Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Turns out today is Mardi Gras, which is called Carnival here.  Totally snuck up on me.  The town as a whole doesn't do much, but the kids got a party at school.  Forgetting the day, I breakfasted, showered, did some quick laundry, and headed to the health post to see if any of the women in my group were around to buy veggie seeds.  Ela and Elkin came by to collect me, so I could see the party at school.

We went in to the large school courtyard and there appeared to be a strange fusion of Halloween, Holi (the color festival in India), and Easter going on.

Kids were dressed up in costumes everywhere, the girls tended toward sparkles and fairy wings (both purchased and home made), while the boys tended toward footy pajamas with a Spiderman mask.  Never mind that the footy pajamas were generally covered in dolphins or cows jumping over moons.  There was a smattering of animals... dogs, tigers, and such.  Elkin proudly sported a new Sportacus costume from Lazy Town, one of his favorite TV shows.  There were a few clowns running around (again, onesies of varying colors, topped with a classic rainbow wig), and Elkin did NOT like them.  Hendrick started out running around in a full on Batman costume, but tired of that and stripped down to the Ben 10 outfit he was wearing underneath.  Pretty sure that was his pajamas, actually.

There was colored powder and confetti everywhere.  General chaos reigned, as kids, parents, and teachers alike ran about ambushing one another with their colorful ammunition.  At first I only saw them with baggies of confetti and grabbing piles up from the floor.  Soon, I noticed the were also using cascarones (colored eggs shells filled with confetti and then closed with tissue paper).  One girl near me sort of shyly sprinkled some confetti on my head, smiling, but was too timid to throw it with much gusto.  It didn't seem to be a terribly religious celebration, but they certainly went into it with enthusiasm!  Not too different from Fat Tuesdays elsewhere, I suppose.

One teacher had a microphone and was talking over the madness trying to get just the first and second year students out in the middle of the courtyard.  Eventually most of them turned up to give their "presentation" of a dance.  Clearly nothing in particular had been planned because when they turned on the music, the kids all sort of hopped around in a mob.  Each successive grade came out as well, taking their turns.  Those not dancing were too busy attacking one another and eating snacks to pay attention.  

I was thoroughly enjoying the spectacle, and wondering whether I could get any ammunition of my own when I saw a flurry of movement to my left and I was hit squarely with an egg.  To my dismay, this was not one of the confetti filled eggs, but a fully raw egg, leaving me with white and yolk dripping down my face, hair, and shoulder, into my pockets and onto my feet. Although I hadn't been the intended target, I definitely got the full brunt of the projectile.  The girl next to me (who I think was meant to be the recipient) was horrified, and the assailant was nowhere to be seen.

So, my festivities were cut short.  I don't do that well with sticky, so I excused myself to wash my face, hair, and clothing for the second time that day.  I had to chuckle as I walked home, with egg seeping through my sweater and onto my t-shirt beneath.  Whoever threw that egg is going to have a good story to tell his buddies!

I didn't have my camera along, so I took some shots of of the patojos (kids) when they got home after I had cleaned up.  Even though Fernando and Elkin are not old enough for school, they were quick to embrace the festivities.  And, why take the costume off once at home?  Play time!!

Elkin is announcing something very important.  No idea what he said.


Hendrick didn't want to be in the picture, but he couldn't stand that they were posing "wrong" so came to fix them up.

Much better.  Apparently.

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