The home of Yerba Mate
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have the privilege of traveling with my parents all over the world. We were a missionary family, and I was a missionary kid, which means that exploring new worlds and learning about different culture, traditions and people was second nature to me.
In September 2014, at the age of 21, I moved to a town called San Miguel del Monte in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. For those who know, Argentina is one of the few places that Yerba Mate can call home. For those of you who don’t know, Argentina is one of the few places that Yerba Mate can call home.
San Miguel del Monte boasts a population of around 13,000 people (at least, as of 2001) and was established in 1864. With the exception of a church, city hall and lake, there’s not much there. But the sole reason I moved there was because of a bible school. People attended this school because of a flourishing bilingual program, where people could go and learn Spanish, enrich themselves in the culture and, among other things, learn about the scripture. From my first step in San Miguel del Monte, I was in love.
The biggest thing, aside football and polo, in Argentine culture is Yerba Mate. Not just the taste of it, but the aspect of how it’s consumed; it’s personal. Outside of the classroom, there would always be a group of people drinking maté; talking, catching up and just spending time with one another. All technology was put away, and they were talking face to face with each other. It all seemed a bit surreal to me. But, as much as Argentines love technology, in the same way many of us Americans do, they put it away. Witnessing the bond that they all shared, through the vehicle of Yerba Mate, was inspiring. I loved it!
Continuing the tradition of Yerba Mate
Unfortunately, I didn’t live in Argentina for long; a short 6 months. But, when I moved back to the United States, I had to bring my own maté stuff back with me. I love the flavour of it, and I couldn’t just stop drinking it! While I was studying down there, it helped me focus. And now, it helps me relax whenever I get home from work. I even take my thermos, bombilla, yerba, and maté cup with me to work.
In a way, it’s a way of life.
Maté is one cultural thing that will never leave me from my Argentine “home.” It’s become my replacement for coffee, and it makes me a happier person after drinking it. One thing I know is that for as long as I have kitchen cabinets, there will be Yerba Mate in them.