Issue - March 2007

March 2007

Read and enjoy the cocha-banner!

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

The Giant Camacho

story told by Demetrio Medrano
written by Hernan Medrano
edited by Kara Ryan

Jaywayku, one of the most historic places in Cochabamba, known for its sun-dried mud bricks as we see in many local photographs.

This is the place where a character, or phenomenon, as many called him, began. Manuel Camacho, known as the “Gigante Camacho” (Giant Camacho), was a robust, built man, who stood 2 meters and 22 cm. tall. This man would not only make Jaywayku, Cochabamba famous, but also the surname Camacho.

Manuel Camacho’s parents were Mr. Juan Camacho and Ms. Paulina Medrano. They were a humble couple who worked making bricks in their own kiln. His family lived in an area of Jaywayku between the Cabildo and Avenida Fuerza Aerea.

It was near his home where people would discover him. It was a rainy day, as 2 donkeys carrying wood, fell down in the little lake “Charco”. The owners asked for help, when suddenly, between the corn stalks, came Manuel Camacho. With an incredible strength, he picked up the donkeys and put them on his back. When they donkeys’ owners saw this, they called him evil and ran away afraid.

Some days later, forgetting what his parents told him (in fear that a similar situation would occur), Manuel went out again to help a couple of foreigners whose car was in trouble, in a little lake full of mud. He picked up the car and put it safe on the dry land, and then he walked back home.

The following day, the Jaywayku people, afraid of what they saw and heard, decided to look for Manuel to rid of him because they considered him to be evil and not human. But his parents, protecting him from these people, helped him escape from home. Some days after, he was found by foreigners who offered him work in an international circus as an entertainer. Happily, he accepted.

Throughout the following weeks (or months), Manuel traveled to some countries working with the circus, but little by little, the economic resources were declining, until one day the circus ended. After this, Manuel had to return to his home in Jaywayku, where the people welcomed him with a big party because he was now well known and famous throughout the world.

Sharing drinks and food with his parents, friends and neighbors, he met Paulina Medrano who would later become his wife and the mother of his son (unknown name). Their marriage was celebrated in the Church of San Joaquin. For a long time, Manuel Camacho fought as a wrestler. Needless to say, he was champion for a long time. Until, one day he fell ill and took to his bed. The doctor said that his illness was consequence of his size.

This confusing moment was profited by Argentinean scientists who offered to pay Manuel a lot of money to preserve him as a human fossil. One day, when Manuel was so sick, he decided to accept the proposition and travel to Argentina. That day he said goodbye to his family and left for the Argentinean museum, where the body of the legendary Gigante Camacho remains.

Urban agriculture
A simple definition of urban agriculture would be 'the production, for consumption, of crops or raising livestock in urban and peri-urban areas'. In this definition a single lemon tree in a city backyard is considered urban agriculture...
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