Last week was particularly good. Probably the best I’ve ever had in site. Which is great, but also bittersweet since I’m leaving soon. Still, I got some good pictures out of it and it’s nice to have even more positive memories of Santa Cruz to take with me.
Last Sunday I went to a nearby aldea as a representative for the women’s office (originally they had invited the mayor’s wife, but she had a prior commitment and sent me in her place). I showed up not really knowing what I was supposed to be doing or really even what was supposed to happen. Come to find out the aldea was celebrating carnaval and my job was to help judge the Señora Carnaval Pageant. I even got to crown the winner.
This was all just a precursor to for Tuesday, however, when the real fun happened. All of the kids participated in a parade (I got to help my neighbor make a robot costume for it) and in the afternoon roving gangs of kids terrorized the streets flinging flour and ash.
I took this picture and then promptly got hit in the face with a handful of ash.
Carnaval wasn’t the only thing that kept me busy last week, though. All of the youth groups took the final exam and I began awarding diplomas (and cupcakes) to the students by community. Some of these graduations are fairly uneventful. They show up, I give them their goodies and we all go home. But some of the communities have taken it upon themselves to really make it special. One prepared me a huge and delicious lunch (I was so full I considered riding the microbus home instead of walking). Another decorated with balloons, served tostadas and even presented me with a certificate and small gifts. Needless to say, both were quite touching. Tears might have even been shed.
Otherwise, the survey (we’re about halfway through all the communities) and planning for International Women’s Day continue and I find myself enjoying working with the team in the muni more and more. I feel included and like my opinions more valued than ever before. Plus, there’s a lot more laughter and camaraderie in the muni these days. They particularly enjoy goading me into saying bad words in spanish. But I’m still thankful for the old administration. I ran into some of them last week and they invited me out for an afternoon cerveza. It’s nice to feel a part of so many different groups.
I hope this week is just as good.