An interview with a midwife from Ghana


JB (Julie Buck): Okay, so I am here with my friend Cay and she grew up in Ghana so Cay could you tell me a little bit first off what it is like growing up in Ghana and could you tell me what year you grew up in Ghana?

CS (Cay Smith): I was born and grew up in Ghana. I went to school until I completed my twelfth grade, and then I went to Midwifery School and became a certified midwife. It took two-and-a-half years for that program and I practiced midwifery until I decided to migrate to the United States to get more of the civilized way of doing things, which is quite a bit different from how we do it back home in Ghana, and since then I have been here.


JB: So did you grow up mostly like in the ’60s and ’70s in Ghana?

CS: Yes. I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s and then I came to the United

States in the ’90s.


JB: So the culture, at least when you were younger, was it very tribalistic or how was the culture?

CS: It is very tribalistic because I always tell people it’s like part of the country is more traditional, and those who have the privilege to go abroad, mostly Europe. They also have a modern  lifestyle. So we combine both and work it out side by side, because those were the traditional mentality and you got to go around them with a lot of carefulness because not everything you tell them they even accept or understand. Right now things are changing because our children have gone abroad and come back home and tell them, well we don’t do it like this anymore. That is not the way it is. So, they are getting the message little by little.


JB: So has the affluency changed in Africa that you can see as you have grown up? What is the rate of poverty? Is it normal to have poverty, because I grew up thinking that Ghana was one of the poorest countries in the world.

CS: Yeah, we have poverty, and then we have the rich and then the middle class. We have both, yeah. We have both, and the poverty is still there. The poverty is still there and in fact some people, they don’t even realize that they are in poverty because that is their life so they are used to it and that is how they live.


JB: What would be a normal traditional African dinner?

CS: Well we do have breakfast in the morning. We do have lunch in the afternoon, and then we do have dinner in the evening, but because of the tribal differences in every tribe in the type of food they eat, yeah.


JB: It’s different.

CS: It’s different in preparation, but sometimes it is the same ingredients, but the way they prepare is different, so we do eat three times a day. JB: So did you grow up in a middle class or upper class or lower class?

CS: I would say upper class because my family on both sides, my mom is mixed with German and African, and my dad is mixed with Dutch and African, so they live both styles. They live both styles. We eat African food most of the time. In fact the Dutch and the Germans, my great parents that married these African women, they love African food, so that’s what we eat. Yeah.

JB: So what are your favorite African type foods?

CS: Oh the pepper is number one. Pepper is number one. We have different types of pepper but they like the hot hot pepper.

JB: What color are the hot peppers?


CS: They grow green. Then as time goes on the color changes to red or brown. In

summer, yellow.


JB: Okay. And you told me once about food for the fufu. Could you explain what that is?

CS: Yes? Fufu is the dehydrated plantain. Okay plantain is the bigger size of a banana sister. I will say plantain banana or cassava. You know, but bananas are sweet and small and plantain grows big and greenish and then it starts to turn yellowish little by little. By doing so the piths become sweet, sweeter, and sweetist. So the green part is dehydrated. Here in America it has been dehydrated and milled into a powder form, and that’s what we use it to prepare the food for. Back home we cook it directly from the tree and we pound it in a mortar and it becomes the same like the ones we use hot water here to prepare. 


JB: And it makes kind of like a dough right?

CS: Yeah it is like a dough, it’s like a dough, it’s like, yes a dough smooth and stretchy. Not too soft, but the texture depends. Some like it a little bit tough; some like it medium; some like it very very soft.


JB: So at home how long do you have to pound it to get it the right consistency?

CS: Well when you are pounding the fresh plantain in the mortar, it is a long process. You have to take your time and pound it until it becomes smooth. But as you are pounding it you have to turn it. You have to turn it. You have to turn it to make sure that it doesn’t fall.


JB: Like kneading bread, kind of.

CS: Yes, just like you are kneading flour bread, yeah. And, that’s how we do it.


JB: So you said that you actually had to live with your relatives at age 15. Do you want to explain a little bit about that?

CS: When my parents died I was approaching 16. So I lived with my grandmother and my aunts, and then when I turned 18 I went to the midwifery training school for two-and-a-half years. So by the time that I completed it, I was 21. And then that school had a program where as soon as you graduate, they place you at a hospital or a clinic or anywhere within the country that they need help. They have houses already built, so when you are transferred, by the time you get there your house is waiting for you.


JB: Is it the school that decides where you are going to work or is it the


CS: It is the government. At the school they will prepare you.


JB: And do you like that way of the government doing it, or do you like it how we do it in America where everyone finds their own job their own way?

CS: I like the way the government does it over there, because here to find a job on your own is very difficult. Your application will remain on file. In the U.S. you are number 200 in line to get a job. But there you don’t waste time at all. By the time you graduate, your place is waiting for you.


JB: Do you elect your local officials, or how are the government officials chosen?

CS: Well the people elect them. The people choose them, because we all know the politicians around, so when it is election time, you vote for who you want, yeah.


JB: So do you know the politicians because you talk to each other and your

neighbors, or do they do advertising, like in America they do?

CS: Yeah they do advertising. Yeah, because not everybody knows who is who. Yeah.

JB: Tell me a little bit about the music and the culture.

CS: Okay, like I said earlier, every tribe has its culture. Every tribe has its music, like if I hear a music I know which tribe it is right away. And that’s how it goes. You know, but those are for entertainment purposes. Other than that they embrace both European music and American music because we have radio stations that play all the music around the world. 


JB: One thing that I learned in a music-culture class is that the drumming in African music is different. So in American music we can usually count to three or four, but in African music they can usually count to ten or eleven.

CS: Yeah, that is the drum, and the drums are made traditional. It is not the drums that are made from Europe or America. They made it themselves, and they put it between their legs and they beat the drums with their, you know, hands, and so that’s how they come up with their own music. Yeah. But then as time went on people started to learn foreign music, to play trumpet, to play cornet, to play anything that is musical, piano. I grew up with my grandfather having three pianos in the living room, and when I’m practicing I will run my fingers through…glissando

sound. My mom would scream stop messing with the piano. So we have musicians in the family. My aunt married a man who is very good at playing the guitar, and one of his sons knows how to play piano. So, we have musicians in the family. 


JB: So were there rural areas that were basically farming communities? And if so, what would people farm?

CS: Yes there are areas of farming communities. In fact when I was practicing midwifery, I was posted to a rural area where it is a completely farming community, and I was the midwife in charge of the clinic, so every Wednesday and Friday I held a clinic where the pregnant women would come and get their examinations and medications and everything. And I do delivery at the same time because the clinic was built in the way that it had everything that the midwife would need. You don’t have to travel miles to another hospital. So it was good. I enjoyed being there, but a rural area is a rural area! I got to the  point where my children are growing and I want them to come to the city. 


JB: And did you remember any of the things that they would farm in those areas?

CS: Oh they farm everything you can think of. Everything. Vegetables, I mean everything I see here, they grow it over there in abundance.  And then they have animal husbandry too. Some go into goats and sheep and pigs and cows and all the feathery birds like turkeys and ducks and chickens. I mean everything,everything is there. Everything is there, but one thing I notice here… you have the slaughter house that slaughters the animals and brings them to the store. There you will buy it as it is and you go and do your own slaughtering.


JB: Do you do it at a slaughterhouse or do you do it at home, or where do you do it?

CS: Yeah, you slaughter it at home. You slaughter it at home. Except for the cow and the sheep and the goat and the pigs, the farmers themselves do the slaughtering and then they bring it to the market, but the city has inspectors who go and inspect that the meat is in good condition to sell to the people. And in fact, if you don’t go early, by 11:00 o’clock to 12:00 noon, everything is finished, because people are rushing to buy and to go home and cook. 


JB: One time you said that over there they would say that Americans have no culture, and you told me about a dance they would do. Could you tell me more about that?

CS: Well, you know, because they have different tribes, they would look at each tribe’s culture to identify this person as his or her culture. Okay, here in America, all the 50 states have been put together, and they do everything the same way, that there’s no difference between Indiana and Denver, Colorado. When you see them they are all the same. But in Ghana when you see Ewe and you see Akan tribe, you can tell right away from the way they dress, and the way they speak. So we used to joke that Americans don’t have a culture. But that doesn’t mean that Americans don’t have a culture. And now that I have lived here so long I have found that every state has their own peculiar way of doing things.


JB: Awesome, and do they… how do they dress?

CS: They wrap the fabric around their waist and then they have a way of sewing the tuck… oh I forgot the name. They have it here. Sometime ago I saw some kind of design similar to that on top of a skein, and then they wrap their head with the same piece of the fabric and that’s how they dress. But now, they are wearing American dress. They are wearing American shoes. You wouldn’t believe they are now dressing their hair and putting rollers in and I was like oh my… these people are really into it now.


JB: And would the fabric be colorful usually?

CS: Yes. They have colorful fabrics. Each tribe has its own taste that they buy, so all the fabrics that are shipped into the country from Europe, they make the fabrics according to tribal taste. Yeah.


JB: And then the tribes, do they speak their own languages?

CS: Mm-hmm. I had to learn how to speak some of the languages because when I was posted to the rural area I speak Guan and that area doesn’t speak Guan, so I had to learn how to speak certain words to deal with a pregnant woman who is trying to tell me I want to drink water. I have to find somebody to Help…and ask, ‘what is she saying’? Then they will tell me, oh she said she wanted water. I’m like, oh, okay. But by and by I learned how to speak it, and then I will speak it,

and when I speak it they will laugh at me because I’m not familiar with the way it is real, but they understand what I’m trying to say. 


JB: I don’t think it would be complete without asking about the spiritism and a little bit about the occult, the voodoo. Can you talk a little bit about that?

CS: Yes every tribe has its cult. Every tribe has its cult, but the Germans infiltrated into the country very early and started to preach Christianity. So that they wouldn’t stick to their culture in the cult things, so all of a sudden we have a Presbyterian Church. We have a Methodist Church. We have a Baptist Church. In fact one of my aunt’s husband was a pastor at the Baptist Church, and so I used to go to the Baptist Church on Sundays with my aunt because her husband was going to preach. Just to go singing and preaching. Then my grandfather grew up with the Presbyterian Mission House, the missionaries. He was a missionary boy and that’s where he met my grandmother whose father is German, so you know we do have both cultures in tribal, voodoo and all that. They still believe in those things, but they are changing. They are shifting to Christianity and God.

JB: So when you grew up it was more in the Christian environment?

CS: Oh yes. Our house was strictly Christian. You don’t come there with some kind of… my grandfather would tell you you don’t belong here.


JB: Now we need to bring it to an end. I just wanted to end it saying that one of the things that I noticed about you is that you are extremely intuitive, but you are also very smart. You are very smart in a Western sense. You have degrees.

CS: Yeah.

JB: And you have many skills. But I noticed that one time you said that you could smell that I was pregnant. That was amazing.

CS: Yeah, it’s because I did midwifery. When I see somebody, you know one of the sister’s daughters is pregnant and a couple of months ago she was fasting and I’m like, “are you pregnant?” And she said no. Why are you asking me, and I’m like well okay. And later on she came and said do you know that I was pregnant, and I’m like oh, okay. I can tell. I can tell from the color of the skin, from the face, you know, which you may not be noticing, but being a midwife, it is part of the training. You can tell when people are getting pregnant.


JB: Well I don’t think that that is taught in American midwifery to be honest.

CS: Yeah, they don’t have that, but we do because when you go to the rural area, there are some women who are pregnant and they don’t know they are. They just don’t know they are. I saw or they would say oh my stomach is just getting big. Oh I’m putting on weight. They don’t know it’s pregnancy, you know, so the government started to build clinics in the rural areas so we would help them to understand what it is to become pregnant and what to do when you are pregnant you know.


JB: So do you feel like the local politics actually took care of the people in like a

fatherly–motherly sense, like they are looking after people?

CS: The politics over there do not do that much. It is only school rather than go

into that. The politics there are into politics.So they don’t care about who is what and what is going on. But schools and hospitals and nurseries and midwives, we reach to the people. We reach out to them and we help them to understand.


JB: So in closing what is one of the things you miss about Ghana?

CS: Well, to tell you the truth I’m happy being here because it is so exciting. Every morning when I wake up I see something exciting. I see something that I want to see more and more and more, you know, so I don’t miss anything much over there. But now before I think, oh you need to come and see. We have developed. A lot of things are going on. If you come you wouldn’t believe you are in Africa, like oh really, you know. So my friend has 31 days to come and I will go and visit and come back, but now I feel like an American. Because I have been here very long, very long, so I have adopted an American lifestyle.


JB: Well I have loved getting to know you and having you as a friend Cay. Thank you so much and thanks for sharing about your homelife. I appreciate it so much.

CS: Thank you too for getting to know a little bit about Africa!

JB: Awesome!

CS: Bless you.


An interview with a lady living in Argentina

JB: (Julie Buck) Are you ready for our interview?

TR: (Tilly Ramez — fake name) Yes. I was thinking what is your interest about…?

JB: Okay so we want to talk about tradition, authentic community life, so basically what is it like to be living in Argentina as a community. So what is your authentic community tradition? What is family life like, and then tell me about the different religions, and about the province. And also if you have any type of institute, like if you have elders or like how does your society direct itself? So those are the questions that we can use to start off with. Then if you want to talk more about another topic, that’s great. 

TR: Okay.

JB: So you are from Argentina so what part of Argentina have you grown up in?

TR: Okay, so I live in the north part of Argentina. It is a place called Jujuy.

TR: Jujuy. Up to the north we are close to Bolivia. To the west, are the mountains and then Chile, to the east and south with other provinces in Argentina. So the country is divided into provinces. There are twenty-three of them. We have a president and a vice president and then the provinces are run by the government. Because it is a big country there are big differences in culture. It is very different in the north from Buenos Aires, for example. Because in Buenos Aires it is the main capital city and it is concentrated with the wealth of the country, people that go abroad may leave from there and they have very distinctive manners and behavior and even worth. So when I was in Argentina people used to say, ‘but you don’t look Argentinian,’ and I say I don’t look Argentinian because where I come from we behave differently. We are much calmer. We don’t tend to shout and behave like people in Buenos Aires.  But something I find is very common is the same, goes across the country, is the way we practice, say friendship, friendshipness. Do you say friendship? That is very common in the whole country.

JB: So when you say friendshipness that means people are kind to each other?

TR: Usually yeah. Someone was saying oh because in Europe when you want to visit someone you have to ask for a… it is not a date… it is an appointment. Here in Argentina we just don’t. You may call someone and say, “Hey what if we just go out for a coffee,” or just pop in and say hello. That still happens here. That’s the big difference with other countries.

JB: Beautiful.

JB: Is it like that in Buenos Aires as well?

TR: As well, yes. Even though it is a big country, a big city, it is still happening like that, maybe not so often, as often in here, as it is happening here but yes.

JB: What is the relationship like between parents and children?

TR: Hum…

JB: Is it, would you say there is a good relationship between parents and children as far as parents taking care of their children. 

TR: Yeah.

JB: Do parents drop their kids off at daycare and go to work or do moms stay home and raise their children or how does that work?

TR: Um-hum. Okay. If they have to work they have to earn money to pay someone to look after their children. That also depends on the social-economic level, but usually you find that parents go out in the daytime. Here in this small city the working hours are four hours in the morning, then there is a break for lunch, and then start back in the afternoon.

JB: What is the school day like for kids?

TR: The primary school is for seven years. You go for seven years. Secondary school is five years, and they go four hours in the morning and then in the afternoon it depends on the families, but the kids may have different activities like studying English, or music, or going to some sports.

JB: Do the kids help out doing work at home, like helping clean up?

TR: Ah yes, that depends on the family.  But yes, it happens and during the weekends, they go… all the family goes out or stays inside together. 

JB: And what type of games do they play or sports?

TR: Mmm… sports. The most popular ones are football, soccer. We call it football here. And that’s the most popular and now well I guess it is a global behavior. All of them keep the computer and the play stations, the screens.  And parents don’t know how to handle it and it’s like they blame the system. They blame the screens but they allow their kids to be with their phones all day. 

JB: So you said families enjoy sitting out together in the evening. Do they usually eat a meal together in the evening and then enjoy being outside?  

TR: Yes.  There is a difference between Buenos Aires which is a big city, and here which is a small one; the family, they get together at lunchtime and then at dinnertime, or they have the opportunity of doing so. 

JB: And what does a typical dinner look like, as far as what would you eat?

TR: That depends on the social-economic level. But basically it is meat and rice or noodles. It depends on the person. Maybe they enjoy some vegetables, not so often because they are much more.

JB: And what’s a typical… Do you have breakfast as well?

TR: Yes a typical breakfast could be coffee and bread with jam or butter.

JB: And can you tell me what different socio-economic classes there are? Is there like the middle class, upper class, lower class? How is that?

TR: Yes, the three of them. The upper class is very small. The middle class is shrinking, and the lower class is growing. 

JB:  And why is the lower class growing?

TR: Oh because the economy is going bad. And also traditionally when we think of these three different classes, it was based on the economy, on the financial situation, but now it also includes, say someone who had finished university, but has a low income. Or it could be someone who has got a higher salary and is earning good money.

JB: So when you get a job in Argentina is it something that you find for yourself or is it something the government assigns to you?

TR: No, you find it for yourself.   And for example nowadays a lot of lawyers have told me there are just too many, and I was talking to a young fellow who is studying engineering, and he was saying that at the last year of the studies companies go to the faculties of the universities looking for them to offer them jobs because there are not too many. 

JB: Do you consider the universities to be really good or how is higher education?

TR: Up until say 20 years ago the level was very good. It was high standards compared with anyone in the new world, but they went down. 

JB: Due to economic issues?

TR: Um I don’t know. I don’t think it is just economic issues. It is just political.

JB: Political? Have you had changes in the government system in the past 20 years or changes in a prime minister that has made a difference? 

TR: It is one and two, so it is one ruling for eight or twelve years. Then it is two coming into power and ruling for eight years, then going back to one. We’ve been like that since, I don’t know, the 1800s.

JB: Say that again. You’ve got one person ruling for twelve years?

TR: Not one person, no. One party. You have two main parties, there are two main parties.

JB: Oh, okay.

TR: So they alternate.

JB: And what are the names of the parties?

TR: Peronismo, that is from the 1940s.

TR: And the other one is Radicalis. They come from the 1800s and they started to counteract the ruling party.

JB: And the Peronismo group?

TR: [Peronism. Peronism or Justicialist Party] comes from Perón, Juan Domingo Perón, that was a person. He was in the military, Military from the soldiers. 

JB: So the Peronismo group is more… is that more the people group? And then the ruling class is more the radicalist group? 

TR: Mm-hmm.

JB: Okay. So which one is better do you think?

TR: None.

JB: None. And which one has been in power the last 20 years? 

TR: We had a gap. There were twelve years with Kirchner as the president,  and he set up enough guidelines to become a party. So they were in power for twelve years. Then it was the other one. It was not Radicalismo but in that line. They were for four years and now we are having back the Kirschenerismo the last four years.

JB: Now do they do what is best for the people? Or do they get orders from other maybe foreign interests that don’t care for the people’s interests?

TR: Yes. 

JB: And has it always been that way or was there a time when Argentina was very wealthy in its ability to produce its own resources and take care of its people? We call it being sovereign. Being sovereign means that no one is controlling you. That you are self-sufficient. 

TR: I don’t think we have ever been sovereign. 

JB:  Would you consider Argentina a poor country or a rich country?

TR: A rich country.

JB: How so?.

TR: In resources, yes.  But at school we are told that in 1810 there was the first application for freedom and in 1816 there was a petition to become a republic, but all of those that were the leaders in those situations were following instructions. That we were not told at school of course.

JB: Now it seems like I have read about mining in Argentina. So you say Argentina is very wealthy in resources but the foreign countries are coming in and getting it for very cheap. Now is that part of why there is protesting going on, because they want to make sure the people are getting enough for the resources in their area?

TR: It is a bit more complex than that. What is happening now started with the teachers, school teachers asking for a raise in their wages. I don’t know whether that started because it was their own doing or someone told them, ‘hey why don’t you,’ because the timing is very odd. And then when they were doing that some others came talking about the reform that the government here in the province wanted to do to the constitution. We have a national constitution and we have a constitution from the province. So the government here wanted to partially change the constitution. There was a reform, and in that reform, that reform affects everyone. So during the process from the school teachers they started asking for getting done the reform, and the main issue that they came up with was the people that, we call them the, the Originals, the ones that belong to the land here before the Spanish came, the Spaniards came, and so they started shouting for them. It is that that land belongs to them, and with the reform the government will have the right to do whatever they want.

JB: So the government in the province of Jujuy basically claims that the Originals don’t have right to their own land and these are the people that were there before Cortez. Okay, before the Spaniards fell from England. Interesting. So that’s what all this…so are people coming from everywhere to protest this or is this just in your province?

TR: Right now it is here in the province, which is a huge movement. It is amazing. And with time the government says okay teachers, we will pay you more but this is so evil. The teachers get paid and they pay taxes on that, so it is… I don’t know how to explain, but the government pays the teachers three pesos, but it is not enough because they need twenty to live. So the rest of the three to twenty they pay in black. They don’t consider it as though the government was paying. So the consequences of it is when the teachers want to retire the pension is based on the white wage, so based on the three, not the twenty. 

JB: Okay. So when you say pay in black, that’s off the records. 

TR: Off the records. Okay that’s the expression, off the records.

JB: So then they can’t retire.

TR: So when they retire, when they reach the age for retirement, they have to pay the government  to be in white. They have to buy their retirement.

JB: What age do they retire?

TR: They retire early because of the kind of work. They retire at 58.

JB: Okay. Would you tell me what dating and courtship is like?

TR: What is it like?

TR: It has changed as well in these last perhaps 20 years, 15–20 years. It used to be that the boy came to the girl and asked for dating and it was like that and that’s for getting married. But now it is the woman who approaches the man, and the man doesn’t know what to do because it is something new for them. And now teenagers it is even luck, so it is anyone you like, a girl, a boy.

JB: Do the families weigh in on who the people marry? Do the parents help the children decide who to marry? Do the parents need to give permission or do people just choose for themselves?

TR: Hum, before it was more that the family decided or not accepting, but now it is more up to the kids. There are a lot of divorces as well. 

JB: Do you have the community get together?

TR: No we don’t have that. It is more friends that you are meeting at school or work, but no not the community. 

JB: What about holidays? Do you have any community holidays?

TR: Some people do but it is not popular, no. It has become more lately because parents have to work during the holidays, the school holiday. School holidays here go for three months in summertime. And if parents have to work they have to do something with their kids because they cannot stay at home. So there are these… they call it colonies.. So you send your kid to a colony and they stay there at least a half day. And they also have different activities.

JB: So are they fun activities or are they learning activities, or both?

TR: No they are fun activities, yes.

JB:  We call that in America, we have summer camps of all different types.

TR: Okay.  Yes, summer camps.

JB: What about language? What language do people speak?

TR: Spanish. Argentinian Spanish. 

JB: And do you learn any other languages in school?

TR: Not in public primary school, no. In public secondary school there are five years, three years of one language and three years of another language. It would be like three years of English and three years of French, but the level is very low. Then the middle class people send their kids to study English in a private institute.

JB: What is the official religion?

TR: Catholic religion. I don’t know right now but it was in the constitution that the president, a person to become president of the nation had to be Catholic. We had one who was Muslim and he changed. 

JB: Was that recently? You recently had a Muslim…

TR: 1990s.

JB: But it is in the constitution that you have to be a Catholic to be president, okay. Also, what is your favorite part about living in Argentina?

TR: Where I live I like the landscape. 

JB: What landscape do you like?

TR: It’s mountains. I look through the window and I can see the mountains and it is the color of the sky. There is something in the sky that is very peculiar. I can’t find it in any other place.

JB: A peculiar color of blue or what?

TR: There is something there. I say the color but there is something there that is from here, and it is not the chemtrails.  

JB: When children grow up do they usually stay in their communities or do they move away?

TR: It depends on the social-economic situation, like middle class people send their kids to study in another city because here we didn’t have university and then when we had university. There were only two or three careers, not many to choose from. Now that there are more, people tend to stay here. But the tradition is to go to another city. 

JB: Now one question I have is the crops. What is farming like?

TR: In the forties, during the Second World War, they started to call us … How do you say in English the place where you store grain? (granary)

JB: Silos?

TR: No, a grain store. No. Well, we were called that place. So we were in a world where the grain can be farmed. We grow grain and we sell wheat mainly. There used to be corn and again this may be 40 years ago, 30–40 years. And soy.

JB:  And what is your favorite in-season fruit?

TR: I have to say mango.

JB: Do you have cocoa trees in Argentina?

TR: No.

JB: No?

TR: Very few. If there are, there are not many. We have weather for that. We have weather for everything. We have weather for coffee as well, but we don’t have coffee. 

JB: That’s a good topic as well, so what is the weather like?

TR: We have all sorts of weather because it is a long country, 4000 kilometers from north to south. Here we have a very dry kind of weather. The mountains where I am now are 1200 meters above sea level and going across to the east you have 120 kilometers, you go down to eleven, so in that area it is very green. It’s a jungle. Here it is drier and up 300 kilometers to the north it’s even drier. And here in the country we have pampas and you can grow whatever you want. And you have all the mountains across the west. 

JB: So do you get cold winters or are the winters warm?

TR: Our winter is during your summer, so it’s cold now. 

JB: Does it snow?

TR: Well that depends because here it is cold but it is dry so we don’t get snow. In the south it is with snow.

JB: Do you have any other things you want to share?

TR: I would like to highlight the social situation here. How the government is pushing down people with reform of the constitution and how strong and brave the people are behaving to stand for their rights, to standing up actually. They are making long walks. People are walking 200 kilometers to protest.

JB: Wow.

TR: They are standing up, you say about the cold weather. It’s winter here. One way of protesting is by closing the roads. They do not let people go, so they stop. Then they let them go of course.  

JB: So when they stop people, does that mean they are putting them in prison or they are just not letting them go?

TR: They don’t let the cars pass.

JB: Okay.

TR: So people, from the people they go to the highway and stop the cars that are going by and trucks or buses.  

JB: And that’s the government doing that, that’s the government trying to stop the protestors?

TR: That’s the government, yes. The government is trying to stop the protesting. And the protesting, I think part of the protesting is real. It is authentic. Part of it has been induced by other parties.

JB: Mm-hmm.

TR: …has been injected. 

JB: Yes, so some of it is political, politically motivated to cause problems. 

TR: Yes.

JB: And then part of it is real authentic people protesting.

TR: Yes, yes.

JB: Okay, well thank you so much. It has been a great interview. You gave me a lot of fantastic information.

TR: Thank you very much.