Culture

Bear Breaks Into Family Home to Eat All Their Tacos

It was just a normal late night in for two teenagers in Lake Tahoe watching TV when they heard the refrigerator open. Hayes Sherman, 15, knew his mom and her cousin were sleeping upstairs, but couldn’t imagine they’d be up that late for a midnight snack.

It was a bear, and he was there for their tacos. Thanks to a Nest camera, the bear’s escapade was all caught on camera.

When the teens heard “Tupperware being opened really loudly and aggressively,” they knew something was wrong.

@CNN / Twitter

Not a normal mom move. The fridge door was opened for so long that the door started to beep. “I wasn’t exactly sure of what to do,” Hayes said.

The bear actually *broke* the Tupperware to get to the tacos.

@cuteh0bi / Twitter

The bear topped off his Taco night with two pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream–the Half Baked and The Tonight Dough flavors, of course. The bear also helped himself to some crackers. Susan Mohun, Hayes’ mother, took to Facebook to tell her friends, “Not all houseguests are considerate.”

“I was really scared,” Hayes said of the bear.

They turned the TV off and went to hold the sliding door in place to make sure the bear didn’t get into the same room as them. Hayes and his friend, Bobby Harden, 15, held the door closed as the bear tried to open it. The door was shaking when Hayes realized they didn’t have their phones and couldn’t even warn his mom.

An Apple watch ended up saving the day, but nothing could save the tacos at that point.

@mibtihajhussain / Twitter

He used his Apple watch to call his mom and whispered, “Mom, there is a bear in the house. Don’t come downstairs.” Then, he called the police. “It was very difficult, because I was whispering to 911 on my watch in a very dark room while trying to hold the door closed so the bear couldn’t get in,” Hayes later recalled.

Mohun didn’t even believe her son until she looked out the window and saw her car doors were opened.

Susan Mohun / Facebook

“I saw my car doors were opened, and I heard the refrigerator alarm beeping really loudly and realized those were two bad signs,” she said. Mohun later recalled that she was battling some serious maternal instincts. “That is the worst-case scenario as a parent to have a bear between you and your children,” she said. “I am glad that I didn’t run downstairs, because that probably would have just agitated the bear. It was one of the scarier parenting moments I’ve ever had, but thank God it all worked out,” she said.

Just 13 minutes later, the police arrived.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

For Hayes, 13 minutes of barricading your door against a hungry bear felt like hours. All police had to do was open the front door and watch the bear leave the house. The bear was so reluctant to leave the taco party, loitering in the driveway, that Deputy Prero fired a warning shot from her gun to make the bear get a move on.

The teens were so happy to see Deputy Prero that they hugged her, and, claro, took a photo together. In a Facebook post by Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the solution to the bear problem was simple. From the upstairs bedroom window, Mohun “explained the layout of the house and Deputy Prero quickly realized the bear entered through an unlocked garage door, which then closed behind the bear. Deputy Prero opened the front door (and got out of the way!), allowing for an avenue of exit.”

The bear *did* leave an unwelcome “present” on their living room rug.

@BRClarkBF / Twitter

We suspect that the Tupperware in question weren’t simple tubs of mantequilla. The damages are unimaginable. No more tacos, broken brand-name Tupperware and a giant caca in the living room. Thanks, bear.

If you live in bear country, and want to protect your tacos, you should probably listen to Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s warning.

@CNN / Twitter

Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported that “deputies have responded to many bear related calls in the Tahoe area the last couple of weeks and want to remind our home owners and visitors to lock their car doors and all residence doors. Additionally, don’t leave any food in cars. Bears have a very keen sense of smell and will find it, even behind locked car doors!”

Protect your tacos, people!

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Culture

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Lino Obarallumbo / DailySol

Scholars at Lima’s San Marcos university say it’s the first time a student has written and defended a thesis entirely in a native language. Roxana Quispe Collantes made history when she verbally defended and wrote her thesis in Quechua, a language of the Incas. While Quechua is spoken by 8 million people in the Andes with half of them in Peru, it speaks volumes that this hasn’t happened before at the 468-year-old university, the oldest in the Americas. 

Quispe Collantes studied Peruvian and Latin American literature with a focus on poetry written in Quechua. The United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages program has Peru a part of a global campaign to revive 2,680 indigenous languages at risk of going extinct. Peru is home to 21 of those languages. 

Roxana Quispe Collantes brings Inca culture to her doctoral candidacy.

Quispe Collantes began her presentation with a traditional Inca thanksgiving ceremony. She presented her thesis “Yawar Para” (or blood rain) by using coca leaves and chicha, a corn-based alcoholic beverage in the ritual.

For seven years, the student studied Andrés Alencastre Gutiérrez, a poet who wrote in Quechua, and used the pen name Kilku Warak’aq. For her thesis, she analyzed his mixture of Andrean traditions and Catholicism. 

“I’ve always wanted to study in Quechua, in my original language,” she told the Observer

Quispe Collantes traveled to highland communities in the Canas to confirm the definitions of words in the Collao dialect of Quechua used in the Cusco region. 

“I needed to travel to the high provinces of Canas to achieve this translation and the meaning of toponyms that I couldn’t find anywhere,” she said. “I asked my parents, my grandparents and teachers, and [it didn’t prove fruitful].”

Quechua entering the academic discourse can help preserve it. 

“Quechua doesn’t lack the vocabulary for an academic language. Today many people mix the language with Spanish,” she said. “I hope my example will help to revalue the language again and encourage young people, especially women, to follow my path. It’s very important that we keep on rescuing our original language.”

Her doctoral adviser Gonzo Espino told The Guardian he believes Quispe Collantes’ thesis was a symbolic gesture. 

“[The language] represented the most humble people in this part of the world: the Andeans, who were once called ‘Indians’. Their language and culture has been vindicated,” he said. 

It should go without saying but the doctoral candidate received top marks on her project.

Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America. 

The oldest written records of Quechua were in 1560 in Grammatica o arte de la lengua general de los indios de los reynos del Perú by Domingo de Santo, a missionary who learned and wrote the language. Before the expansion of the Inca Empire, Quechua spread across the central Andes. The language took a different shape in the Cusco region where it was influenced by neighboring languages like Aymara. Thus, today there is a wide range of dialects of Quechua as it evolved in different areas. 

In the 16th century, the Inca Empire designated Quechua as their official language following the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many missionaries and members of the Catholic Church learned Quechua so that they could evangelize Indigenous folks. 

Quispe Collantes grew up speaking the language with her parents and grandparents in the Acomayo district of Cusco. Quechua today is often mixed with Spanish and she hopes that “Yawar Para” will inspire others to revisit the original form. 

Peru takes Quechua to the mainstream. 

Under the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages campaign, this year, Peru began the official registration of names in its 48 indigenous languages.

The U.N. launched its initiative to preserve indigenous languages in 2019 after the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues determined that, “40 percent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.”

According to the Guardian, for years, Peruvian registrars refused to recognize indigenous names on public records. They would then force indigenous people to register Hispanic or English-sounding names on government forms while keeping their real names at home. 

“Many registrars tended not to register indigenous names, so parents felt the name they had chosen wasn’t valued,” said Danny Santa María, assistant manager of academic research at Reniec. “We want to promote the use of indigenous names and recognize the proper way to write them on birth certificates and ID documents.”

In 2016, Peru began airings its first news broadcast in Quechua and other native languages, ushering into the mainstream. 

“My greatest wish is for Quechua to become a necessity once again. Only by speaking it can we revive it,” Quispe Collantes said.

A Look Back At The Legacy Of Pedro Zamora, 25 Years After His Death

Culture

A Look Back At The Legacy Of Pedro Zamora, 25 Years After His Death

juddwinick / Instagram

Back in 1992, MTV first aired “The Real World,” which went on to define reality TV forever. The shows premise and tagline — “This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a house… and have their lives taped…to find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real… ” — seemed like a fresh concept. At the time, viewers were simply taking in how people from different backgrounds got along. A lot of the time, they didn’t. In the middle of all that TV drama, something unusual was taking place: viewers were meeting individuals that presented extraordinary stories. In the show’s 27-year span, only one person stood out among them all and is remembered for literally changing the world. 

In 1994, MTV’s “Real World” San Francisco featured a 22-year-old Cuban named Pedro Zamora. 

Credit: @dc408dxtr / Twitter

For those not familiar with Zamora, his life story is a remarkable one of survival. He was just 8-years-old when he and some of his family members left Cuba on the Mariel Boatlift and settled in Miami. Sadly, his mother died of cancer a couple of years later when he was 13. Zamora still excelled in school. It was around this time that he realized he was gay. While he did come out to his family, they mostly feared that Zamora would get discriminated against because of his sexuality. 

At 17, Zamora found out he contracted HIV and decided to bring awareness to his disease. 

Credit: @theadvocatemag / Twitter

While attending Miami Dade College, Zamora became a fierce AIDS educator. One of the most impressive traits that he possessed was that he could engage with people of different ages and backgrounds. He was a great speaker. It was his charming characteristics and profound knowledge that made him perfect for TV. He ventured into several famous talk shows of that time to speak about what it was like to be a young gay man living with AIDS. 

With the encouragement of friends, Zamora felt he could reach more people with his message of empathy and education about HIV and AIDS by auditioning to be on MTV’s “Real World.” Naturally, he was one of nine to be cast on the show. 

As a cast member on the show, Zamora helped to educate his housemates about living with AIDS. Those moments on MTV also informed millions of viewers. Zamora loved for people to learn about his Cuban culture. 

Credit: @simplymiatx23 / Twitter

Today with the lack of Latino representation in the arts and entertainment industry, we now see how rare it was to have two Cuban Americans on MTV talking about their culture and family. Another castmember that has continued to be in the limelight was Zamora’s housemate Rachel Campos Duffy. She was a young conservative back then, and she still is today as the wife of former GOP representative Sean Duffy (he too was a former cast member of the “Real World” Seattle). While Rachel and Zamora clashed on various topics, including his homosexuality, their bond broke through her closemindedness. 

While Zamora died shortly after the last episode of the “Real World” aired, his legacy continues to be inspiring 25 years later.

Zamora’s housemate and one of his loudest advocates today, Judd Winick, who wrote the 2000 book “Pedro and Me” said this on social media: 

“I’d ask that on this incredible milestone that we try to remember how he lived, and how he literally changed the world, rather than focusing on our loss of him. By appearing on The Real World in ‘94, he showed everyone what it was really like to be living with AIDS, to be living out, to love, to be loved by friends, supported by family—to have a full life. And it seems crazy that this was a lesson that needed to be taught. But it did.” 

Rachel echoed that sentiment on the 25th anniversary of his death on Twitter: “@RealWorldMTV changed many lives -including mine. #PedroZamora died 25 yrs ago today, but his impact lives on. I miss Pedro & the days when MTV respected young people enough to make shows like the Real World, San Francisco.”

For those of us who watched Zamora on the “Real World,” we learned about showing empathy and compassion for those that suffered AIDS and HIV and continue to live with it today. Zamora also taught viewers to always show kindness, respect, and love for one another.

Credit: nycaidsmemorial / Instagram

Click here for more information on the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship and The Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship

READ: A Single Mom On DACA Is One Of The Newest Cast Members On MTV’s New Season Of ‘The Real World