Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Settlement Day - Unveiling of the Mural AND the Parade

Monday was Garifuna Settlement Day (a national holiday in Belize) and the day before was full of preparations as well as its own events. The biggest Sunday event was in the evening with the unveiling ceremony for Mr. Pen Cayetano’s mural on the north wall of the town council hall.

Cultural entertainment played a big part, and the GLOW girls performed a short version of the Chumba, which is a traditional dance. They looked great in their matching traditional dresses, and all the practice seemed to have paid off since they were nearly perfect.

On the way to the performance

Nervous girls just before dancing

These boys focused on the view of the sea

After the unveiling, Mr. Cayetano spoke about the culture and the ancestors and explained all the parts of the mural including who the characters were and what the events meant in the history of the Garifuna people. Several times he mentioned that during the months of working alone with the mural he sometimes did not feel alone. Instead he felt that the ancestors were all around him as he worked.

Hayawadina Wayunagu
(Literal translation - Imagery of our Ancestors)

Pen's interpretation

Monday started early for us, but it was not the re-enactment of the arrival at dawn that occupied us. The float for the parade later in the day was over at Norielee’s house where she had worked her magic on a simple trailer. She had turned it into a small jungle with real plants that are part of Garifuna culture. Cathy and I took the giant tissue paper flowers that she had made. We attached them to each post of the side wall of the trailer. On the way back home we passed people who had been to the river for the re-enactment which was over.

Norie was "fluffing the stamens" on the tissue flowers.

At mid-morning we wolfed down a snack and prepared for the arrival for the GLOW girls to get dressed again in their traditional costumes to wear in the parade.

When the float arrived in the staging area, I took the banner to hang on the front of the truck so none of the girls would have to carry it. It was covered with small tissue paper flowers of black, white, and yellow. Norielee was there making last minute additions to her mini-jungle, and fortunately I had brought twine and lots of duct tape. It was certainly a MacGyver moment.

The handmade-duct-taped-on banner

When the float moved into position, I called Cathy who came running with the girls to hop on the float. Several girls were late, and one girl just forgot about the parade. Aidra arrived for the second half of the parade and took over so that we could come home and sit and re-hydrate.

And the parade begins. Norie really ran the show.

Aidra and Cathy. Aidra made all the dresses.

That night, Ava made a pot of spaghetti and meat sauce and brought it over for a relaxed supper.

Here are just a few pictures of those beautiful girls.



Comani and Shae




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