Saturday, 21 April 2012

El Doce de Abril.

The 12th of April, out here is a very important date for all Garifunas because it marks the anniversary of the date that the Garifunas first arrived in Honduras and this year was their 215th anniversary. This day calls for a parade through the village and a great big festival and party all day long until the very early hours of the morning! It is even more special for the people of Punta Gorda because it was here where they first arrived. Punta Gorda was the first place that the Garifunas saw of honduras.
So Ally and I got up fairly early and headed down to see what was happening in the village already. We had heard that the parade was starting at 8, so that meant in Honduras it was going to start at 9.30 ish. However being british we still turned up at 8. There were still a load of people about, people from all over the island and many schools from other towns had come to learn about the Garifuna (or Garinagu in their native language) people. Of course all of our students were also there for the day so we sat and talked to them for a while and then we suddenly heard the beat of drums coming from afar and we raced to go and see what was happening with the parade so that we could go and get some good pictures of this annual event. The rest of the day transpired with us just enjoying the festivities, sampling some of the many different types of gorgeous food which had been prepared by some local women in the village, which varied from fried chicken, plantain chips or ‘tajadas’, ‘pastelitos’ and even some lovely ‘tapado’ which is basically a coconut based stew loaded with plantains, onion, garlic and in this particular case, fish. All of the village had come out to celebrate today so we met up with some of our friends, like Yandra (who had come back from the mainland for the celebration) Ziggy, Dioxy, Audrey, Nora and Michael. Prof Lee also turned up and had brought with him a huge volleyball net and a bag of balls so Ally went to go and help set up a little tournament for the kids to get involved in, whilst I watched the procession of ‘Little Miss Garifuna 2012’ with Yandra in which many of the girls involved had to partake in a dance competition. One of the crowd favourites was a girl who probably was no older than 5-ish, who had been taught to dance at a very young age and who was working her stuff doing a very ‘hip popping’ version of the Punta dance, was very good indeed.
Halfway through the day, our dive instructors Pol and Ingrid showed up to see what was going on and we all went out for a beer at a local restaurant so that we could have a bit of a catch up and also say a goodbye as they were moving on to another country in about 4 days so the likelihood would be that we would not see them again. So after saying farewell to Pol and Ingrid we all headed to church for their special service that they had planned for today, with plenty of music and dancing and shouting praise. Sadly Ally was feeling a little under the weather and so went outside to go and get a drink and this in when all hell broke loose ....
I lost him ...
I know what your thinking, lost?? but Tom you never lose anything ... how could you lose a person? ... I know, I know. Well to be honest it was both of our faults as we both went looking for each other but in completely different directions and both kept on moving when we should have been staying in one place. I went back to the house thinking that Ally had maybe gone back there for a nap as he was feeling unwell, but I had given my key to Ally earlier that day so that he could go and get some swimming shorts so I couldn’t get into the house and so I soon headed back down to the beach (after sitting in the hammock for a while thinking that he would return) to enjoy the rest of the party. So I sat on the beach and watched the concert for a little while and listened to the great music whilst pondering what to do and where to go and look for Ally. Thinking that some time had passed and that Ally must have thought to go back home, I went to go and check again but sadly no, still no Ally. We had been looking for each other for a good 2 hours by now and I was absolutely dumbfounded that we hadn’t crossed paths in this tiny village in that time. So I was walking back down the road, down by Mary Lou’s house and lo and behold there was Ally at the local ‘pulperia’ (like a little hole in the wall shop type thing) buying some Hair dye with one of his students because Derrian wanted to paint his hair black so that he would look more like a local!
Anyway, we then went to go and chill on the beach a little more before heading to Mary Lou’s for dinner, which was lovely as always, and then I headed home, as Ally went to Derrian’s house to go and get his hair dyed, and sat down to watch Toy Story 3, nursing my sun burn from a whole day standing in the sun ... my poor little nose. 
Overall it was a fantastic day, even though it was very long and very draining, but it was amazing to see the whole village come together for something so important for them. It was so good to be a part of something which has been happening for 214 years!
Hope you enjoyed this post, sorry I have been a bit slack lately, I do promise to try and keep up!
Till next time,

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