The fishing party (l-r): Boli, Mango, Edwar, and Elyer. Elyer is holding a piece of sugarcane (see below).
A few weeks ago we went to our friend Emily's site to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of her town's Ecoclub. There was a parade featuring Ecoclubs from around the Veraguas/Azuero area with their school bands. Then there was a large eco-fair featuring food made with vegetables grown by the kids. A teacher who works with the club had us all try batidos de zapallo, or squash shakes. They tasted like pumpkin pie in a shake. In the picture above the kids were making yucca and roasted pork all wrapped in banana leaves. Yum, yum! Ecoclub President Luis (left) is friends with young people in our town.
There were so many people at the fair after the parade! The kids in white shirts and straw hats were part of a traditional dance group. The fair was held beneath a big new pavilion at the primary school.
These ladies in lilac, the color of the town, danced in unison to a marching band in matching suits. This is a very Panamanian parade routine.
This youngster is a drummer in one of the many bands in the parade. Most marching bands in Panama practice three monoths a year, October, November and December, to get ready for the many parades honoring Panama's independence from Spain and Colombia, Flag Day, Mother's Day, and other big holidays.
The bugle players above are from the private boys school in Emily's town. They were probably the best band in the parade. They all wear khaki uniforms to school, where they study agriculture. The local Ecoclub had a lot of environmental banners. One said, "Planting trees and plants native to our region preserves our watershed." Deforestation is causing water pollution and other problems throughout Latin America. Viva Ecoclub!
Before the parade we went to Mass at the church in Emily's town (notice the lilac trim). Lisa also went to a Mass here recently with our next door neighbors to honor Saint Michael.
Lisa had a meeting one day somewhere else, so Matt went fishing with some neighbors. They hiked an hour through the fields to get to the mud- and debris-choked streams some folks fish in during the rainy season. Luckily, the snakes heard the gang coming and took off! Boli took this photo.
This picture shows the campo with an approaching storm in the distance. The sugarcane (right) will be cut after Christmas, but some of it can be cut now for personal use. During the fishing trip everyone chewed on some cane to enjoy the sweet juice. Unfortunately Matt and the fishermen didn't make it home before the storm hit. They were covered in muck upon returning home.
Edwar and Boli went for a dip in a spring out in the middle of a sugarcane field. This water is nasty, but the kids don't care.
The boys caught about 6 of these fish, using sticks, lines, hooks, and worms. They made Matt take 2 of them after they fried 'em (above). People love these little fish in our town, even though they're tiny and full of bones. Most fishermen use nets, yielding way more fish. Matt prefers cans of sardines in red sauce, a Panama classic.
Here's Lisa showing off someone else's Panama hat after the parade. If you're out hiking around or working in the fields or watching a parade, you need a hat here! Lisa's wearing this one the cool way. Our pal Andrew is seen at right. Happy Thanksgiving to our friends and families! We miss everyone in NY and Nueva Inglaterra, not to mention CA, OH, and ONT. We pray you're all doing OK, especially Don. And we hope you have a nice holiday. Thanks again for checking out the blog!