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Cristobal Railef


Cristobal Railef grew up in Santiago, Chile. He came to the United States with his family in 2011 and lives in Minnesota.




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Cristobal Railef Transcription

Cristobal and the Mate cup

Hello, my name is Cristina and I would like to share with you the story of Cristobal, my son, and his relationship with the mate cup.
Cristobal grew up in Santiago, Chile. In 2011, he came to live in the United States with his whole family: parents, brother, and sister. While Cristobal was in Chile he drank yerba mate, or as people normally called it, mate. He always drank mate that were not his but when he arrived to United States his father gave him a new mate cup. For Cristobal, to drink mate means to remember his childhood when he went on vacation to visit his grandparents and other relatives. In his childhood, every single year he went to the grandparents’ and uncles’ houses in the south of Chile. In that part of the country, it’s very popular to drink mate. He remembers his grandparents drinking mate every single day. The traditional form to drink mate in the south of Chile is to drink mate of one singular mate cup. In the evening, people meet around a mate cup to talk about life, or simple things. The traditional way of taking the mate varies according to the people, so you cannot say that there is a unique way. In Pucón, a local town where his grandparents used to live, the mate always is prepared by one person. Only one mate for the group, which can be served up to ten people and is complimentary part of a meeting or conversation. It [is] always served by the same person. This person decides who to give it to [so] that it does not follow another, and in general the people have to accept [it from] the owner. Each person must drink all the water or tea before returning the mate cup. So this drink matter for Cristobal means his connection with his roots, his grandparents in the south of Chile—specifically with his childhood and the grandparent’s house.