Meeting neighbourhood kids, by Ailsa
16.12.2014 - 24.12.2014 19 °C
The first thing we were told by our parents when we got here was smile, say 'hola' and be friendly. For about a week or two all we did was smile. Then one day we were coming back from the market and walking up del Potrero. About half way up the street a young local girl, her tortuga (turtle) and a stool where in the middle of the street so we ran up to play a game with the girl. We eventually came back inside because the girl went inside her house for dinner. Later that night while we ate our supper we heard lots of kids voices on the street. We ate our supper as fast as we could and ran out onto the street. There were five kids playing and we just joined in! They spoke no English and we spoke no Spanish so we communicated with hand actions. We played regularly over the next week, learning more Spanish words as we played. One night they invited us to join them at their local church for posada.
Posada acts out the story of Mary and Joseph (Maria and Jose) looking for a place to spend the night in Bethlehem. A parade forms (the front holding a toy sized Mary sitting on a donkey) and pretends to ask for room and is told 'no, there is no room for you'! After a few tries they are told that there is a place for them and each person is given a bag of candy and a bag of fruit to represent generosity. After the posada at the local church we headed to the fancy Basilica with our friends for another posada. We met more new friends and headed on from there to our third and final posada of the night at the beautiful large stone church. We tried to sing along with their posada songs, then lit candles and followed our friends and all the other kids as they paraded around the church. We also lit sparklers in the church. What fun! Everyone ended up outside in the church's courtyard to line up for the piñatas. There were three piñatas and the little kids got to whack at them first. For the third piñata the priest pulled me out from the lineup and I swung a few times and broke it open. They were filled with a few candies and lots of citrus fruit, short stalks of sugarcane and peanuts in their shells. I kept a piece of that piñata to remember it.
By the time we had finished it was quite late and we returned to our house tired and ready for bed. We laid all our loot on the table and it was like Halloween. But, they do nine nights in a row of posadas, ending on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine nine Halloween nights in a row? Wow. There were fireworks each night and lots of church bells ringing. On Christmas Eve the bells rang for hours and hours and hours. We think the people here party so much! When do they sleep? It has been an amazing experience joining in with their celebrations.