A Basque in Boise

Rocío Basterra: An interview with ETB’s “Yes we jai” Argentinian host

I don’t know if Pausoka finally found a third host for ETB 1’s Yes we jai TV show. All I know is that starting tomorrow, Joanes Passicot (who plays Manex in Goenkale), along with Sonia Kolazc (Polish) and Rocío Basterra (Argentinean) will show TV viewers the Basque Country’s most festive side.

I am very excited about the show. Not only is my friend one of the hosts, but  because I’m spending July visiting my friends and family in Bilbao, I’ll be able to see her program every week.

I talked to Rocío last week to find out how she landed the gig and her feelings so far.

Q. A few weeks ago I shared on the blog that Pausoka was looking for young Basque speakers born outside the Basque Country to host a program on ETB 1. Then one day, during one of our chat sessions, you tell me you’re waiting for their call to see if you got the position. Next thing I know, you’re already in the Basque Country! How did it all happen?

Rocío Basterra. A friend of mine got in touch with me because he knows how hard I work in the Diaspora to keep the Basque language and culture alive.

Q. What can you tell me about the program Yes we jai

I can’t believe I’m here working, spending my days having so much fun, and learning a great deal about I field fairly unknown to me.

 Q. Your co-host, a Polish girl, did you know her from before?

No, I didn’t know here and I couldn’t believe a Polish person spoke Basque as if it was their native language.

Q. You’ve made an appearance in other ETB programs before, why do you think Basque TV loves you so much?

(Laughs). What happens is that I’m very well-connected in several ways with my ancestors’ culture: Basque language, Basque dancing, pelota, culture… I think they value very much the work we do 7,500 miles away – in my case, I’m from the very south of Argentina – and I’m only one representative among the many who work selflessly, fueled by their love of this incredible culture.

Q. What are your plans once you’re done filming the program? Are you going back to Bahía Blanca or will you try a career in Basque TV?  

First and foremost, I’m preparing myself to come back because it’s going to be hard on me – in the Basque Country, my heart lives a thousand miles per hour. Now, I’m only thinking about how many things I’ll be able to share back home with my friends and family. I only hope that my students will wait for me with as enthusiastic as always, because they are the ones that bring out the best in me: promoting the Basque language and culture is the best thing that ever happened to me. I see myself as a fighter and that’s how I’ll die: Ez zaigu hilgo euskal herria ni bizi naizen artean. (We won’t kill the Basque Country as long as I live).

(Photo from deia.com)


Thanks for passing by: ↓

Ysabel Bilbao

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