|Valentine's Day soul train!|
We're all invited to the Valentine's Day celebration in El Basico (high school) in Caserio Central. We come bearing varied mugs and candy for the friendship gift swap. Cam is put in charge of the kids' dance contest. However, it's not surprising that these shy, angsty teenagers are repulsed by the idea of dancing in front of their peers. (Let's take a moment and reflect back to our own awkward teenage years and then compound that by a large factor due to the fact that we are in a small indigenous village.) Cam's brilliant solution? The PDs will have a dance battle instead. Well, I can tell you that we are great at making fools of ourselves, and that I may have done "the lawnmower" a few times too many. The day continued with a more familiar teenage dance scene where boys and girls occupy different sides of the room and walking across to the opposite territory is like committing treason. Emily confessed that she herself was an 8 out of 10 on the uncomfortable scale.
|Tomas explaining the significance of the four altars|
After a short hike up, we listened to his impressive knowledge about the Mayan calendar and rituals. The next day happened to be the start of the new year! We descended through Cooperativa talking about MPI, Chaquijyá, all we've done together, and what more could be done in the future.
Carnaval is Halloween, a circus, tag, and a dance party all rolled up into a ball... and then rolled in confetti and flour. Immediately upon passing through the front doors we were assaulted with bits of paper, glitter, and unidentifiable powders. Confetti-filled eggs were smashed on our heads and kids of all ages used us as jungle gyms. The costumes were incredible, the laughter unceasing.
What's funny about life here is that all these events, and many others, are mandatory. I'm sorry, but you must participate in the dance off, you must attend the costume party, and you must hike up to see a beautiful view of Chaquijyá...
The best and hardest part about the PD position is that the line between work and play is blurry at best.