Monday, January 16, 2017

Galvarino, Chile's Hero

I Got Sole
So, I've been having some trouble with foot pain and I visited the Kinesiologist (a doctor who studies body movement) to get medical grade insoles for my shoes. While examining my feet, the Doctor says, "Your feet are incredibly wide! I have never seen any feet as wide as yours before!"

Recycled Inspiration
You know, I'm really grateful for inspiring letters from my family. They not only give me a boost, they are uplifting to others. This week has proven it.

One day I came across an elder who was having a bad day - discouraged, disheartened - you know what I mean, the kind of black cloud that leaves you down and depressed.  Instead of going about my routine, I felt that I needed to stay and help the guy. So I sat down and listened, then put in my two bits.

What I ended up sharing were paraphrased pieces of advice from letters my sisters sent. And, you know something?  It helped. This elder wrote me a note the next day and thanked me personally.

Thanks for the inspiration, Lauren and Ashley! Your words go further than you know.

This week I heard a story that blew my mind about one of Chile's greatest heroes. His name is Galvarino, and he lived in the 16th century, right around the time the Spanish started to up the ante on their imperial game in South America.

Galvarino was a war leader among a people called the Mapuche - an indigenous tribe to Chile whose relics in this area can be traced back to 600BC.

Anyway, our warrior Galvarino had employed some fairly effective guerilla tactics to beat back the Spanish conquerors. But after the Mapuche lost one pretty nasty battle, Galvarino was captured as a prisoner of war. Wanting to make an example of him, the Spanish  paraded the Mapuche leader in front of everyone, pushed him to the ground, laid his forearm across a tree stump, and chopped off his hand.

Except when Galvarino lost his hand, he didn't even flinch. Not even a wince!  What he did instead was put his other hand on the chopping block. The Spanish went, yeah sure why not, and chopped off that hand too. Still showing no reaction to having lost two of his limbs, Galvarino then put his HEAD on the chopping block. That was too far even for the Spanish. They sent this one-band-stud away with his life.

They came to regret that decision.

Galvarino marched straight back to the Mapuche, showed them his stump arms, and gave a rousing speech rallying them all to fight against the Spanish, come what may.  It worked. The next time the Spanish came to town, the Mapuche took them on, with their leader Galvarino at their head - this time with SWORDS TIED TO HIS ARMS FOR HANDS.

If that's not hardcore, I don't know what is.

Unfortunately the battle didn't go well for the Mapuche - the Spanish defeated them, Galvarino was captured again and this time put to death. But his story is still told, and, guess what?  Remnants of the Mapuche people still live on in Chile.

You know, heroes like these may not always be well-known, or have won countless battles, or donned metals of glory, but, man, that kind of crazy courage should be remembered.

No wonder Galvarino is one of Chile's greatest heroes. They remember him as an insanely gutsy guy who gave up everything for freeing his people.  They even named a couple of warships after him.


Inspiration comes from all kinds of sources. Sometimes it comes from guys like Galvarino, sometimes it come from family letters, or words shared.  But in the end, it's good to know that the true Source of Inspiration is the One that sent me here.
eating churrascos with the apartment elders
Here's to Inspiring Those Around Us!

Have a great week, All,
Elder Connor Nef

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