Quarantine Journeys: i nostri viaggi da quarantena partono dall’Amazzonia! In questi giorni a casa, viaggiamo insieme con le nostre troupe in giro per il mondo.

di Andrea Morghen – foto di Filippo Marzatico

“Then the cameras turn off and in the twilight we drive the motorcycles towards St. Ignacio, towards the lagoon colored in red gold, towards a chaotic, noisy party but so full of joy, life, meaning.”

Every year the inhabitants of San Ignacio de Moxos, a large Amazonian village in northern Bolivia, celebrate Ichapekene Piesta, a syncretic festival that reinterprets the Moxeño myth of the victory of the city’s founding father the Jesuit Ignazio de Loyola and mixes it with beliefs and traditions indigenous. The festival lasts a week day and night, with processions, drums, singing, dancing and games with the bulls. The greatest representation of the victory of Saint Ignatius involves 12 “warriors of the sun” wearing extraordinary feathers. They fight against the guardians of the sacred flag, the ancient masters of the forest and water, before defeating them and converting them to Christianity. This rite can be considered an act of faith on the part of the villagers but also a constant rebirth, which allows the Moxeños to be reborn in the Christian tradition but in accordance with their ancestors. The main procession includes 48 distinct groups of participants disguised as ancestors and animals and embodies respect and harmony of nature. Accompanied by luminous firecrackers (which symbolize the gift of light), drums and baroque music joke and laugh together accompanying the statue of the saint through the streets of the town.

Una grande battaglia di sopravvivenza dell’umanità e delle tradizioni millenarie degli abitanti dell’Amazzonia

Last July, on the occasion of the feast, we escorted Father Fabio Garbari, a Jesuit missionary from Trentino, parish priest of San Ignacio, into the procession, who revealed to us the meaning of this extraordinary holiday and led us to discover the pride and great humanity of peoples. indigenous people, who courageously fight for the respect of the forest and their traditions against a prevailing development model that sacrifices nature in the name of progress.

Fabio was also our guide in the remote villages of the forest surrounding the small town, where we met with the photographer Filippo Marzatico (his photos in the report) the leaders of the various indigenous tribes who participated in the party. Severiano, Hector, Enrique and Natividad opened the doors of their houses to us, we had breakfast with coffee, hot empanadas and grapefruits dropped from the trees and in this warm welcome they told us about their challenges, their dreams and the beauty of the forest that surrounded us.

Non sono intimoriti dalle telecamere, vogliono raccontare e raccontarsi

They narrated their desire to pass on the traditions of their people to their children, transmitting language, history and customs always respecting the pristine forest they call “La Loma Santa”. A simple life where the watchwords are respect, silence, sobriety, family and faith. Simple houses with an internal courtyard where children and animals play. A large wooden table for meals, a fire burning in the corner of a hut, a few dishes, only the essentials. An almost vegetarian diet, and chicken and pork only for special occasions and holidays.

Quegli occhi neri che ci scrutano sereni forse con la stessa curiosità che abbiamo noi

Hard work in the wet jungle to grow coffee, fruit plants and cassava. A football field made of dust and stones where children chase an old ball in the morning fog. The elders respected, listened to and venerated. And those black eyes that calmly scrutinize us perhaps with the same curiosity we have.

They are not intimidated by the cameras, they want to tell and tell about themselves. They want to hear the voice of those who have accepted the flow of events for too long, the abuses of the farmers, the gifts and then the threats of their indigenous president. Then the cameras go off and in the twilight we drive the motorcycles towards St. Ignacio, towards the lagoon colored in red gold, towards a chaotic, noisy party but so full of joy, life and meaning.

They were intense days of filming, interviews, newly traced paths in the Amazon jungle traveled by motorbike and on foot, to film and document this great battle for the survival of humanity, nature and the millenary traditions of the inhabitants of the Amazon; follow us for updates on the distribution of the documentary Amazonia La Loma Santa.


After the first stop in the Amazon, the Quarantine Journeys await you for other quarantine journeys together! Let’s go to Nepal, Kenya and India!

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