A few days ago we visited the capital of the Arhuaco people, Nabusimake, translated as the land where the sun rises. It is a two and a half hour jeep ride from Pueblo Bello on a treacherous road that takes you through different heights before reaching the gorgeous valley where Nabusimake was built.
The community is located along the banks of the Fundación River at more than 2000 meters above sea level. It is one of the few places in the Arhuaco reserves where outsiders (Bunachis) are allowed to visit. On arrival at Nabusimake you should look for some of the indigenous village authorities to request permission for your visit and pay a tax for your entry into these sacred territories. We were allowed to enter the old town which has about 60 traditional houses surrounded by a stone wall but were not permitted to take any pictures. During our stay in Nabusimake we visited the Health Center which is well staffed and equipped and got to spend some quality time with one of the Health Promoters, Concepcion. She has been working as a Health Promoter for almost twenty years and covers all the surrounding communities. We also visited the sacred waterfall, Salto Kurakata where we got a chance to bathe ourselves in ice cold water, cleanse our spirits and refill with positive energy. We stayed at Ibet´s place, elementary teacher during the morning and hostel manager the rest of the day. There we met one of her sons, a last year student of Ecology and Environment at the Universidad Nacional in Bogota, who was working on his graduation project analyzing the changes in river levels.
Nabusimake is also the political center of the Arhuacos so all important meetings and all the decisions concerning the life of the Arhuaco are taken here. The general meetings, which are led by the authorities in the Arhuaco political structure, can take up to two months. A wide variety of topics are discussed during these meetings, such as the internal politics, the joint election of the authorities or actual problems, among others. The central government is in charge to see that the decisions that have been taken are being carried out and consists of the governor, the secretary general and the treasurer. The central government is also supported by the commissioner and council of each community. For more information on the political structure of the arhuacos please visit this section http://www.protectourcultures.org/political-structure.
On our last night in Nabusimake we were treated with a hail shower and an amazing thunderstorm spectacle. Due to the surrounding mountains the thunders would last up to 30 seconds as it echoed across the valley. The rain made the return to Pueblo Bello a bit less pleasant due to the slippery and muddy tracks but we made it back safely...