Tell me You – Argentina 2 is the third article of the series ” Tell Me You“.

We interviewed a young man with Mapuches and Bolivian origins, Penny who we met during our third voluntary in Argentina, in El Bolson (to find the article of our voluntary, it is this way). We spent two weeks with Catalina and Juan to help them to move forward their earthhouse. Penny, one of their friends, came to join us repeatedly. Living in a ecological naighborhood and committed in a simpler and more respectful lifestyle, it seemed to us that we had to interview him for the school.

The interview was realised on September 29th, 2017, the day before our departure of Santa Cruz.

  • What is your first name?

Penny Lopez Cuminao. Cuminao comes from the mapudungun which is the Mapuche dialect. My name means cume – “kind” and nao which is the diminutive of nahuel – “tiger”. What gives good tiger, kind tiger.


  • What is your age?



  • At what moment do we become old?

I think that depends on the personality of every person, because I know many “old-young”, as young people who due to their personality are hundred years old. And there are some who are fifty and have a personality of a five-year-old person. The physical old age is going to depend on what people eat and the way they live. The mental age can vary according to the experiments, to our feelings and also to our forefathers, because their experiences are in our blood. There is thus information which circulate in our blood and that is why it is important, when we are a child, to know our identity, our family while there is still time and to know the information which are going to be in our blood and to direct us on our life.

  • What is your job? How long do you practise per day?

I think that my profession it is everything at the same time. Because I always liked doing everything and because it is good to have multiple knowledge. We will always meet situations where we shall need diverse knowledge and staying in one only job will not help us to face it. It is good to know how to make everything, because as the life, there is an infinity of possibilities. If you exercise various jobs, you will have the experience to face the situations of the life.


  • How does one of your typical days take place?

I don’t have two identical days you know. I don’t have typical days, because there are tasks to be daily made and there are tasks to be often made or punctually. I make my day according to what I want to do. For the house for example, there was a multitude of tasks. Thus if I want to take care of the roof, the plumbing or else, I do it according to my desires, that makes every day the house moving forward. And then, there are days when I want to do nothing, just to sit down and to drink a mate! It is important also, to rest, because in the universe there are phases of movement and phases of slowing down. The heart which beats, moves and rests. You cannot either remain at rest, because otherwise you died. But resting also allows to see your work in a different way. If you are always in movement, you are not taking time to analyse your feelings or your acts. It is important to stop, to blow, to observe them, then to clear your mind and hup, let’s go again!


  • What will you do when you will grow up?

I think that I will try to maintain my activities. As long as my body allows it to me, I will continue the construction because I learn a lot and if at one point, my body needs rest, I will change at this time.


  • Why have you chosen a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

We have the choice to do as everybody else do, to be part of the mass or to be the change which we want to see. I was 18 years old, I finished my studies and I had begun to work when I am asked: ” what I am going to make of my life? “. I am going to find an employment, to buy an apartment, a car, then to have a child, to work 8 hours a day to be able to pay my rent or pay off my credits, and so every day, for the rest of my life. I said myself “no”.

As a result, I began to inquire about my roots, about my family tree, where from come my ancestors and what they made of their life. I felt that I had all this in me. And also my grandmother, who educated me, was very respectful of the nature and she always spoke to me about the connection of the Man with the nature. All this information could not remain only anecdotes or memoirs, I had to make them live and to act with.

We cannot completely return at the time of picking and hunting. Then, I asked myself : “how to live in community, while respecting the nature?” We then created an eco-district which works on earth constructions and on principles of the permaculture; we experiment every day and it is what makes our everyday life today.


  • What do you like about your country?

There is a definition which I don’t share, it is the definition of “country”. For me, countries don’t exist, they should not exist. Before, the men were free and without border. The creation of borders has created heaps of problems. For me, best it is that the whole world is a single country. The information and knowledge could be more easily shared. As you by coming here, we can exchange, share, it is what I like the most.


  • What are the biggest clichés about the people in your country? (What is the most representative)

I am not sure, but I think that the main thing would be the loss of temporal mark, the notion of which day we are or what time it is. It is typical here, in the district! We are at our rhythm!


  • What is your favorite food/meal?

My favorite meal, it is too much complicated I eat anything! I like cooking and I like eating! I like very much soups, not a soup in particular, but family of soups. I could add one ton of dishes, the matés, the asados (barbecues), the pastas, but if I have to choose one it would be soups.


  • What is your passion?

It is difficult, because for me, a passion it is to put forward a thing in depends on a heap of other one. For me, it is complicated, because I like a lot of different things. I am going to spend a lot of time on my house when I want to do construction, a lot of time in the garden, when I want to work the ground or on my guitar when I want to play music. I am passionate about many things, but that changes all the time. That also allows me to have relations and friends in many different sectors and that allows me to feel whole.


  • If you had the opportunity to realise a dream, what would it be?

I will change nothing, because all the dreams I have, I realise them. Often things appear so that I can realise them, but if nothing appears in this sense, it is that this dream was not supposed to happen. With this way of thinking, it allows me to concentrate on the present and not to spend my time in vain in the future.


  • What does a school day look like? (schedules, uniforms, habits, etc.)

It depends on the type of school, private or public; some ask for uniforms, others not. I could not say, there is a great deal of reforms at the moment and everything changed these last years. For schedules, it is generally from 8am to 4 pm. In the afternoon, there are often sports or artistic activities.


  • What advice would you like to share with children from 3 to 11 years old?

An advice? It is difficult, because every child is different and we cannot give a general advice for all, it would be necessary to do it according to each, it is very personal, you know. In that case, I would advise them to inquire about their ancestors, their families and to use the best of this experience. By analysing the past of their ancestors they can feel the good things and the least good, because there are no bad things, in the sense where we always learn of what is less good. They can understand whom they are and to use it to become better people. It would be that my advice.


  • Tell us a joke please!

(Think during several minutes) It is a girl who asks her mom:

” mom, mom, where comes from the creation of the Humanity? “

The mom thinks and answers her:

” God, for the creation of the Humanity created a man then a woman who had children and so on the Humanity was created. “

The girl thinks about the answer and still wonders. A few days later, she visits her father and asks him:

” dad, dad, where comes from the Humanity? “

The father answers:

” At the beginning of times, there were the monkeys who evolved, and little by little they became men such as we know them. So was born the Humanity. “

The girl feels perplexed in front of these different answers. Then she returns to see her mother:

” mom, mom, you told me that the Humanity came from God and dad told me that the Humanity came from monkeys. How is it possible? “

And the mother answers:

” It is very simple. I told you the story of my family and your father, the story of his. “


It was the interview of Penny in El Bolson in Argentina.

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