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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Earth Angels III

Now, for the next installment provided by our generous contributor, David. He’s in Nicaragua, engaging in a (self-motivated) youth art-education undertaking that he calls The Angel Art Project.

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“The Birthday Party,” by David Chatowsky

Yesterday, March 15th, I took the bus from Nagarote to La Paz Centro. There, I was met by good ol’ Jairo, his 6 year old son Alexander, and Jesus, a friend of Jairo. We went up the main street of La Paz Centro to the hotel where our friend Erica was staying, and sat down in the shade. Sitting in the shade, talking and eating while the wind cools you is a big Sunday past time. So there we sat, waiting for Erica to come out of the hotel and join us under a little canopy. Erica soon came outside to let us know she was feeling a little under the weather. “I think it was something I ate,” were her exact words. Jesus said she was hung over.

So we sat there for awhile talking about the local happenings. Then Erica said she was going to a birthday party for her uncle’s daughter, who had just turned one. “The Mayor of La Paz Centro will be there and you could meet her,” Erica said. I wanted to go and meet the Mayor, so off we went.

The Birthday party was a sight to behold. Never had I seen a bigger one. It took place in the shade of 300 mango trees. The trees belong to Erica´s grandmother and have been providing Erica´s family with Mangos for over three generations. They told me how that week alone they had collected over 12,000 mangos and were expecting at least 12,000 more in what the locals call a “charge,” when the fruit is all ready to be harvested. The trees have mutiple charges in a fruiting season, while the mangos are no bigger than the palm of my hand.

March is mango season in Nicaragua, and the ripe fruit is everywhere. At least two or three times a day I see someone eating a mango.

There were at least 60 adults at this birthday party and 50 children, give or take, all sitting around white plastic tables under the mango trees. Erica found our table, which Jairo and I picked up and moved closer to the trunk a mango tree. They wanted to be in the deepest part of the shade. “We are bored of the sun,” Jairo said. So there we sat under the mango tree, near a tent that housed the birthday cake, and an old trailor filled with gifts, and a stereo system blairing local music. In front of us lay all the people sitting around their own white tables.

Soon a liter of Coca-Cola was brought to the table along with a bowl of ice. Then a plate of food, beef in a chutney sauce with a small salad, and a piece of bread. All the cooking was done over a wood fire in a small building on the edge of the grove. The food and drink were brought to the tables by local women.

A clown appeared and performed tricks and games for the children, a large pinata, which looked like a Strawberry Shortcake doll, was lowered from a mango tree, and while the children were beating Strawberry Shortcake a band showed up in a white pick up truck. Just as Shortcake was giving up her ghost, the band started to blare and the children shouted with glee. “The Mayor is here,” Erica told me. I looked up and saw a tall women who was dressed in a muticolor blouse. After awhile Erica said, “Now is a good time to talk with her, because later she will be busy.” So talk to her we did. Well, actually, it was Jairo and Erica who did all the talking. They told her about my Angel Art Program, and how I wanted to help out the poorest schools in La Paz Centro. The mayor said she was interested in the program, and that we would meet later to discuss at what schools I could help out.

After we met the mayor, but before we left the mango farm, I did some video recording of the party, and then we went on our way. I recorded Jairo explaining about a few other native fruit trees. We got into a taxi and went back to the hotel in La Paz Centro. What a lovely, tasty, beautiful, productive party that was.

Find all of David’s reports from Nicaragua here at the index.

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