This specific holiday, held on July 28, is the Day of Independence for Peru. To begin the celebrations, the country’s flag and the town’s flag are walked to the town plaza by the community’s authorities, and are hoisted up the flagpoles. The country and town anthem are sung, and then begins a formal procession of educational intuitions, followed by a visiting military unit, marching in military style. It is all very impressive, and I was happy to have been invited to participate and sit with the community’s authorities for the parade.
Cruz de Motupe:
My host family is a devout catholic family, and once a year, they make a religious trek to the Cruz de Motupe, an ornate wooden cross placed on the mountainside outside the town of Motupe, Lambayeque. Like all holy relics, it is believed to possess significant spiritual power and is famous for bestowing miracles. Prayers have been answered by the Cruz de Motupe.
They invited me along this year and we left promptly at 3:30am, to arrive at the site of the cross by 7:00am, before the crowds. We still were not able to avoid a line before we made it to the cross. It was incredible how busy it was and how much busier it continued to get there. It reminded me of the lines I have found myself in while waiting for rides at Disneyland, but in this exact case, there was no ride. Once we got to the platform of the cross, I had the opportunity to touch it, light a candle for a prayer, and, with my host family, I was blessed with a sprinkle of holy water by the priest attending.
I felt honored to have been invited by my family to go with them to the Cruz de Motupe. It was thoughtful of them to share with me an intimate family experience.
I was invited to travel with one of my groups of artisan women to an artisan crafts exhibition in Chocope, La Libertad. It was the first exhibition that the municipality of Chocope had hosted and I hope it was the first of many more to come in the future. I believe there was a total of 11 groups of artisans represented at this fair. Small, but I feel it made it more personal. There was entertainment as well, with a live band, professional dancing, and horse dancing. During the horse dancing, I was discovered by two other Peace Corps Volunteers who are serving in Chocope and had come to check out the exhibition. I guess I never will know when and where I will run into a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer.