Trial by Fire

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Trial by Fire

Man Squatting Between the Fires

Minga Huasy Cumbay work party was held to fortify and then to test the roof of a home under construction.  First there was a brigade formed to pass buckets of cement from the cement mixer up to the roof. Buckets of cement were passed along a line and then heaved up to a man on a platform who then heaved the cement up to a man on the roof who threw a bucketful to another worker to empty  and return back to the mixer again.  It was very hard work.

After the cement was in place, the roof was tested by a unique method. A pair of swings was suspended from one of the roof beams, and a fire was built under each one.  Then people swung over the fires.  If no one was burned it meant the roof was good and strong. I don’t know how much was tradition and how much was theatre, but it sure was fun to watch.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Julie! Being an anthropology buff i can’t enough of this great stuff!!! 🙂

  2. You’ve really captured all the esnitseals in this subject area, haven’t you?

    • Thank you for writing Siti. It seems there are always new areas to discover and cultural traditions to learn about here in Ecuador. I am grateful that you took time to comment.

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