September 15th is Guatemala's Independence Day. This year it happened to land on a Saturday, which conflicted with the majority of the church schedules in Salacuim. It also would be an incredible mistake to celebrate independence day and have parades and activities on a weekend. It's not a traditional Guatemalan event unless the kids get out of school for at least a week.
This year, Salacuim decided to do something different. They decided to have a fair. Most towns in Guatemala have their yearly fair dates set and it's a big deal. Salacuim has never been a fair town. We are the town that longs to have a fair, but have never been fortunate enough to have one. This year we were inundated with people from all around the region, just waiting to see what kind of activity we could put on.
Monday started out with a huge parade down the main street of Salacuim. The entire town came out to watch. All the schools participated and it actually turned into something much bigger than I expected. In the afternoon, there was a mass exodus to a nearby field where the first ever Salacuim rodeo was held. Everyone gathered around to see the best bull riders in the area take their turn. The energy in the town was amazing.
On Tuesday we celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a horse race in our front yard. The street that runs in front of our house was converted into a racing strip for horses. A rope was hung across the street between two poles. On the rope were little rings with ribbons. The object of the game was to run your horse full speed, as the rider tries to put a pencil through the ring. The event started to get a little unusual for us when they hung a live duck upside down by its feet and it soon became part of the competition. Corby did a nice job illustrating the event in his blog below.
As nightfall came, the park in front of our house was transformed into a midway. Complete with carnival games, a makeshift movie theater and dancing. That night, it was apparent to me that our little town is changing and will continue to evolve no matter how slowly the movement seems to be at times. Whether the changes are good or bad, I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride to live where we live over the last couple days and to be part of the events that brought the town together.