September 27, 2018
I haven’t written a blog for a while and that’s because it’s been a pretty busy few weeks. Most importantly, though, this week was the celebration of Primavera, one of five “holidays” for the community of Sucusari, where they throw a party! This particular party was marked by the hosting of a huge soccer tournament, then an actual party with dancing.
The Sucusari soccer team (which I play on) has been practicing every day leading up to the tournament. In the off times, the field was cut, lines were cut into the dirt, and the goals fixed. When the day arrived, we hung decorations until noon and then people from other communities started to come. First to arrive were vendors selling everything from beer to soda to popsicles to food. They came from over ten communities. An hour later, the other soccer teams started rolling in, also from ten communities. They played as they came, so we played the first team to arrive. They were good. We were better. After a nice goal assisted by yours truly, the other team rallied with a penalty kick and we ended in a tie. Then we went to penalties to decide a winner, where our goalkeeper made a great save and sent us through.
Time between games was beer and masato time.
Second game we didn’t do so well. We ended up losing 2-1 after good goals by both teams, but then at least I had some time to walk around and relax – and jump in the river to get rid of all the sweat. The team from the lodge was hanging out having a beer so I grabbed one and joined them for a while. At dinner time some people started trickling out and I took the opportunity to make my fried fish and salad for dinner. At 8pm the party really started, although it seemed to be stymied by a lot of people talking on a microphone. I walked over to see what was going on, and a bunch of old men were up front with the mic. They were members of different political parties who had come to the community (with free liquor) to advocate for their respective politicians in the upcoming election. There were party flags everywhere and everyone was chanting different political slogans. All very different to watch, especially considering there were eight candidates running.
The politicians ended up talking about who knows what until 10pm. I was sitting with a beer trying to listen, but their voices were too slurred from the mic for me to understand; and possibly for everyone else to understand too. Anyway, then the real party started. I kept relaxing for a bit chatting to random people that came up to me, but eventually one of my neighbors Teodoro stumbled upon Ellie and I (almost literally). He insisted I come meet his friends and when I did they were doing a classic Peruvian drinking circle. They all pulled me to join in. In a drinking circle, there is one large bottle of alcohol and a small plastic cup. When it’s your turn, you hold the bottle for the person before you, then take the cup when they’re done, fill it, hand the bottle off, then drink the small cup. And it goes around and around and around while you chat. Not many rounds in Teodoro told me to go invite Ellie, then soon after we were both being asked if we wanted to dance (not in a creepy way, just by nice old people). You always have to oblige when it’s nice old people.
The locale was a huge dance floor packed with people and I panicked when I saw they were all doing the exact same dance. When I watched for a minute, though, it was pretty easy. All you had to do was bounce and wave your hands a bit at your hips and you were doing the dance. I was rocking it and everyone was giving Ellie and I compliments. I was waiting and dancing and waiting, but the song never changed and neither did the dance. I bounced until 2:30am. The community bounced until 6am, then rested til 8am, then started bouncing again.
The days following the celebration were marked by a class of university students visiting from the School for Field Studies. I taught a lesson on mineral licks, mammals, and hunting as I took the students to a mineral lick and changed some cameras, then did a practice interview with Victorino. I also helped translate and facilitate some of the other activities, like visiting Jairo’s chacra, since I do those things all the time. Now, I am in Iquitos. I have not returned to the city since July since I find that I really prefer the silent, easy life in the rainforest, but I need to do some shopping. Number one on my list today was a boat motor! Soon, I’ll be motoring around the Sucusari River wherever I want, finding cool animals, taking pictures, and setting my fishing nets. Tomorrow morning is back to Sucusari!