A room, a 21-inch television set to channel 3, a Sega console, and a fighting game. Three children sitting on a mat, behind a disassembled bed with two more children watching the rain through the window. A thunder is heard, and the television turns off; the grandmother enters, unplugs the television, and leaves the room, a strong smell of fried cakes filling the space.
Across the hallway, under the candlelight, the grandmother kneads a mixture. She opens the cupboard, and a little frog jumps onto her red dress; she takes it with her flour-covered hands and puts it back into the cupboard. As she turns around, she sees the children sitting around the table with the lit candle in the center, and the grandmother begins to speak:
When I was a girl, one day I was walking across the Vedia bridge, near the Oro river, and I came across an old lady who asked me for help; her foot had gotten stuck in a hole in the bridge.
When I helped her take her sandal out, I see that she look up to the sky, points to the ground, and tells me that before, the sky was below and the earth above, and that there was a giant tree in between that connected them. When the earth began to get dirty, the people of the sky asked to switch places, but the tree remained there.
The Tobas always ate from that tree; the youngest would climb up to search for food, and the elders would wait for them to bring it down. Until one day, the young ones came down and left with everything, without giving anything to the elders.
Then a great fire appeared on the horizon, burning everything, including the tree. Only a few men managed to survive by hiding in wells, and after that, they never saw the tree again.
Some say they dream of a black tree and that if they climb it, they wake up with powers.
This could have been a story from my grandmother Maxi, "la Cuicha," but it's not. It's simply a fragment of my memories. The Qom people say that we are embodied spirits and that our body is an archive of our ancestors; that's why I introduce myself through my grandmother.
Although, of course, my name is Dani, and I am a designer at Hidden People Club. This year, together with the team, we decided to redesign "Laidaxai," a game that tells the story of a girl from the Qom community in northern Argentina who dreams of the Black Tree. A magical tree surrounded by beings that teach us a little more about ourselves and our spirit, thinking beyond the tangible in the world of dreams. Little by little, we will show you the progress of this story.
For now, she is Laidaxai ♥ with her N'vike, an instrument of her culture.
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