Palenqueras

"Yo me llamo cumbia, yo soy la reina por donde voy
No hay una cadera que se este quieta donde yo estoy
Mi piel es morena como los cueros de mi tambor
Y mis hombros son un par de maracas que besa el Sol"  Toto la Momposina

Whenever I visit Cartagena, Colombia and see a Palenquera, I am left with the feeling of knowing a little more about my country, of being able to further accentuate my roots and, of realizing for the thousand time the wealth and beauty that makes m feel proud to return to my home, to my essence.

The palenqueras, are those black, strong and colorful women that adorn the streets of the walled and old city of Cartagena. They call the attention of tourist, not only because of their presence, but, also because of the turbans they wear, and the large baskets they carry over their hands, with different varieties of fruits and typical sweets.

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Always smiling, they seem not to notice, that they are rescuing the culture and, the wonderful stories of its ancestors. When we see them we have the opportunities to see the art and pluralism of our country, we can remember that we also came from Africans, that our typical dances, some of our rituals and many of our récipes came from that continent, so far away.

This is way. I have always had a feeling of gratitude to those women multiple and unknown to me, whom I may only see once in my life, bit who always remind me of the history of gold, sea and blood that is part of Colombia and therefore, also part of me.

Valentina Rondon

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