Śoqo Pawlu and His Passengers
Śoqo Pawlu niźaśa nïź chhichś źoñinaka

Śoqu Pawlu and His Passengers is written in both English and the Uru Chipayan language. While a fictional tale, it draws inspiration from Uru-Chipayan practices and the artist’s collaborative work in creatively coexisting with wind people. Set in the Collasuyo desert between Chile and Bolivia, the story follows two protagonists named after Bustamante and Lázaro’s grandfathers as they navigate the challenging terrain. As the air family gradually reduces their forceful winds, the travelers return home, sharing their experiences.

By recognizing these winds as beings, Bustamante and Lázaro explore the affective, sensorial, and social relationships formed within our atmosphere – where shared coexistence and knowing how to be in good relational terms between beings is instrumental to survival. Similar to the wind, this story transcends borders, not solely coming from an Indigenous practice. Instead, it signifies a fusion of different worlds, entities, and practices. Ultimately, blurring the parting of air, wind, sound, and breath.

Ariel Bustamante and Germán Lázaro — Mrz 25, 2024

Drawing by Ariel Bustamante and Germán Lázaro. Courtesy the artists.

Not long ago, the west winds relentlessly passed over the Collasuyo, located between Chile and Bolivia’s shared deserts.

This violence caused great resentment in others.

Ana ancha aźqa, ni taxata thami anchaź thamatćha ana susikchiś ni Collasuyu ch’eqti yoqa nuź, ni Bolivia niźaśa Chile ch’eqti yoqkiś

Xalla niźtikiśtan ni thamiki walxa źoñinakź źaxwa śhiknatćha.

  • Because the winds uprooted the plants, there was nothing to eat.
  • Because the rain clouds from the east could not arrive, there was nothing to drink.
  • Because neither the llamas, the flamingos, nor the humans could hear each other speak, there was no understanding.

 

  • Ni śqalanaka śep’a kalhsipachaź phujśnatćha nuźkiś anaź ćhhulu lulhśmi źelatćha.
  • Ni tuwantan ulźkiñi thiri anaź irantiźkatćha nuźkiś anaź ćhhul qhaś likhśmi źelatćha.
  • Ni xwalanakami, parinami niźaśa źoñinakami ninakpora anaź nonśñi atatćha. Ana näśukataćha.

No trace in the sand.
The frozen quinoa.
The dead animals.

Philkiś lijw t’arhputaćha
Kulaśti lijw ch’iwźta
Uywanakami tikhśi.

At that time, the authorities of the Urus gathered in a Putucu, a sturdy shelter made of mud, to rest and converse in silence, protected from the winds. Once inside, one next to the other began to share alcohol and coca leaves, which slowly diluted their wisdom into the authorities’ tongues.

Raising from the porous earth of the Collasuyo desert, the breath spirits of Śamiris awaken and lead the conversation. More than clear voices, dry asthmatic whispers began to emerge as words.[1]

Xalla ni timpu, ni qhaś źoñinakź jilirinakaki parliśapa tshi putukkiś aksićha. Ni qhuyaki walxa śuma phaykiśtan qhuytataćha jejśapami parliśapami śirwatćha ni qhuy qos ana thamiź śhoxrichta khiśapa. Xalla nuź thappacha qhuyl jiyara julśi, khoka askan parla śumat śumat thelhźnatćha.

Ni Collasuyo ch’eqti uchh yoqkiśtan źäśićha, ni śamirż animunakaki nużkiś śuma parla thelsqatchićha. Ni qostan chïśmi qhoñ xorami tshan kana khissićha.

»We must send an emissary to go to the root of the problem«
»To follow the path of these winds…., «
»To walk aźkin (far away)«
»Where they speak other taqunaka (languages)«
»To learn where the wind originates from and why it is coming so strong..«
So they said.

»tshi źoñi ni thamźpuntu śiśi kuchanchukaćha, ni thamź jikhś apźla aźkinx oqhla…«
»ni yaqha taqu chïñinakakź nikhu…«
»niźaśa xaqhsikiśtan ni thami thon ni śiśla niźaśa qhaźtikiśtan ni thami ancha phorśanti thon!« Xalla nuź khetćha.

Word-of-mouth began to spread the arawaś (rumor) of the need for an emissary within the town, but no one volunteered until Geronimo, who, the moment he heard about it, quickly decided to step up and take on the mission.

Xalla nuź ninakpora walxa kintu oqhqatchićha tshi źoñi ti wathkiśtan kuchanchukapanćha  khikan, pero ana jekhmi oqaźkhiñi źelatkićha, xalla nuźkiś Geronimo ni kintu śiśku rattulla quśh thutśiićha weril oqaź khikan.

That same night, he prepared his meal for the adventure, ch’arkhi de Llama (llama jerky), Coquita (coca leaves), Pito de Quinoa (toasted quinoa flour), water, and some alcohol. In the morning, he set out on the journey west, always walking against the wind. He said that he was walking slowly, with his head down, making force with his entire xanchi (body).

This is how he said he was walking, while the winds were blowing him from one side to the other, from left to right, as if someone with their invisible hands were pushing him. After many hours, he had arrived, without realizing it, at a village called Villa Vitalina. Right there on that pampa, he decided to rest.

Xalla ni wenpacha źaqa pāchićha, ch’arki, khoka, koñi, qhaś, awarinti lijw quźi thakśićha. Nuźkiś xaqawenśan taxachuk wiyaja saraqchićha, thami thonśqutñi, śumat acha kolśi oqatkićha walxa ni thamkiś thurt’aśkan. Xalla niźtax oqatkićha. Ni thamiśti tshi lātuśa tshi lātuśa tekwatkićha śqarqhuttan niźaśa źewqhuttan tekwatićha, tshi źoñi ana naychuk qharhźtan tewkźkas niźta. Neqhśtan śita oqhźku wax Witalina khita watha irantichićha, xalla neqhś ni pampikiś xaraśśićha.

The next day, he passes by two great mountains that he only knew about in stories. The mountain Tata Sabaya, and Mama Pïsa. Surprised and intimidated, he offered them some of his food in exchange for protection on the trip.

Geronimo qhawś (shouts) while looking up. »You take care of my steps, Mallku Sabaya, and you too, Mama T’alla Pïsa,«so he said. [2]

Neqhśtan xaqataźu, tshi piśk ana paxta paqh kur keźu watćha, ni Tata Śaway paqh kuru, niźaśa Ama T’alla Pïsa ni cherźku walxa iśpantichićha niźaśa tsuksićha nuźkiś nïź źaqalla onanchićha ti wiyajkiś ni tshitsinaxu.

Gerónimo tsewkchuk cherśi qhawćha, »mallku aśim werh thāźkakićha« xalla nuź khichikićha.

He continues on the road without knowing that he was walking near different towns that the winds were directing him toward while pushing him from left to right, which is also north to south. He was passing through Pisiga, Sitari, Escapina, Sitani, and Mauque. As the days went by, the fatigue became more and more difficult to ignore.

Tira oqhchićha, ana nayźku yaqha watanak keźu watćha xalla nuź ni thami ni źoñi irpatćha źew qhuttanśa śqar qhuttanśa tekwźku tewkźku xalla nïki uźatintan wartintanćha, xalla niźta Pisika, Sitari, watatkićha, Sitani, Escapiña, Mauque. Xalla nuź śapuru oqhkan tshan tshan ch’amax khisnatćha ni wiyaja oqhśki.

One day, when he reached Isluga, he decided to seek refuge in a ravine, where he met another walker.

Nuźkiś thsi nöx, Iśluka irantiźku, thsi q’awkiś xaraña qhurśićha pero neqhś thsi yaqha oqhlayñi źonźtan śalchićha.

Geronimo first talked to him in different languages; in Aymara, »khistitasa?,« in Ckunsa, Iticku Tchemaya?, in Quechua, Pitaq Kanki?, in Castellano, »quien eres?« The traveler listened and replied, »Yo soy Alfredo; I am a walker, and I come from the south,« so he says the other said.

»Very well,« declared Geronimo. »Then here, we will both rest quietly.«

Gerónimo ni oqhlayñi źonźkiś thapamana nïź śiśta tawqkiśtan pewkśikićha, taqu aymara »khititasa?« taqu español »Quién eres?«taqu quechua, taqu Ckunsa Iticku Tchemaya? ni źoñiki ch’uj nonsśćha nuźkiś khićhićha, »Alfredo khititćha, wiyaja oqhlayinćha warchuktan thonućha.« Xalla nuź khichikićha ni yaqha źoñiki.

Gerónimo khićha, »Ancha walil nuźkhanak,« »niźtak teqhś pukultanź quśh phiya jejźla«

That day, as the night passed, unexpectedly the same dream visited them; they dreamt that a tall, white gentleman (q’ara) with long and tousled hair greeted them and wanted to shake their left hands, but the humans offered him their right hands. Confused, nobody could shake hands.

The long-haired person told them both: »This ravine is our resting house; here I sleep with you too; I am Śoqo Pawlu, a wind-person, my younger brothers are Kaśpara, the next one Paltaśara and the last one is called Qalasaya. We are a powerful wind family from the west that travels to the east, to different places, taking in different routes. If you want to know us well, go and see us being born.«

Ni śeś ninakaki ni q’awkiś thxaxćha nuźkiś ni wën, ana pinsita tshi wiyaqaź ćhhüźqalćha; tuź ćhhüźqalćha tshi lachh k’ankhi źoñi chertqalćha ana źhikta ch’aśki lachh charchiś, ni źoñi ninaka t’ānchićha niźaśa śqar qhara thāś pekchićha pero ninakaśte źew qhara thāś pekchićha, nuźkiś inaq khissićha ana qhara tansini atassićha.

Ni lachh charchiś źoñi ninakźkiś khichikićha: »ti q’awaki wethnaka xaraśiś qhuyaćha, xalla teqhśiśaqaś anćhukatan thxaxućha, werhki Śoqu Pawlutćha, tshi tam-źoñi, weth laqhnakaki tinakaćha Kaśpara, nïź xaru Paltaśara niźaśa ni pichuki  Qalasaya khitaćha, werhnakki taxachukta źonćha, paqhi niźaśa walxa aśśiś. Taxatan tuwanchuk thapaqhutñi oqinćha. Werhnakź paxśpekćhaxniki anćhuk oqa werhnak saltiñiź nikhu.«

The next day, to better know these winds, they decided to obey what they had dreamed and walk together to the west. So, they continued the journey together while the winds covered their skin, hair, and eyes with philźtan (sand). Almost blinding to them, without knowing where exactly they were walking through, they arrived at Aravilla Lagoon.

Xaqataźu ninakaki ni ćhhüzta iśpantichi ninakaź ćhhüźta xaru oqhś quśh thutśićha ni thami śuma paxśapa. Xalla nuź, ninakaź tira nuź oqan ni tamiki ninakź źhuki pilźtan thatźinćha, ninakaki xos śuransi, anaź nāśnatćha xaqhsi yoqaźlax ni nuźkiś tiripinti Arawil qotkiś irantichićha.

When Alfredo saw the water, he tried to bathe in it, but Geronimo told him, »No! That water can swallow you and transport you; who knows where you’ll end up? That’s a Saxra route; better we follow the paths of winds!« [3]

Ni qhaś cherźku, Alfredo eqhsa neqhś waynuś niźaśa Gerónimo nïźkiś khićha, ana! »Ni qhaś am lhapźnasaćha niźaśa xaqhsikinqax am jeksqatćhan, saxriź jikhś niki, wakiri ućhunakki thamź jikhśqaź apźla!«

So, under the sun, they let themselves be carried by them, becoming passengers of winds, sometimes drifting a bit north and sometimes a bit south, though never failing the west, fleeting nearby different cities such as Coipoma, Latarana, Uscana, and the Isluga volcano, which gave off a strong smoke that traveled to the east. Seeing this smoke-road, Alfredo took out some raisins and a small bottle of alcohol to feed the volcano.

He said, »Eat tata (grandfather), protect us, and talk to the winds about us so they guide us well.«

In this way, Alfredo and Geronimo kept going, entrusting themselves to others because they both knew how to ask for help while walking in the desert.

Xalla nuź sï qhaqkiiś ninakaki oqhćha, ni ch’eqti yoquñ, ni thamiź chhichta, ni keraź quźtaźtaqaś oqhćha, awiśan warchuk awiśan uźachuk, pero anapanź taxachuk oqhś tatanćha. Ana śiśku, ninakaki Coipoma, Latarana, Uscaya niźaśa Isluk  źqetñi kur keźu watćha ni kurkiśtan źqeti tuwanchuk ulnatćha. Alfredo ni źqeti cherźku nïź uli xöź niźaśa tshi putill qhaś ni źqetñi kurkiś onanśapa. Tuź khićha, »lulhźnal Tata, werhnak tshitsinall niźaśa ni thami śuma wethakakiśtan palxayźina śuma werhnak irpaxu.«

Xalla nuź, Alfredo y Gerónimo quśhsassa ninakaki ni ch’eqti yoqkiś oqhlaykan ayura mayś śiśatćha.

Now, with the protection of Mallku Isluga, they continued wandering with confidence and joy, learning more and more about the living wind roads that passed close by Berenguela and Chiapa, Camiña, and Culco, sleeping in the lodges of the wind, while walking the air of Ariquilda and Calatambo, towards Tilviche, below Saya, and Pisagua. Finally, and almost dead from exhaustion, after two weeks of adventure, they managed to see the sea! Right there, they saw on the horizon four whirlpools in the air that were all turning to the left, like big mills, like big gray źqoñinaka (excrements) revolving.

Xaśi ni Isluk Mallkuź tshitsinta, qhaźta paśpaśkumi tiraź oqi tirt’ićha thupi quśhśiś kuntintu, ni thamź jikhś tshan tshan śiśśa ni Berenguela niźaśa Chiapa sariri nuź watćha nuźkiś qossuk Camiña niźaśa Culco, ni thamź xarañaran thxaxźku, Ariquilda, Calatambo nuźkiś qossuk Tiliwiche qhutñi, Saya niźaśa Pisagua. Nuźkiś ninakaki irantiś źkati ancha ochchi niźaśa ñawjjtichi, piśk śimana wiyajźku, ni laram qota cherźa! Xalla neqhś ni qhaś aźkin payśñi cherćha niźaśa paqhpik waywaranaka  śqarqhutñi wiltiñi cherćha, nukta waywaranaka, tshi saxw qhxes urpu wiltićha niźaśa phujźkićha.

It was at that moment that Alfredo and Geronimo realized they were witnessing the birth of the four western winds being coiled out of existence to the left. This discovery made them jump with joy, embracing themselves and the wind-people with their hands, who in turn also hugged them back (źkorhźa) because, just like humans, these winds also have heads, legs and hands.

Feeling the western air on their skin and hair, they both screamed:

»Hello Soqo Pawlu!, hello Kaśpara!, hello Paltaśara!, hello Qalasaya! Now we know you.« said Geronimo. »We will be your friends! and we greet you now with our left hand!« said Alfredo. »Yes! because of how you all are; you are all going to the left; so you must be left-handed!« said Geronimo.

Ni ora ninaka nāśa ni waywaranaka ni taxata thaminakataqal khikan śqar qhutñi wiltikan pariśñiqal khikan!

Xalla nuź nāśku niźaśa śiśku ninakaki kuntintu źkorhsassa niźaśa ni thaminakamiź źkorhźa, niźaśa ni thaminakami ninakaśaqaś źkorhźa ninakaki źoñi irata qhxochiś, achchiś niźaśa qharchiśśaqaśśa.

Geronimo khićha »Oye Śoqu Pawlo!, oye Kaśpara! Oye Paltaśara! Oye Qalasaya! Aśi werhnak anćghuk paxchinćha niźaśa anćhuka maśil khaćha! Xaśi śqar qharźtan am tsānaćha, xalla nuź amki, śqar qhutñi oqhñamqalćha.«

»Jallalla to the winds of the west!« [4] Alfredo said with affection while feeding the winds with Coquita, ch’arkhi, water, and raisins with his left hand! Then, little by little, the winds began to disappear; gradually, the windmills settled down tshorćha (become still).

Xallalla ni taxata thaminaka! Xalla nuź ninakźkiś khatźkhila ninakaź khoka, ch’arki, źaqanaka niźaśa qhaś śqar qharźtan onan, xalla nuź ni thaminakaki śumat śumat thsorćha, niźaśa ni waywaranakami śumat qatćha!

With a full heart, Alfredo returns to the south and Geronimo to the east. They have already learned (paxś) one of the roads of the winds and one way of traveling with them, as there are many others. With happiness, they arrived, walking into their villages, telling everyone everything that had happened. They said that the west winds were people with whom humans can communicate, that, they sleep in the ravines, but they were left-handed, so they had to be fed and greeted with those hands as well, always with śuma (affection) and without ćhhawxs (hate).

Thapa quśh, Alfredo warchuk kuttićha ni Gerónimo tuwanchuk. ninakaki ni thaminakź tshi jikhś paxchićha, niźaśa inakźtan oqhś. Kuntintu thapa quśh ninakaki ninakź watha irantićha xaqhnuź watchiźlax xalla ni thappacha kint’ićha. Ni taxata thaminakaki źoñiqalćha khikan xalla ninakźtan źoñinakaki parsaqalćha khikan, ninakaki ni q’awaran thxaxñiqalćha niźaśa jejśñiqalćha, pero ninakaki śqarantanakaqalćha ninakźkiś  luli onanku niźaśa tsānku niźaśa q’āchiśpekku śqar qharźtan q’āchiśtanćha, śuma quśhtanpan ana źaxwchi.

  • Because they learned how to be passengers of the winds, tas (trust) in Tsewkta pacha[5]
  • Because they learned how to be affectionate to the westwinds, to recognize them, and greet them with the correct hand, the winds rested.
  • Because the winds rested, the rain clouds from the east returned.

 

  • Ninakaki thamiź chhichta oqi śiśśićha, ti yoqkiś quśh thupins kuttiźkićha.
  • Ninakaki ni taxata thaminaka q’āchi śiśśićha, thaminakaki jejźa.
  • Ni thaminakami jejźa, tuwantan chijñi tshirinaka ulźkićha.

Now.
The animals grow
The quinoa grows
The traces in the sand remained.
phiya returns, (joy, day without noise or turbulences);
nonś returns, (listening, understanding).

Ni uywanakami mirćha
Ni kulami paqćha
Ni pilkiś thekźta qhxochanakami thenćha
Phiya khissićha, intintaśmi kephźkićha.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Teófilo Laime Ajacopa, Virginia Lucero Mamani, and Mabel Arteaga Vino: Paytani arupirwa: diccionario bilingüe : Aymara-Castellano. Plural Editores, 2020.

Rodolfo Cerrón Palomino: “El chipaya: relicto idiomático uro,” in: Revista andina, no. 42 (2006): pp. 79–98.

Germán Lázaro: Piśk Tawqpirwa, Diccionario Bilingüe Uru-Castellano. Maria Acho Marquez. La Paz 2016.

Ilia Reyes Aymani, Rubén Reyes Aymani, Juan Siares Flores, Lila Colamar Terán, Mariela Tejerina Aymani, and Elaine Herrera Berna: Diccionario Unificado de La Lengua Ckunsa. San Pedro 2021.

Gerardo Fernández Juárez: El banquete aymara: mesas y yatiris. Hisbol, 1995.

Verónica Cereceda: “Una Extensión Entre El Altiplano y El Mar: Relatos Míticos Chipaya y El Norte de Chile,” in: Estudios Atacameños 40, no. 40 (2010): pp. 101–30. https://doi.org/10.4067/s0718-10432010000200007.

Ariel Bustamante is an artist dedicated to the acoustic, affective, and spiritual technologies of air. His works are developed through long processes of creative accompaniment using breathing, listening, and singing as means of conversation between humans, winds, or flamingos. He lives in Bolivia and is a member of the Laboratory of Ontological Multispecies Research at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in the city of La Paz. His works and collaborations have been presented at the Venice Biennale (IT), SAVVY Contemporary (DE), Het Nieuwe Instituut (NL), International Festival of Electronic Arts and Video (MX), Liquid Architecture (AU), The New Museum (EU), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (CL), Gessnerallee (CH) and Centro de la Revolución Cultural (BO).

Germán Lázaro is an Uru-Chipaya Indigenous writer, linguist, researcher, and musician. He currently lives and works in Santa Ana de Chipaya, Bolivia. Germán Lázaro is a key figure in the preservation and promotion of both the ancestral and contemporary cosmological practices of his nation. He has published a large number of texts, including dictionaries and pedagogical material, through the Machaqa Amawta Foundation. His book El Pueblo Uru-Chipaya, written in collaboration with the Bolivian teacher and researcher Evangelio Muñoz, provides a holistic overview of the Chipaya history, language, sovereignty, economic, and ecological struggles. Lázaro’s music has been part of the sound archive of Cecilia Vicuña’s Brain Forrest, exhibited at the Tate Museum in London in 2022, and has participated in numerous international events spreading the Chipay Taqu language.

  1. The Chipay Taqu orality, unlike the local Aymaran, Quechua, and Spanish languages, does not rely solely on the larynx and its vocal cords to speak; instead, Chipay Taqu is a highly whispered, »dry« form of breath modulation. See Rodolfo Cerrón Palomino: »El chipaya: relicto idiomático uro,« in: Revista andina, no. 42 (2006): pp. 79–98.

  2. Mallku is an Aymaran term to describe a human or nonhuman male authority, whereas Mama T’alla describes a human or nonhuman mother or an old woman authority. See Teófilo Laime Ajacopa, Virginia Lucero Mamani, and Mabel Arteaga Vino: Paytani arupirwa: diccionario bilingüe : Aymara-Castellano. Maputo 2020.

  3. Saxra, often associated with malignity, is a both creative and destructive entity whose reign lies within the underworld Qosta pacha (Manqha Pacha in Aymara), under caves, water springs, or the underground water channels of the Andes plateaus. See Verónica Cereceda: »Una Extensión Entre El Altiplano y El Mar: Relatos Míticos Chipaya y El Norte de Chile,« in: Estudios Atacameños 40, no. 40 (2010): pp. 101–30, https://doi.org/10.4067/s0718-10432010000200007.

  4. Jallalla is an Aymaran expression of victory, agreement, and joy widely used across the Andes. See Ajacopa, Mamani, and Vino: Paytani arupirwa: diccionario bilingüe: Aymara-Castellano.

  5. Tewkta Pacha in the Chipay taqu language or Alaxpacha in the Aymaran language, is the time-space kingdom of the above. the sky, clouds, winds, and other beings that conform the atmosphere. In this sense, Tewkta Pacha is the opposite of Qosta Pacha (Manqha Pacha in Aymara), the underworld. See Gerardo Fernández Juárez: El banquete aymara: mesas y yatiris, Hisbol, 1995.