus hijos:
brindémosle nuestro afecto,
Igual como ella nos ama.

The reason for expounding the personal life of this author is the symbolical importance of the cultural dualism between the Quechua and Spanish language that coexist inside her in harmony. If she has managed to find an intrinsic peace between these two identities, I think that an extrinsic one is not impossible. This is why we decided to render honour to her internal symbol by publishing the poem you have just read, reminding that the figure of the mother is analogous to peace.

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