>> Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Last Friday was Nicaraguan Independence Day. To celebrate, there was a huge desfile (parade) in Masaya with all the schools represented by their marching bands.
First, these girls were the beginning of my school's group in the parade. INJOCRUM is the nickname for my school: Instituto Nacional José de la Cruz Mena.
This is the band marching to the stadium to begin the festivities. The band lined up to go from our school through town, and we just walked on the street taking up the entire road. My school is on a one-way street, so all the cars, taxis, and horse-drawn buggies that were driving down the road had to follow slowly behind the group (honking all the while) until they could find a side street detour. No one in the band seemed even remotely concerned that we were stopping traffic on one of the biggest streets in the city.
Finally, after waiting in the stadium for about two and a half hours with every school and band in (what seemed like) the entire department of Masaya, they began the festivities. People in the podium announced each school including the names of the directors and sub-directors, the number of students, the number of teachers, the number of band members, and a lot of other information I really didn't understand. Then each band paraded out of the stadium while playing to begin the actual parade through the town. This is part of the in-the-stadium parade (my school was dead last to be called, so we did a lot of standing around in the baseball stadium). I'm not sure what these instruments are called, but they my favorite part of the band. The kids who play them always have complicated dances to do while playing or marching and they always seem to have the most fun out of anyone in the group.
Finally, this is a shot of my band in the middle of the crowd watching the desfile. The woman in the black and white polka-dotted shirt is one of my counterparts, Francis. She hung out with me all day so I wouldn't get lost.
Afterward, all the teachers from my school went out to lunch at a nice restaurant (the lunch was funded by a mini-fiesta my school had a few weeks ago--school ended at 10:00 am that day and students paid 5 córdobas to get in to the dance, which lasted until noon). All in all, Independence day was a fun, though long, day. Paul and I also both had Monday and Tuesday off from school, so we're only now winding down from our Independence Day five-day weekend. Tomorrow and Thursday it's back to school, but then Friday begins another weekend. Don't worry, we're not working too hard, and surely there's another celebration just around the corner.