In the middle of September, we celebrated Indendence Day (El Dia de la Independencia) and the Annual Fair (Feria). The feria itself takes place in Xela, and is the largest of its kind in Guatemala. People come from all over the country to attend, and there are concerts and parties taking place everywhere. Xela, normally a quieter city even on the weekends, became a bustling party town. It was almost hard to believe we were in the same city!
All week, the students had been looking forward to the celebration. We began with a talk led by Carmen, coordinator of the social work program on the meaning of Independence Day, then onto playing of the national anthem, and finished with a bit of dancing to marimba music. Then the fair began!
We tried to re-create the fair at the Family Support centre with decorations, typical fair food, as well as games. Tickets were handed out for each of the games, as well as to ‘buy’ food which ranging from french fries and hot dogs, to slushies and fried stuffed bananas (platano relleno).
Many of the Pop Wuj students came out to participate and help manage the games and prizes. By the end of the afternoon, the children were grinning from ear to ear, their hands full of presents and their bellies full of treat. Amy declared it as the best day of the year at the Centre, and I had to agree.