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First Dragon Boat Festival in Chile 

Submitted by Paula Farias

In Chile we have worked tirelessly to achieve our dreams.  Today we have 16 teams that have started with almost nothing, only the desire to rehabilitate ourselves by practicing this sport.

One of the dreams we had for years with the founder of the pink movement in Chile, Monica Hernandez, was the realization of a Dragon Boat Festival, where we could bring together the ancient Chinese traditions with our sporting activities.

Our love and commitment for what we do is bearing fruit, and fortunately we are already being heard, our voice reaches further and further.  We want to reach the heart of each survivor throughout our country.  We show them that this movement is the other face of cancer, a face full of hope that we have the right to enjoy life and make it ours, and of institutions that support and recognize us.

 This is how we achieved an alliance between the Confucius Institute of the Universidad Santo Tomás, the Chinese Embassy in Chile and the Fortale-Senos Chile team.

 After months of work and organization, we managed to hold a Dragon Boat Festival in Chile for the first time, on November 11 and 12, 2023 in Carén Park, Santiago.  11 of the 15 teams that were at that time in the country participated in this Festival.  130 pink paddlers could live these magical days with regattas, dances, Chinese traditions and the main thing a lot of camraderie...

 The team members traveled to Santiago from different parts of the country, making the greatest efforts for transportation and lodging.  It was well worth the effort!

 The participating teams were:

  1. Fortale-Senos Chile.

  2. Fortale-Senos Araucanía.

  3. Rosas de Santo Domingo.

  4. Remo Arriba Concón.

  5. Fortale-Senos Calama.

  6. Valientes Señoraza Laja.

  7. Claro de Vida Talca.

  8. Remadoras Rosas San Pedro de la Paz.

  9. Las Rosas del Ruka Pillán.

  10. Remadoras de vida Algarrobo.

  11. Club Olas de Esperanza Coquimbo.

 The Festival also had more than 300 guests, including authorities, deputies, senators, mayors, doctors, business people and our families, we enjoyed dances, food and regattas. Without a doubt it was a magical weekend.

 Most of the teams do not have a Dragon Boat, they practice in kayaks or whatever boat they have available. So, for many, it was the first time they saw a Dragon Boat and the first time they paddled in one of them.

 During these two days I was able to appreciate this wonderful experience and see how the tears that fell down the faces of each one, were of happiness and pride. Each one is a Pink Paddler with hope and a zest for life.

 We hope to institute this festival every year, and thus make our sport of rehabilitation more visible, to be an opportunity for Chilean women to come together, to reach more and more institutions that support us, and to reach each and every breast cancer survivor in the country.