Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Independence Day: Celebrating Everything But Independence

September 15 is a very important day for not only Guatemalans but all of Central America. On this day last week, it marked 193 years of Guatemala’s and Central America’s independence from the Spanish crown. It is celebrated with parades, high school marching bands, fireworks (more than usual that is), food and much festivity.

In the Family Support Centre it was no different.  Thursday last week leading up to the almost week long celebrations, the Family Support Centre once again turned chaotic with the arrival of this year’s Mini-Feria. And the fact the rain forced everyone inside, only heightened the craziness and fun.

As always there were decorations, food, games, prizes, smiles and laughter. The mothers had all laboured hard over the previous days to supply the kids and each other with a smorgasbord of treats and snacks.

The day started off with the formal national flag ceremony and anthem, which was followed by a very important speech regarding the true independence of Guatemala.

Ilcy, Yesica and Wilson bearing the national and department flags for the National Anthem.

Despite being called Independence Day, it is hard to say that the people of Guatemala and much of Central America, for that matter, were every really made independent: rather that its control and profits was transferred from a small elite in Spain to a smaller elite of Spaniards living in Guatemala. With an economy controlled by corrupt bureaucrats, manipulated and tainted by the west; a vast majority of people without the freedom of self-agency; inaccessibility  to education, health and social services; and an inability to do be who or what they want to, due to a lack of resources: can Guatemalan’s really be called ‘Independent’?  

Thus what was celebrated last week at the Family Support Centre was not Independence, but the love for a home land, and the initial steps being undertaken towards the nation’s freedom; achieved through, what the Family Support Centre does best: educating the youth of the Nation.

After this somber reminder of reality, the fun got underway. With their tickets in hand, the kids and moms devoured the delicacies on offer. There was crazy corn, cotton candy, enchiladas, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and of course the obligatory fresh fruit just to name a few.

Jonathan getting his fill of crazy corn.

With still half swallowed food in their mouths, the kids charged full speed into the games. There was the traditional coin toss; ten pin bowling; the pyramid skittle; the lottery/bingo; bean bag toss; and as with every year the crowd favourite was foosball. Prizes went flying out the door and the festivities continued on until dusk began to set in, calling an end to another fun filled Feria at the Family Support Centre.

Amy and Evelyn sharing secrets.

Tia Leti selling her hot dogs.

Yadira winning prizes in ten pin bowling.

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