Dia de Independencia

Last week was a school break for my school. As much as I’m sure our students enjoyed it, I have a feeling that me and the rest of the teachers enjoyed it even more! I managed to sleep a few hours more each night, as I do every break here. However, this break meant that today’s post was delayed about a week. So, if you were starting to wonder where I was, now you know.

A week before yesterday, our school participated in an Independence day parade. Our parade was on the 13th, even though the actual holiday is the 15th. This marks the day in 1821 when Honduras (and El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) were all granted independence from Spain in 1821. It is their 4th of July, for those Americans reading this.

Preparations at Escuela Yeshua for the “big day” started over a month before it. Profe Lucas began practice for the school marching band. This consisted primarily of students from grades 4-6, along with a few from 3rd. grade. Most schooldays after school or toward the end of the school day, the band could be heard practicing out in the garage/patio. Practice was usually continued on Saturday as well. In addition to the band, our palillonas and pomponeras also practiced. The former consisted of girls waving batons and the latter of girls with pompons. Both consisted mostly of girls from the younger grades.

Students and family gathering before the start of the parade.
Students and family gathering before the start of the parade.

Finally the big day arrived. We traveled to the downtown part of Comayaguela where the parade was to begin (I rode in the back of a pickup truck with the instruments for the band). Escuela Yeshua was one of 60 schools, mostly elementary schools, to participate in this parade. The picture above doesn’t fully capture the feeling of being there at the beginning. I had to make my way through packed crowds of people in order to find where the students from our school were located. Thankfully, I wasn’t robbed or something worse.

Our march would end in the center of Tegucigalpa, about .8 of a mile from where we were to start. Thankfully, we were number five this year, unlike the year before. Last year Escuela Yeshua was the last school to march! As it was, we started around 8 a.m. and finished around 11:30. We walked slowly, trying to keep our distance between those in front of us and those behind us. As the morning got slowly warmer, I was glad whenever we marched in the shade of a building. Partway through, we stopped for 15-20 minutes and everyone had a drink or sat down.

I as in back of the cadets for most of the parade.
I was in back of the cadets for most of the parade. 

I was assigned to walk at the very rear of our group, right behind the cadetes. These were little boys dressed in soldiers uniforms. Their “leader”, the oldest of them (in 4th. grade), would periodically call out commands and they would respond as if they were listening to their drill sergeant. My job was to make sure that no one fell too far behind the others. Due to the heat and the fact that these were little guys, this was definitely a possibility. In fact, one of the boys left during our break. I don’t recall him coming back. Thankfully, I had the help of other parents in keeping the little soldiers moving.

When things were all over and done with, I was glad to get back to the house. For myself, I was just glad that all the preparations and planning was over for the year. However, I did enjoy the actual parade. I enjoyed getting to see all the different schools and what they were doing for the parade, whether it was a float, a marching routine, or even what songs their band played. I’m now looking forward to the parade NEXT year!

You get a point if you spot the Gringo in this picture.
You get a point if you spot the Gringo in this picture.

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