Saturday, September 20, 2008

you thought the ocelot was cute...

Four combis and six hours later, we are back in our home in San Cristóbal. All told, a great trip. I recorded a few good stories, discovered a Chol construction I have never seen or read about before, and photographed a number of baptisms, first communions, and confirmations. Here is what the new church looks like. It is now the tallest and fanciest building in Campanario by far, much to the dismay of the Pentacostals down the road.

As Jess wrote in the last post, Wednesday night was spent with the padre from Tila (the county seat) doing baptisms in the old church. Two cows were killed and lots of tortillas were made and we were served a beef stew that involved delicious potatoes and carrots flavored with some parts that we didn't eat that we think definitely included lungs.

Thursday morning the bishop arrived from San Cristóbal. This is a very big deal. It's a very long trip and no bishop has ever set
foot in Campanario before. A couple of hours before his arrival the Catholic icons (virgin Mary statues, crucifixes, etc.) were moved from the small old church in a procession involving incense and music and some singing. The procession waited at the road, the bishop arrived, and the new church was consecrated and the idols were put inside.

The consecration involved dipping flowers in holy water and sprinkling the water around the church and also–this is something I don't remember from my Catholic upbringing, though I only made it as far as first communion–burying meat and lighting a candle at each of the four corners of the church.
Then the mass began (half in Chol, half in Spanish), first communions and confirmations took place, and I was invited by the padre to give a Chol grammar lesson to a group of nuns in Tila.

After mass, we were invited to eat mole in a neighbor's home. This was an excellent surprise, as often the meal for the invitados is pollo en caldo, which basically means a whole chicken (head and feet included) cut into parts and boiled with some vegetables and seasoning thrown in. Eaten with tortillas. Everybody else seems to love it, but I haven't managed to develop a taste for it. Later in the afternoon many of the visitors started to leave and everything sort of calmed down after that.

But, let's get to the point: what could be cuter than the ocelot? Last night we went over to Don Jesus' for a visit and as we were sitting on the porch heard something like a whinny coming from inside the house. We peaked in, and there stood a baby cow. Its mother is sick and so it has been living around the house and drinking from a bottle. It was too dark to take a picture then (the electricity was out), but we went back this morning to bid farewell. It's not quite as cute tied up outside as it was standing alone in the living room, but here it is.

(Can we really check "no" on the customs form box that asks if we have been in close proximity with livestock?)


Omer said...

Your new friend looks like it will be delicious some day!

Jessica said...

Indeed! I hope to meet him again in a good taco someday. Cows don't live much happier lives than this one.

Laurel said...

i just want that guy's hat.

Mrs. Burgess said...

Ok, you KNEW the cute, SACRED BEING would elicit a comment from me...But, of course! Omer should be shot. Actually, only after slow torture. Jessica, what am I to think about tacos in the future? Have you ruined them for me?

Omer said...

Oh Mrs. Burgess, you're missing the point - unlike this SACRED BEING, I will probably not be delicious, even if shot ;-)