It’s a sunny day near our Fatima site in Bolivia, and the winds have slowed. Some might even call it a lucky day.
A group of elders are gathering with families and friends, some for the first time in over a year. It’s to be a meeting of friendly conversation over lunch.
“These diseases are taking our time,” says one woman, Mrs. Cristina. She’s arrived with her granddaughter and grandson and has just spotted a friend. It’s been over a year since she last saw this person.
Incessant words have rung in their ears this year. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a constant refrain of, “Take care of yourselves, don’t go out or touch other people.” Their lives are lived in confinement, and they can no longer partake in their interests among friends.
Time, for these older adults, is a precious resource. Today, time is gained, as they feel strength in their bodies and hope in their hearts.
Smiles and enthusiasm are overflowing, and the grandson of Mrs. Cristina makes a surprising request. He wants to hear the music they sing at home.
When he hears the tune, and the humming of his grandmother, he turns to her and says, “Jatun mamay tusurina”, meaning an invitation to dance. He is speaking in one of the Quechaun languages, a family of languages spoken by the Indigenous of South America.
The space is full of colour, dance, food, joy and hope. Those, the site staff write, the pandemic did not take away.