A UNION OF TWO WORLDS

Yerba Loca is an outdoor destination, no doubt, but here we have the opportunity to rescue part of an ancient world: the centenary culture of the central mountains, composed of mule drivers, artisanal and regular miners. We want them to live together and be appreciated by the modern world, but in order to achieve that, young and old neighbors, companies, authorities, sportsmen and visitors must consider and contribute so the environment and history can reach the state of respect they deserve.

Fotografías: María Constanza Avello - Archivo Corporación Cultural de Lo Barnechea

MULE DRIVERS

Mule drivers are the main axis of the central mountains idiosyncrasy. Their trade is full of rites, from the most practical ones such as tanning leather for the horses’ tools, to the most magical ones such as telling legends to pass the time at the campsite firelight set among the rocks and the wind. That culture, simple but so humanly rich, is inclusive to all forms of life on our mountain.

If you ask them they will reply: “I am a muleteer”. For them it is a lifestyle, a way of being. A musician is like the same thing, he dedicates himself to music … A musician … One dedicates himself to his animals.

Fotografías: María Constanza Avello - Archivo Corporación Cultural de Lo Barnechea

MINERS

The mining trade has existed in the mountains of Santiago for centuries. Already in the decade of 1840 it was known that there were minerals in these mountains. In the nineteenth century, some stories of epic proportion started to emerge, from visionaries and adventurers who, on horseback, went all over the mountains looking for seams of minerals that would give some of them the means to live on and would make others rich. These chronicles of a world that no longer exists gave way to the industrial jobs we know today.

I was very young when copper was taken out of La Paloma and all the muleteers got together and there they told “lies” in the night by the fire. They said that Mandinga appeared with gold teeth and laughed and said: “Come on” … But those old “liars” are almost all dead.

Fotografías: María Constanza Avello - Archivo Corporación Cultural de Lo Barnechea

MYTHS

The myths of the mountains are a real dimension of daily life and they take on many faces. Some of them transformed into popular traditions and are transmitted by word of mouth throughout time. Knowing all of them and knowing how to tell them is a role in this society, kept by some who are in charge of keeping the magic alive. But the line between long-lasting stories and improvisation is not clear at all and many hope that line remains unblurred, to keep the stories alive and for that life to grow from generation to generation.

There in the Yellow Lands, little there, there it went out, they say that the chicken with chickens came out at night, of course, and it turned out that, to the people there, to the people who found it there, it gave more fear than the Devil.

Fotografías: María Constanza Avello - Archivo Corporación Cultural de Lo Barnechea

MODERN TIMES

There is no doubt that progress has brought positive social changes in many aspects, but it has also increased the pace of the world making everything progressively more immediate, and that is detrimental for the silent culture of the Chilean Central Andes where everything happens in a parallel dimension. Yerba Loca also aims to be a space that inspires reflection upon the social changes of the recent years: what do we want to rescue from our historical heritage and how do we want to show the cultural aspects of the mountain in the future.

Sí poh, all the life, the tradition, and that a time is lost is as sad at the same time. Yes, because the tradition will continue only with rodeo. If there is no tourism, there is no longer a place to live. I think that in a few more years it can be fixed or it can get worse, but it is to follow the tradition, yes, but to live on this no longer, no longer …