COOK ANCESTRAL RECIPES WITH CHACHITA
"I collect these ancient traditional recipes, which were only as history and were made 300 years ago."
Ruth Lizeth Martínez, better known as Chachita, is a woman from Choco who began to explore the path of tourism since 2012. Inspired by the landscapes of the Pacific and the love she felt for her land, she envisioned the transformation that her territory would have in terms of public order within the framework of the peace agreement, which would open the possibility of receiving travelers from all over the world. She did not hesitate to take the first step and bet everything on the development of tourism in her region. She currently owns a tourist inn, located in Panguí, in the Municipality of Nuquí, department of Chocó.
Chachita's story is one of perseverance and struggle. There have been many obstacles that she has had to cross. The barriers to technical knowledge of its activity, the difficulty of obtaining travelers in its early years and the recurrence of violence in the territory were some obstacles that she has had to overcome with tenacity. However, tourism also led her to find her passion for cooking, not only for the pleasure she felt in cooking for visitors, but also for the praise she received without fail from every traveler who tasted her seasoning.
In 2017, her story had a twist. The murder of a close cousin forced her to migrate from the territory where she had first started and to do it again. She built what is known today as one of the best community experiences in Choco, which he called La Posada de Chachita (Chachita's Inn).
The inn was built in Panguí, about 20 minutes from Nuquí, department of Choco. It has a pristine beach that is usually only enjoyed by guests and visitors of the inn. It also has access to the diverse Choco jungle where she offers walks through the Chicui gorge. Chachita built an orchard where she plants herbs used by her ancestors in the kitchen and for health.
She works in the garden with her visitors and transmits the knowledge she has about plants. The most sought-after experience she offers is her cooking classes, which travelers say are a memorable experiences.
How does the tourism change your life?
Before, I was a person who worked with the public sector. I worked in the healthcare sector and in an energy company. I dreamed of attending tourists for more than 3 years until 2014 when I started receiving backpackers and other people and they always told me that I cooked very well. I started to train as much as I could, with SENA and with Procolombia and I fell in love with tourism.
In 2017 I lost everything, but my friend Lina opened my eyes. She showed me that the main product is me, what I have inside, my person and my gastronomy. So I started again. And now many more people than before come to my inn. It has become the product that everyone wants.
Why do you think it is important to preserve the tourism that you do?
Because I collect those ancient traditions, food that was only as history and that was made 300 years ago. Through tourism these recipes are repeated. For example I tell them that we are going to make a walking mulatto, a splendor soup or a pangadó bone soup .
My main dish, the one I invented, is fish in coconut sauce. But I do it differently, because I do it with love. It is called Salcopez.
How have you been affected by the current situation?
It affected me 100% because since March I have not sold anything. Some sent me the money and did not come. From there I have not received any income for tourism, but I have continued to spend.
Trying not to feel so affected, I have dedicated myself to expanding my garden to make it bigger and to have a sector for researching of traditional medicinal plants. With that I hope that when we reopen, we will have many more things to offer.
Because we have the hope of being able to travel to all corners of Colombia again, we want to give hope to Chachita and other warriors like her who every day, despite any circumstances, get up to continue betting on responsible and reconstructive tourism in Colombia. Today these warriors need our help to keep going. You can support Chachita by buying a cooking class from her inn from now on. When all this happens, we will help you organize your trip. You can redeem it until December 1, 2021. You can also give it away or donate it.
 history of pangado bone: Previously, there was no way to preserve food, so people kept bones for the winter. When the sea got angry and the river grew and the fish was scarce, the bone soup was made ... it was left with its smoky flavor. It also had a community connotation, as they pass it from neighbor to neighbor. It was common to hear "son, go to the neighbor and ask her for the pangado bone".