Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nicaragua Independence Day 2008

Nicaragua´s Independece Day doesn´t just celebrate the independence of Nicaragua, but of 5 Central American countries: Guatamala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It´s a pretty big deal. To celebrate, there are parades the two days before Independence Day. The first parade is when all the primary schools march. But not all the students get to march in Chinandega because we´re such a big city with so many schools, only the TOP students. This means the students who have the best overall percentage in classes, the band, and then some baton twirlers. Our neighbors marched with their school, and they carried the school banner.
Our other neighbours also were in the parade for their school. This is taken afterwards, in front of their house. One was a baton twirler, the girl in the middle was one of the best students, and the little one carried the Nicaraguan national symbol.
The big day in the second parade-the parade for all of the high schools. This year 21 high schools marched in the parade. My school has 4,000 students, and a few hundred walked. First come the best of the best, wearing their very military style outfits, or maybe it looks more like a pilot. The best of the best carry the school banner, the school symbol and the flags for all the Central American countries that gained their independence on this day. Its a pretty big deal. And they have to buy those outfits!!! 500 cords! (40 dollars). The teachers walk behind all of the students, which is why we were lucky enough to get to walk too.
Me and my favorite students. Maried, Williams, Carlos, me, Ricardo, Mariela, and Rider.

Jeff and one of his students who is carrying the flag for Jeff´s school, Tomás Ruiz.
The chaos that is the parade.

Danica and me holding our school´s symbol. Danica is a new TEFL volunteer who is replacing me! Yeah!

Jeff school marched at spot number 14. This took place at about 10 a.m. We got to the baskeball court, where this all takes place, at 6:30 a.m. And it was hot. Really hot. Those poor kids in those pilot suits.
And here come Jeff and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is our new sitemate. She is working at Jeff´s school, and will replace him there.

All schools must do a presentation before they leave the baskeball court to march. Here is my schools amazing performance.
And we´re off marching. Thank god. We were the LAST school. Number 21! We left at 11 a.m.
I don´t think that I can fully explain the chaos that is the Indpendence Day parade. So you get there in the morning and wait all day to start. The baskeball court is filled with hundreds, thousands of students and other observers. Then you finally start walking. I was already drenched with sweat when we left. The march is about 2 hours long. The band plays and the girls dance throughout the march. The sidewalks are packed with people watching. People are sitting on roofs, the sidewalk is overflowing on to the street. Then people start walking with you, infiltrating the band. I was walking with kids and adults up on me the entire time. It´s actually scary. The police sort of try and help, but give up after awhile. I was kicking people out and moving people the entire time. It´s hard for the kids to play the drums when someone is standing right next to them. But that is what those baton twirlers are there for. They swing those things right out into the crowd to move them back and keep them away. That part is great.

That was our second and last Nicaraguan Independece Day celebration. I know for sure that I will never experience anything like that again. Tear.


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