Sweet Home Guatemala My experience volunteering and reporting in Antigua -Guatemala.

Party

GUATEMALA | Friday, 29 May 2009 | Views [856]

The piñata is the sign and the children of the school know it. Today is the birthday party of all who were born in may. Every child receives sweets and the birthday kids receive gifts, while they wait sitting in circle for his turn to strike the piñata.

 They have a formidable strength so the color elephant flies. While I observe, a small girl approaches to me and says: “Take pictures of her”. “Why?”, I ask her. “It is my little sister”, she answers. Click. The girl smiles.

After the piñata all the children stand in a row to for their turn to get a toast and a cup of atole.

Then will come the farewell of the teachers that go away, like me. Sitting next to other volunteer we will receive a hug of all the school children and cards of those who were our students.

As the row advances I am aware that it is possible that this is the last time that I will see those faces, that this are the last moments that I will tread the school.

When I leave I see my footprint on the floor and I hope that the wind does not erase it, that at least stays a slightly diffuse figure, that giving that steps had a sense.

In the night is the barbecue. Dom's farewell to the voulnteers that as I leave and of us towards GVI. All is cordially. I receive a card to thank the work and a small present. Things are ok, in calmness, in circle all the volunteers one next to the other, when from nowhere starts playing a song: "La Manteca" (butter in english)in the version of King Africa. Spontaneously I see that the group raises their arms and does a choreography while from the speakers I listen again and again: "Baila, manteca, manteca, manteca, manteca, manteca". Suddenly, Dom shouts: "Enrique". And it is my turn to do the manteca. I go to the middle and dance of happiness, of gratefulness, like in a spiritual ritual, to the pace of the manteca, because I was teacher and builder and without knowing I was a student, and because I was a journalist, but before I was a person. Because of it I dance and smile and laugh. I am happy, yes I am happy.

Spanish:

Party

 La piñata es la señal y los niños de la escuela lo saben. Hoy se celebran los cumpleaños de todos los que nacieron en mayo. Cada niño recibe dulces y los festejados regalos, mientras esperan sentados en círculo su turno para golpear la piñata. Tienen una fuerza formidable y el elefante de colores vuela. Mientras observo se me acerca una niña pequeña y me dice: “Sácale fotos a ella”. Por qué, le pregunto. Es mi hermanita, me responde. Click. La niña sonríe. Después de la piñata todos los niños hacen fila para comer una tostada y una tasa de atole. Luego vendrá la despedida a los profesores que se van, entre ellos yo. Sentado junto a otra voluntaria, recibiremos un abrazo de todos los niños de la escuela y tarjetas de los que fueron nuestros alumnos. A medida que la fila avanza voy tomando conciencia de que es posible que sea la última vez que vea esas caras, que sean los últimos momentos que pise esa escuela y al irme y ver mi huella en el suelo de tierra, ruego porque el viento no la borre, que al menos quede una figura algo difusa, pero que haya válido la pena dar esos pasos. En la noche es el asado. Despedida de Dom hacía los que nos vamos y de nosotros hacia ellos. Todo muy cordial. Recibo una tarjeta para agradecer el trabajo y un pequeño presente. Las cosas están ok, en calma. Parados en círculo, todos los voluntarios uno al lado del otro, cuando de la nada comienza a sonar una canción: “La Manteca” en la versión de King Africa. Espontáneamente veo que el grupo levanta sus brazos y hace una coreografía mientras desde los parlantes escucho una y otra vez: “Baila, manteca, manteca, manteca, manteca, manteca”. De pronto, Dom grita: “Enrique”. Y es mi turno de hacer la manteca. Salgo al ruedo y bailo de alegría, de agradecimiento, como en un ritual espiritual, al ritmo de la manteca, porque fui maestro y constructor y sin saberlo estaba siendo alumno, y porque fui periodista, pero antes fui persona. Por eso bailo y sonrío y me río. Estoy feliz, sí estoy feliz.

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