Carnival is a well-known tradition in most Catholic countries. It’s the celebration that takes place right before Lent, 40 days before Easter. Its name comes from the Latin carnem levare, which loosely translated into “to put away meat”, as theoretically Catholics aren’t supposed to eat meat during Lent (this might come in handy for me as a vegetarian). In my role as a socio-cultural scientist, I went to perhaps the most traditional Argentinian Carnival — the Carnival of Tilcara, Jujuy. Very appropriately, I was accompanied by a man named Jesús.
The Calchaquí Valley (Valles Calchaquíes) is no doubt the most emotional place that I’ve been to so far in South America. The view towards the valley from any of its multicolored mountains is beyond impressive, and the stories of locals bring the whole landscape into a deeper context which makes the experience even far more intense than the mere sight of it. Yet, the tragic history of the valley is present in every rock on the ground, in every ray of the sun, in the look in every local’s eyes. And at the same time, it all feels sacred — which to its inhabitants, it is.
Paraguay is definitely not a country known for its gender equality. Quite on the contrary. It is speculated that due to historical happenings, it’s one of the most chauvinistic countries in whole South America. Why? Because during the War of Triple Alliance (1864–1870), most Paraguayan men were killed and the country was left with a nearly all-female population who would do anything to win over the hearts of the few remaining men.
I find anthropology fascinating. To study of human life in different societies is one of the things I most love to do. So, imagine my double-layered enthusiasm when taken to an introductory class of anthropology and social systems in a culture, which already in itself is somewhat new to me. In other words, getting the opportunity to observe people observing people. Yep, that’s what I’ve done in Formosa, Northern Argentina,
On the border of Brazil and Paraguay lies a town named Guaíra — a small yet modern town with restaurants, bars and all the usual commodities that differentiate urban from rural. In short, this place is nowhere near the jungle, yet it is home to eight indigenous tribes which have only recently moved back to the lands they once used to inhabit.
Everyone in Southern Europe is acquainted with the phenomenon of rose salesmen. It’s impossible not to be, as these mainly Bangladeshi men tirelessly stroll around the city streets, trying to make a living out of selling roses to wealthy Europeans. It’s no secret that the potential clientele often feels harassed just by the sole sight of these rose men with their colorful flower bundles. But who are these men?
In November 2015, I set out to explore the vast and diverse realities of Latin America, and to question the persistent stereotypes of crime and violence in this region. I decided to do this by cycling first through South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia from 2015-2017), then through Central America from May 2018. Through local women, I have become more and more involved in female empowerment and tackling male supremacy on this beautiful continent I now call home.