So it turns out that I may be living in a real life version of ‘Quaker School’. Those of you from outside of Central Pennsylvania may not be terribly familiar with this quintessential example of thrifty Pennsylvanians and their homely attempts at inexpensive fun. Thus I suppose I’ll have to enlighten you as to the folkways of the Susquehanna Valley prior to drawing a real-life comparison to it (a lot of work for a little chuckle). ‘Quaker School’ is a “game” that I was taught growing up by my mother’s side of the family (by far the thriftier, more German and homelier side of the family). On warm summer evenings we would sit on my Grandma’s front porch (sweating profusely because we were too thrifty to even use fans) and situate ourselves in more or less a circle. The cousins, aunts, uncles and random passersby would recite the following verse and attempt to go the longest without violating the rules. The verse and the rules are as follows:
“Quaker School has now begun, no more laughing, no more fun.
No more showing big white teeth, no more chewing chewing-gum.
I’ve decided to explain my time with a pictorial history of the past 4 weeks – captions and explanations to be included. To give some context though, I moved out of Marla Fernandez’s house 2 weeks ago and into my own little apartment (this was the original intent, I loved living with Marla but the plan was always to move). I also bought myself a bicycle which I haven’t had since I was 15; I now pedal everywhere, it’s a lot of fun. For the past 4 weeks I've been spending the majority of my time at the Proyecto Paz y Justicia offices doing random jobs around the office (designing brochures, building a website, translation and creating a facebook group)...it's not been the most illustrious of work but it has kept me busy. Within the next week or two I should begin working with the gang program though....I'm excited.
The first weekend I was here Marla took me on a trip to Comayagua to visit with her children for Mother's Day - it was a nice time except for the car-ride (5 hours) during which time Marla's semi-senile mother, Fela, counted out loud each car that passed us by...I felt like I was riding in the car with my sister Megan.
The first week of work was spent supporting a strike in the central park by the local District Attorneys whose job it is to report government corruption to Congress. The D.A.'s nation-wide are tired of the corruption and government inaction so they called a hunger-strike for 37 days. We, the Mennonite Church were there to support the strikers and to help ensure that the local police didn't attempt to harm them when no one was looking.
We asked local citizens (and apparently foreigners) to sign a petition of protest.
The protest turned into a bit of a party, the Garifunas showed up with their drums and entertained us with their playing and dancing.
Well, I've run out of time...sorry for cutting it short but there's a lot to show and not enough time today, I'll finish up the display tomorrow. Blessings to you. Peace!