by Keira Louis
At first glance, this lady in La Paz, like many other Bolivian ladies on Witches Market (a street full of stores specifically tailored to tourist shopping), seems to be selling masses of silver jewellery, bright coloured shawls and beanies, cushion covers and assorted nick-nacks. But on closer inspection, the contents of the basket on the left of the table (your left) become scarily visible.
Yes, that’s right – they are baby Llamas and fetus’. We were both so intrigued (and quite disgusted) by this we just had to get a photo as proof (but not without paying). We soon noticed that they were being sold at nearly every stall on Witches Market (now we know how it got its name!), in various sizes and at various levels of development.
In Bolivia, Llamas are farmed for both their meat and fleece. Sometimes, a Llama is pregnant when killed so the fetus’ or ready-to-be-born llamas are removed and sold. It is thought that burying a Llama fetus under a new house which is being built, is said to bring good luck. I’m still confused as to why they are sold at a tourist market then – perhaps so that bewildered tourists like myself will pay for a photo, bringing in money in another way?
Whatever the reason, it definitely lends itself to an interesting blog!