Where were you for the 2015 Champions League Final?
By Matty Sowinski-Brown
On 6th June 2015 the seemingly inevitable took place- the attacking dominance of Barcelona´s team triumphed against their wild card finalist opponents, Juventus.
Even if not a fan of the beautiful game, you would have heard that this game was to be watched globally by millions, yet I was no less surprised to find myself surrounded by a passionate Bolivian family who interrupted a family member´s birthday party to sit down and watch this footballing spectacle.
Many thanks to my friend Alejandra for the invitation to her house in La Paz, Bolivia. Anybody who has travelled anywhere in the world will know that to be welcomed into a local families house is as special as it gets. I met Alejandra while she was completing her final year veterinary placement at Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi´s Parque Ambue Ari. This wild animal sanctuary is a long term Project partner of Quest Overseas. Click here to read about our latest Quest Team to take on the Bolivian jungle!
The family celebration would look very similar to a European or North American gathering: Grandma, mums, dads, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews all present, a feast of family food favourites, a home-made cake, ice-cream for the youngest and even an Xbox 360 motion sensor device made a cheeky appearance!
However, differences did arise. Firstly, I was handed a cup of wine, home-brewed by a particularly rosy-cheeked uncle. Most of Bolivia’s wine production is located in the southern city of Tarija. If truth be told, Bolivia´s national wines do not quite hit the spot, although this Andean wine, proudly brewed at around 3,600m above sea level, was rather tasty.
At all family meet-ups around the world, food is of central importance: a wet rice dish mixed with Andean cheese, a selection of fragrant lettuces, imilla papas (one of the 200+ different types of potato unique to the Andes) and a slowly-cooked sheep dish are but a few of the different dishes presented for our lunch. Delicious.
Throughout the big match Alejandra´s mother, Señora Elsa, passed around a selection of tropical apples and pears poached in nothing more than their own juices. For someone partial to cheese and onion crisps and a couple pints of beer to accompany most footballing events, home-brewed Andean wine and poached tropical fruit was definitely a step up!!
Despite the family´s disappointment at Barcelona´s (and in particular their Brazilian contingent´s) triumph, this was an incredible insight into a Bolivian family´s home and a fantastic way in which to watch the 2015 Champions League Final.