Preparing to march


It’s been mental here the last couple of days. Sucre is the epicentre for the independence movement in South America. It’s here that the people first stood up to the Spanish and yesterday was the anniversary of the day the uprising started – so there’s been noisy and colourful celebrations for the last 48 hours.

Kind of accidentally I got involved with the main parade through ‘Fox Language Academy’ – a language school several of the friends I’ve made here either study or teach at – and didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into! Typically for South America it was pretty badly organised and there was a lot of waiting around. I thought we’d just be marching through the streets, but once we got going it turned out to be a bit grander than that and I ended up marching into and around the main square as the flag bearer of the Bolivian colours! It was funny, there was a huge military band, the streets were lined with cheering people and a commentator announced our entrance over a huge sound system. It was an interesting and slightly unexpected experience – I felt a bit odd as a fairly shabbily presented European carrying their national flag in celebration of their fight to free themselves of European oppression, especially as all the Bolivian’s were in suits or military uniforms!

The celebrations lasted two days, an almost constant rhythm being kept by scores of marching bands (who seemed only to know one or two tunes – “the animals came in two by two” being the most popular). It was exciting to be a part of it all, the atmosphere throughout the city was vibrant and positive and it was really interesting to discover the significance of the town in South America’s independence movement.

Marching through the square