Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meet La Chatona ...

Meet La Chatona ...

y el Caballito (little horse)

Adelaida dropped by the other day to ask if I would like to see her school project before she passed it along to its new owners. I gladly assented and we walked over to her house where I saw these colorful giants waiting up on her porch.

Wow! What kind of project is this? Adelaida jumped into the Caballito costume

and proceeded to give me a spirited description of the meaning behind the large characters.

As near as I can understand, it seems that la Chatona was a famous woman of the jungles of Petén who would come riding her little horse to the dances and always be the life of the party. She is now a fixture at all parties and dances in the province ... so much so that on December 6th, 2007, the dance called El Baille de la Chatona y el Caballito (The Dance of Chatona and Little Horse) was declared by the Minister of Culture and Sports to be "a part of the intangible, cultural heritage of the nation for its expression of the history, culture and art of the region".

Apparently our local school children were saddened that they did not have a Chatona and Caballito to liven up their celebrations. And Adelaida had been assigned the task, for her main project of the year, of creating something lasting for the local school district. She made an excellent mark on her project ... and the school now has its own La Chatona y el Caballito.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Only in Petén

This is the MAIN STREET in Santa Elena / Flores!! If you look straight ahead, you will see the island of Flores ... the capitol of Petén ... and this is the corner of the main intersection in town. Months ago the muni ripped up and dug out the main road from this intersection to the island capitol ... and the road to the right which is the main route out of town. They worked long enough to get a good deep hole which promptly filled with water, at which point they closed down the operation and left it as you see it ... with grass growing right up to the intersection.

You can only imagine what this has done to our traffic patterns!!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Volunteering with the Children

We have just finished a fun-filled two weeks with volunteers Cadie Powers (left) and Theresa Caballero who have been doing a variety of activities with a group of children ranging in age from about 5 to 12 years.

For 3 hours every afternoon, about 25 kids have been coming to the Ix-canaan Library to do a daily project,

followed by reading, game playing,

art work

some lessons in photography

and fun in the playground.

On their final day, Theresa and Cadie even brought a cake to be shared by all ...