When I die, I’m taking Yerba Mate with me

Why I’m Taking Yerba Mate to My Grave

Version en Español

The vastness of Yerba Mate

I will begin this by saying that I am drinking mate as I write this article. So, salud to you. My story with Yerba Mate begins at a very young age, possibly around the age of 7 or 8, when my mother came to my house and gave me my first mate. From then to now, I’ve never been separated from Yerba Mate.

When I first drank mate, I experienced a strange feeling; there was some discomfort in my stomach, but I didn’t give it any importance since I’d often heard people say that it’s only for big, great people. And, yes, I also wanted to be great; when I first sipped from my bombilla, I felt this feeling of being larger than life, of being able to do anything, like I was some type of giant.  

I’ve tried Yerba Mate in the two most common ways it’s prepared in my country of Argentina: the traditional method with a gourd and bombilla, which transcend our borders in the countries of Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay, as well as what’s known as mate cocido, which is roasted mate in tea bags.

When I die, I’m taking Yerba Mate with me
When I die, I’m taking Yerba Mate with me

I don’t carry Yerba Mate, he carries me

I remember during times when the economy wasn’t doing very well, my mother would heat water in a teapot with Yerba Mate inside, and then strain it in a colander before serving it to my brother and me with a small biscuit; this was all we had for dinner for too many times to count.

Anyway, I grew up with mate. Yes, it contains powerful antioxidants and contributes to good digestion, but, for me, it is something much more than a healthy beverage. Mate has always been the best companion to me in times both happy and bad. It gathers people together and helps solve problems, because it invites discussion.

Drinking mate was how I absorbed one of the strongest blows of my life, the loss of my father. I only had two things to keep my company then, my dog and mate. This is why I always say that since I was a child, mate was there; one of the most beautiful ancient Latin American infusions known to man. Wherever I go, he goes with me, and there are also many times when I truly believe that it isn’t me who carries him, but him who carries me. Together, we’ve been to many places, and it’s difficult to be without him.

After the loss of my father, all I had was my dog and Yerba Mate. Photo via @Keepthenectar
After the loss of my father, all I had was my dog and Yerba Mate. Photo via @Keepthenectar

Dust in the ground

What hurts me most about this “friendship” I have with Yerba Mate, is that when I leave, when I am no longer here and only dust in the ground, my “friend,” mate, will still remain without me.

Juan Centeno

September 28, 2017

Cruz Alta, Córdoba,

Argentina

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