05 July 2012


Last week was the traditional Fiesta de San Juan. It was unclear to me exactly what was being celebrated, a patron saint or some sort of solstice tradition passed down from the Spanish, but celebrar we did! The escuela had a San Juan party organized by some of the students. There were lots of traditional foods, most of which included mandioca flour, cheese, and salt in some combination, such as m'beju, pastel mandi'o, chipa, and pan casero. There was a huge tree trunk stripped of all its branches, placed in the middle of a field, covered in motor oil, with bags of prizes at the very top. Students had to try and climb the tree in order to get the prizes, consequently slipping and sliding all over the place as they became black with oil.
Terrible picture of the oil-covered tree-climbing activity.
There were also two+ guys dressed as girls with their faces completely covered walking around holding hands and talking in shrill voices. No one seemed to know which students they were and if they caught you, you had to pay them and go through a fake marriage ceremony with them in order to be let free. Needless to say, I did not get close enough to take any pictures! Then there was the dancing. Ah yes how I do NOT miss awkward high school dances. Now imagine that all of your teachers and their families are present as well. Apparently it's something done in this part of Paraguay, but everyone lined up with their partner, creating two long lines of awkwardly swaying bodies. Because so many of the teachers are so young and alumni of the school, it is hard to determine appropriate boundaries between staff and students sometimes. Some professors joined in the dancing, but I politely declined...
Frankie (volunteer), Lucia (in charge of Lactation Plant), Jorge (gardening teacher), William (visiting Ecuadorian teacher), Me!
Los extranjeros! Michelle (Peace Corps), Me, William (Ecuador), Brett (South African English teacher), Frankie (Brazilian/US English assistant)

For the Fourth of July we had an awesome party at Michelle and Jorge Martinez's house. Jorge is the vice-principal of the school and my boss. It was the most flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants Fourth of July I've ever had! We laughed A LOT however. Present were many Paraguayan staff from the school, five US citizens, one Brazilian-American, one South African, and one Haitian. We had tacos mexicanos- with homemade tortillas from Leah and John and the rest of the food was prepared by them, Michelle, and Frankie. About twice as many people came as expected so while we waited for everyone to arrive we listened to reggaeton and...had a pumpkin carving contest!

Team 1
Team 2
Now this may seem very strange, but here it is fall/winter and the middle of a very abundant pumpkin season. Pumpkins will be very hard to come by in October, so it seemed logical to combine some US holidays into one super celebration. After pumpkin carving Frankie, Michelle, and I gave thanks for the important things in our lives (pulling Thanksgiving into the mix) and then enjoyed tacos, red wine, and flan with red, white, and blue star sprinkles. What a wonderful celebration of good friends and international relations!

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Celebrations mash-up style sound wonderful. I'm excited to keep reading. Love youuuu! xoxo