|Elsy (3rd year high school ~ senior)
escorting Juan Miguel into the church/
auditorium to roaring applause
Today, we celebrated National Teacher Day (actually the 22nd, but that’s no fun since it’s Sunday). It was the job of the 3rd years (~ seniors) to put it on. They did a pretty good job, putting up decorations, putting up a piñata for teachers to wack at, providing lunch and MCing the 2-hour marathon of presentations/sketches/videos/improv. There were basically three parts to the presentations: (a) videos with pictures, music and some sorts of platitudes about the hard work and dedication of the teacher (and what they have to put up with and still keep being a wonderful example), (b) presentation of gifts from grades for their teachers, sometimes with adorable little speeches about their teachers, and always given and received with a hug and (c) some sorts of improv sketches, mostly where teachers had to imitate each other or their students. There was one largely unsuccessful attempt to get students to imitate their teachers, and generally, it was the same pretty popular teachers that were called up again and again to mimic, to much laughter, whistles and hisses (good, here) by the crowd, which got progressively more rowdy as the event progressed. Laura and I realized that by this time in the morning, they would have had 2 recesses already, so they could hardly stay in their seats. After the presentations ended (and a mandatory little Bible passage and prayer from Juan Miguel accompanied by a rousing song) everyone filed out, passing through the hug line of teachers. It was intensely adorable, and also heartwarming to see how genuine the hugs often were.
|backup dancers for “Jesus es mi Superheroe”|
|Esau stuck dancing with the broomstick|
|Juan Miguel with one of his impeccable immitations
(I didn’t need to know who it was to laugh hysterically)
|such cute Kinder kids!|
Last night Laura and I went to a house meeting of sorts that happens every Thursday night in 3-4 homes around San Ignacio. Whole families gather ostensibly to hear a little lesson based on a Bible passage, but mostly, I think, to hang out and eat food together. Having these meetings in people’s houses makes them much more accessible transportation-wise, and they give a wonderful forum for intergenerational participation. The theme this time was fathers (of course). Emma, the pastor who’s house we were at, read from the passage telling us to honor our father. The group talked about what that meant. Most people talked about obedience and respect, and Emma drove that point home, saying that even the worst father in the world deserves both. I think of respect, obedience and honor as something to earn, not as a given. In a lot of ways, their conception of honor is the same as my conception of familial love: necessary, without question and without limit.
|love line as kids exit
(center with the teacher in the pink shirt is Raulito)
What really impressed me about this gathering was how safe, open and participatory the environment was. Fathers told about the birth of their first child (with many corrections from their wives, of course). Kids were asked what they appreciated about their parents or wanted from them in the future. A four-year-old responded “que me quiere mucho” (that he love me a lot), a 20-something with her own baby’s that, though they had gone through rough times in their relationship lately, she appreciated that he was always there for her. The gathering was also effortlessly intergenerational. It helped that, except for 5 of us, everyone was one extended family, but grandmas and sons and moms nursing babies sat on each others laps and, if young enough, bopped around and emitted a dull but well loved roar. Wherever babies turned there was someone waiting with a besito (little kiss). It would have been really nice for me and Laura to feel like outsiders, but in reality, everyone was happy to share a smile and a baby to laugh with.