Welcome to the fourth article of the “Draw Me” serie!
This new article is dedicated to Chile!
So we left with a list of questions concerning the country, the inhabitants, the art and the legends and it is by means of numerous exchanges that we answered the curiosity of the children. Follow our searches and discoveries at first then discover the works of the pupils in the face of this new country! Good reading!
Our researches and discoveries
“What is the meaning of the flag? How are built their houses? What looks like the country?” The curiosity of the children has no limits, these questions are a part of many more one that we settle by crossing a new country. Chile and its inhabitants give us an excellent impression. It is even better to look for answers!
Blue, white and red, the Chilean flag could be similar to the French one, but attention the layout is not the same at all!
A red strip on low half to represent the blood lost for the independence of the country, a white strip at the top to represent the snowy summits of the Andes and in the top-left corner a blue square for the purity of the Chilean sky. Add to it “the solitary white star” on the blue square and representing the integrity of the country, you obtain the Chilean flag.
After 17 years of dictatorship under Pinochet, Chile made a commitment in the democratic way where the corruption remains mastered, contrary to his Argentine neighbour.
Chile is the most advanced country economically in South America, we find the big commercial chains, a more western clothing style and the faith of the young people in their government and in the politics.
The construction modes vary enormously according to places: brick and concrete in cities; cob, clay and straw, wood or simply painting sheet of corrugated iron in campaign. Strangely, we had the impression that the Chilean constructions were more dilapidated than in Argentina, in campaigns in any case.
The country is known for its diverse, extreme and varied landscapes. Actually, it is true! From the driest desert in the Northern part to the Patagonia in the South, there are for all tastes.
First producer of fresh fruit in the southern hemisphere, second of the World for salmon, 8th producer of wine in the world, Chile holds its place at the food-processing level and seems to have used his geography in a cunning way. Coast for the fishing, the center and its fertile valleys for fruits and vegetables, hotter regions for wine and the rainy regions of the South for the animals breeding or wood exploitation.
We worked 30 days in organic and even biodynamic exploitations (Find the article here). These protected grounds are rare; farmlands and ocean lining the country are maltreated, fertilizers are the norm and the salmon industry remains very polluting (More explanation in Assessment of Chile).
“Their favourite sport? The international celebrities? Their pets? The resemblances and the differences with France?” Here is partially what wanted to know the children of Quinson.
The soccer could be the national sport but the country never really hook to it, or even picked up a world title. The rodeo remains very practised especially in the countryside and would be the national sport since 1960. Before that, near the Xth, mapuches practised a kind of hockey.
Pablo Neruda, the poet was close to be our famous character, however we retained Alexander Selkirk. This young 19 years old Scot gave birth to the character of Robinson Crusoé, having lived during 4 years and 12 days on an island at 600 km of the Chilean coast. (Scroll down to discover his story).
Pets have nothing exotic, cats and dogs for most of it.
Chileans also practise the snack but do not call it “Almacenar” as their Argentine neighbours. Here the snack is called “Once“, translate as eleven. But why they call eleven a break that takes place during the afternoon?
The origin would come from Chilean workers, who during their lunch break drank of the “aguardiente”, an alcohol forbidden in the workplace. Once is a code name for the eleven letters of the aguardiente. This code name was thus kept for breaks then snack time!
The barbecue is always very present in Chile and in any farm well respected, you will find a “Quincho“. It is a hut, more or less rustic, built on the property so the sir can invite friends and make barbecues without the risk to dirt the main house. By the way, this machist temperament live well in the country even if the new generations seemed less sexist to us.
During our volunteering at Trumao we were able to assist in one of numerous village festival organised in the valley. Food stands and horse-races are present throughout the day. These village festival are anchored well and allow all the farmers of the surroundings to meet up.
Last but not least, the nicknames, we discovered during our stay at Coty’s, in Couch Surfing. While spending the evening with Constanza and her friends, we discovered then learnt everyone’s nicknames or diminutives. Coty for Constanza, Cello for Marcello, Wimpy for Caesar,…
In the same vein as Argentina, Chile is well Europeanised on its lifestyle and its international chains. Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola have their factories in Santiago and are present everywhere, and at the same time they sponsor any shop which makes the request. Their logos find themselves in the whole country! For the anecdote, during a hike we spent an evening with a young producer of hazelnuts, awesome nuts by the way. His production is annually sold to Nutella.
Let us continue now with the art and the Chilean culture.
Art and legends
Similarities with Europe, USA and the “international culture” are present in Chile, just like in Argentina. However we were able to show to the children of Quinson that the country keeps a strong identity as regards to its gastronomy, its music and its legends.
The English-speaking music is present only in the touristic places which want to attract an international clientele. For the local restaurants, buses, radio, festivals or besides for the country, music is very Chilean. Here are various collected extracts:
- In Santiago streets:
- In a Quincho around the lakes valley:
- In Valparaiso streets:
- In a museum in Castro:
The legend of Robinson Crusoé: in 1695, Alexander Selkirk is 19 years old when he leaves Scotland to take the sea. It is on the corsair ship, Cinque Ports, that he navigates on.
It is when Captain Thomas Stradling decides to stop on an island to bail out the supply of water and food that Alexander Selkirk tries to make listen to the captain the importance to repair the shell of the ship. The latter is worm-eaten and has grave damage further to confrontations with Spanish marine. The captain did not listen to him, Alexander Selkirk refuses to go back up on board (not without having tried to stir up a mutiny). Unfortunately for him, he is alone in front of the captain and will so be landed on an island, Màs has Tierra, situated 600km of the Chilean coast. He will then try to return on his decision, but the captain is too happy to be able to get rid of a mutineer.
At first, Alexander Selkirk thinks that a ship will pass rather quickly to allow him to leave Màs has Tierra. However, the latter are not commonplace in this corner of the Pacific.
Luckily, he finds on the island enough to feed him, there is a lot of drinking water there, wild goats (introduced during previous expeditions), seals, shellfish, wild turnips and cabbages.
Regrettably, numerous problems are also present. Rats are a wound, Spanish ships saw him and chased on all the island and he fell in a ravine while hunting one goat.
It is after 4 years and 12 days that two English ships approach the bank where the man who will inspire Robinson Crusoé waits for them. And he will be of a big help to them because several crew members suffer from the scurvy. Selkirk supplies them the food necessary for their recovery, in particular fruits (the scurvy being bound to a deficiency in vitamin C).
He so entered the graces of the captain that this one named him first lieutenant when they left the island. A little later, he was even promoted captain of one of the two ships for the rest of the journey.
He returned on London in 1711, when made Selkirk write its story and quickly acquires a small fame.
He will eventually go back to the sea and died in 1721, near the African coast, most probably near the drowning or near fever there.
Anecdote: a short time after having abandoned Alexander Selkirk, Cinque Ports sank off by the Peruvian coast. Most of the crew members died during the wreck. Only eight members survived it, of whom the captain. They managed to swim up to an island close to the place where the ship sank, but were then captured by Spanish which imprisoned and tortured them. Only the captain manages to go back to Great Britain.
In Chile we found numerous recipes identical to those of the nearby countries such as the Bolivian humitas, the Peruvian pisco or the Argentine dulce de leche. However, we find some typical dishes from the country culture. The curanto is one ofthose.
Curanto is a typical dish from Chiloé Island. Traditionally, it is cooked in the wood fire in a ground hole covered with flat stones. We warm them then they are recovered with seafoods, meats, vegetables and spices. We recover the hole with local huge leaves in order to steam the food. Accompanied with breads and potatoes, it is a delight. Today, the Curanto is more often realised in a hen. In language mapuche, the curanto means “stones warmed by the sun“.
It is with all this information and those from our volunteering (for Trumao’s vineyard with Quentin click here) that the pupils of Quinson were able to begin to work on their vision of the country.
The Chilean flag, the sea, the island of Robinson Crusoé and numerous origamis of Chilean animals, that is what stands mainly out in their drawings and realisations.
Draw me Chile ends here! We hope that you liked reading the article.
Good reading on Yakoilabas!