Shillong: The Bolivian Ambassador to India, Jorge Cardenas, on Friday laid the foundation stone for 'Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial Herbal Garden' at Wah Suri, Khongdong Wah Deeng Rot, near Pynursla.
The Ambassador is on a three-day visit to the state and pointed out the similarities that the indigenous people of Bolivia share with those of Meghalaya.
Speaking at the function, the Ambassador acknowledged that these hills indeed share stark similarities with his country in terms of rich culture, rich tradition and rich nature.
"I feel at home!" he exclaimed amid loud applause of all those present at the function.
Cardenas said the gathering of the fact that 60 per cent of Bolivians are indigenous people "with Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia himself being indigenous."
Further touching on similarities, he said like matrilineal Meghalaya, Bolivia too holds women in high esteem.
This reality is corroborated by the fact that more than 50 per cent of the representatives to the Bolivian Parliament are women, he said.
The envoy also stressed on the need to maintain and sustain the ecological balance.
The herbal garden, set amidst pristine surroundings of dense forests and rivulets, would be a mirror to the outside world of the richness, variance and diversity of tradition and thought of the indigenous tribesmen of the state, he said.
The Herbal Garden was conceptualised by the Traditional Chiefs, Clan and Village elders to pay tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, who breathed his last at Shillong on July 27 this year.
Fifteen acres of land was donated for the purpose of the Herbal Garden that would house multiple varieties of traditional herbs and medicines.
The Foundation Stone laying ceremony was attended by Traditional Heads representing different Himas, Raids, Sirdarships, Elakas and Doloiships from across the state, with each gifting the Bolivian Ambassador, traditional musical instruments and tools as tokens of appreciation and gratitude.