Published: March 23rd 2008March 21st 2008
Apologies again, we had a problem with the internet back at the orphanage so haven't got online in a while. Quite a lot has happened since the last blog, mostly fiestas (parties or celebrations). First one up was Carnival, its basically like a kids version of the carnival that they have in Brazil and every other Latin American country, except it was a month after Guatemala's Carnival due to the school term starting around the same time. All the volunteers painted their faces green and wore little antennas, we were supposed to be martians in case you cant guess from the photos. So basically each class did a wee performance, the younger kids did group poems and songs, and a few of the older kids did dances, some were pretty funny. One girl from each class took part in a parade for Reina del Carnival (Queen of Carnival). There was also a fancy dress parade which was quite funny. The terrorist was a bit over the top after the recent uprising in Livingston, which is at the mouth of Rio Dulce on the Caribbean cost. Basically some indiginous guy was thrown in jail for a murder, who later turned out to
be a chief of an Aldea somewhere on the river, so almost 20 aldeas took to arms and went to livingston to demand his freedom where they took 15 police hostages who where later released unharmed. They also kidnapped 4 Belgians which some of you might have heard about, apparently it happened on the river not far from the bridge in Rio Dulce. Nothing to worry about though.
So anyway, back to the Carnival, everyone then got lots of sweets and treats and we finished up with a Pica Pica fight. In the rest of Guatemala, Pica Pica is the powder out of rose buds before they open, pica means something like stingy. In Casa Guatemala the kids make Pica Pica out of plastic wrappers and thick shiney plastic sheets, they cut it into tiny pieces with a pair of scissors, and at carnival the have a Pica Pica War were everyone basically has a bag of Pica Pica or eggshells full of them and everyone runs around rubbing it into each others faces, hair and any bare skin showing. And yes, it really does sting. After that we all took a swim in the river to get cleaned
up and headed home.
Next up was the birthday party, basically instead of celebrating every birthday they wait until the end of the month and have one big party for eveyone whose birthday fell in that month. As it was getting close to Holy Week, or spring break, Guatemala's biggest holidays, Andres' family, the rich ones I told you about, came to stay at their house here on Rio Dulce. They decided to come visit the orphanage and brought lots of materials, snacks and about 10 piñatas. So a few piñatas were taken out for the birthday party and absolutly destroyed, good craic.
All the volunteers were invited to Andres' house for a dinner, so the next Saturday night their smaller boat (which I'd be happy with as my only boat) came to pick us up at the orphanage and brought us down the river. Were were welcomed by a fridge full of cold Gallo's and a few bowls of munchies. A lot of beer and rum later we were served barbecued steaks with onions, and a load of nachos and dips. I'm sure there was something else to eat but after so much rum I can't really
remember what it was. Not to worry tho, we all had a great night and were left home again for about 1am or 2am.
This week, Holy Week, myself and a handful of other volunteers had to come to work in the Hotel Backpackers. So we've been here since monday and yesterday was our last day. At first I was working in the bar and then changed over to the kitchen as more girls came to back us up. I actually enjoyed the kitchen more than the bar as I got on better with the kitchen workers and it meant I could come out to the disco every night and have a dance and a few drinks without having to worry about the boss looking over my shoulder. So monday we celebrated St. Paddy's day of course and don't worry, I did Ireland proud. I rounded up all the volunteers that weren't working and we headed out to find some whiskey at about 12 noon. The only Irish Whiskey was pretty expensive so we settled for Scotch and bought 3 litres. We headed to the park, found a table and sat getting drunk and listening to Irish music and
rebel songs. Monday was pretty dead in the bar so I didn't have to do much work thankfully. So we sat drinking all night and to finish up I poured us a round of Baby Guinesses, the closest thing to the real one we could get our hands on. Henry, the gingo, decided it would be funny to push me and Andres into the river fully clothed so we ended up having a midnight swim. After we jumped in again a few times everyone else jumped in as well, think we were probably too drunk too feel the cold. Needless to say I had my mobile in my pocket so that doesn't work anymore, I did get a new one tho so my number is now +502-45758922. Unfortunatly I didn't get a lot of pictures of Semana Santa (Holy Week) or St. Paddy's Day, but I'm gonna get a copy of everyone else's and maybe I'll post them here as well so keep your eyes peeled.
I've just started my first day of my monthly break, but since I've worked so long without a break I'm due a double break. So the plan is to travel north to see
some temples and ruins, then east into Belize and back down south to the Caribbean and get a boat up the river again to Casa Guatemala. So stay tuned for the upcoming adventure. Happy Easter everyone, hope you have a good one.
There are more photos below