Bolivia: Waturikunapuni that Inspires the Time of Creation

Beauty and the importance of the encounter with others that is a bearer of things new

Waturikunapuni is the word with which the women of the Cochabamba valley express co-responsibility in the care of relationships. When you miss someone or something, the word waturikunapuni emerges which means “you always have to ask about the other person”.

For the Quechua people, word and action go together and this implies the activity of going to visit each other with an attitude of attentive listening and emphasizing constancy as interdependence. This simple action strengthens and, in some cases, restores the relationships that make the world our common home.

In this time of creation, it could inspire us to “embody” an integral ecology centred on caring for relationships. The word-action is mobilized on an interior level because each recognizes the absence of the other and asks for information; it moves you to leave your space of physical and emotional safety to visit the other person at his home.

This reminds us of the account of Luke 1: 39-40: “In those days Mary got up and went quickly to the mountainous region, to a city of Judah. Entering the house of Zacharias, she greeted Elizabeth”. Let’s imagine Mary who, like many women today, walks quickly with her senses sharpened by pregnancy as she smells the scent of the mountain and breathes the fresh air … she hurries along the path, hearing her every footstep… while the hearts of the mother and child beat together along the way.

The word-action also generates an external mobilization, which manifests itself when the person arrives at the house, the territory of the other and near the house shouts in a friendly tone wasiyoj, which means “one who has a home”.

It is a way of expressing the awareness that you are in someone else’s territory and that you need to ask for permission to enter. Then the person who owns the house replies Yaykumullay, “Come in, feel free to enter my house”.

This movement, leaving one’s home and walking along the road that leads to the territory and to the other’s house, asking to be welcomed takes on a very profound meaning. And it refers to Pope Francis’ frequent invitation to be an outgoing Church, with the attitude recommended by Exodus 3.5: “Take off your sandals, because the place you are standing on is holy ground!”.

And when the meeting finally takes place, the visitor says Waturikuj jamorqayki, “I have come to see you, to ask you how you are, to be here with you”. Then, the looks, the expressive hands and the words that flow full of attention and interest in the person. It is a mystical time made up of silences that deepen the experience of being together to nurture one another.

This meeting is followed by an invitation: the one visited takes some food and gives it to the visitor saying Waturikujchari jamunki, kayta apakuy wasiman qankunapaj, which means “You passed away; take this home, for yourself”. Saying “home” evokes an enlarged community! May the sobriety of the Waturikunapuni inspire us to celebrate the time of creation!

(Photo: Unsplash/ Amy Rollo) – (Tania Ávila Meneses)