When I moved from Buenos Aires to work in Bolivia, the first city I lived in was Santa Cruz de la Sierra. One of the things that immediately catched my eye was the colorful, loud and devotional mix of dancing and praying: the cholitas with their hats, long and voluminous skirts and the never ending parade of braids. For a little more than a year I went every sunday to the folkloric entrances of the migrant community from La Paz living in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. During that time I learned that those people, just like me, were migrants. As opposite poles in a country where indigenous population gained a main role in the economy, eastern and western main cities, Santa Cruz and La Paz are conceived as sort of enemies, especially in the eyes of the non indigenous people. When the people of La Paz, an ancient city placed in the highest part of the Andes moved to the tropical part of the country their traditional clothing remained the same, and enduring the hot and humid weather became just another way to prove their faith in the syncretic system of belief equal parts catholic and aymara. Antonio Valencia and Silvia Quisbert are the pasantes in the folkloric entrance of this hot sunday. They are part of the Señor de Mayo - Transporte pesado fraternity. In her arms goes the mamita, Nuestra señora del Camen, virgin protector of La Paz; he carries a small figure of child jesus. The pasantes couple lead the dancing procession formed by hundreds of people and followed by the band that traveled all the way from Oruro just for this celebration. Members of other fraternities are invited and they bring boxes of beer to celebrate together. When they become pasantes as well, Antonio and Silvia will return the favor to them.
Coming from the highest capital city of the world, closer to the Amazonas than the Andes, this migrant community exists in resistance and even when the are not accepted they express their belief every single sunday under the burning sun, dressed in their traditional clothes, adoring their figures and dancing to honour their traditions.