As computer, smart phones, malls and fast food is taking over the world tradition is slowly but surely is fading just about everywhere. I know, our generation was looked at the same way as we look at the next one.  The generation gap is not a new thing and holding the world in status quo is not a good thing either. As technology advances unfortunately we think that we are smarter than ever, but I would disagree. We are losing the hands-on experience by the minute. There is some rebound, but the volume of interested people is less than ever. Although the flower growing industry is still huge in Colombia, the majority are mass-producers. In order to preserve the small producers the government of Colombia declared ‘patrimonio cultural’ (cultural heritage) the Santa Elena area among Guarne, Rionegro and Envigado. Not sure how it plays out towards the ‘finca silleteros’ (flower farms) beside the pride, hopefully they have some governmental help.

This is not the best time of the year to visit the producers as it’s off-season, the harvest is in July-August marked by a huge celebration in Medellin. But we are here now and not then so we set out to find out a bit about this thing. We dropped by a nearby farm ‘Familia Londono’ and our sudden show-up was received with great friendliness. Seven of the eight siblings are living on the same land and work together. Our host was Carmen Londono, a mother of three, who got onto the subject right away and explained everything in such way that even one like me, still a very beginner Spanish speaker, could understand. It might not seem a big deal, but if you pick up some cut flowers at Safeway it’s a good chance that is imported from Colombia or Ecuador. For us is one of those nice little things on the road when we learn about the area where we travel. Before we parted we were invited for a cup of tea made from fresh yerba buena aka mint.

dsc00732-edit

This is a ‘silla colonial’ aka a colonial chair. The indigenous people of the area used to carry the fearless Spanish conquerors on their back while they were sitting in the chair covered in mosquito net.

dsc00725-edit

dsc00722-edit

The fibers of the strap are coming from a cactus.

dsc00724-edit

dsc00734-edit

From the idea of colonial seat to the idea of the traditional ‘silleta’. It’s used to carry the flowers from the field to the city market.

dsc00750-edit

The famers are called ‘silleteros’.

dsc00767-edit

The ‘siletta monumental’ which is not as much production related as made for the yearly competition. The winner of the competition held in August each year in Medellin will have the luck to travel internationally and represent Colombian tradition in the world.

dsc00775-edit

dsc00784-edit

Some of the Lodono family were winners of the yearly competition.

dsc00803-edit