Saturday, January 05, 2008

Reyes Magos

Today is the festival of Reyes Magos or the three kings, a big deal here in Oaxaca and part of all the holiday festivities. I don't know much about why they celebrate the three kings on this day, not being religious and knowing next to nothing about the bible (except for the verse that is stamped on the bottom of In-N-Out Burger cups and displayed by crazies at football games) I just party with everyone else and trust that the bible says a big party is okay with Jesus!

I have been volunteering at the Centro de Esperanza Infantil, an organization that sponsors street kids by paying for their school supplies, uniforms, and tuition. Every year the Centro has a huge party on Reyes Magos for the children they sponsor. The children play games, are entertained by clowns, eat lunch, and at the end of the festivities they receive new clothes, backpacks and other small gifts. It is quite the production, the Centro has over 500 kids sponsored and we think over 300 show up to this party to receive these gifts.

I showed up at 8am this morning to help set up for the party and was put in charge of Pin the Tail on the Donkey or....Ponle la Cola al Burro! This is a very serious responsibility as you will see by my facial expressions in some of the photos below. I think the woman that was taking these photos was trying to make me look as crabby and awful as possible but contrary to what the pictures look like I had a good time. Here I am, blindfold in one hand and tail in the other, looking like I'm being attacked by a pack of kids desperate to Ponle la Cola al Burro! "Step back! I'm not a nurturer! I have never been in a room with this many children before in my life! Help! Someone help!"

This next photo shows me turning a child three times, tres vueltas, as you can see another very serious job.

A child trying to break my concentration while I'm focusing on tying the blindfold just right so there is absolutely, positively, no cheating. Oh, except for all the family members barking orders at the children telling them exactly where to put the tail. Seriously, it was a barrage of "Higher! To the Left! There! There! There! There!"

This is not supposed to be about fun, this is supposed to be about accuracy. The tail goes here!

I started out giving presents to every child and ended up giving too many away so I had to become the draconian game master and make it a real competition. I also resorted to having brothers and sisters go together so that they could share a gift. I'm not cut out for the rigors of Ponle la Cola al Burro. Sigh...

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