Friday, July 6, 2007

cascada post 19

Col. Ursulo Galvan
Niños y Niñas

Colonia Ursolo Galvan is the name of the small town where I live. It is a small place, maybe 1000 people, about a mile or so off the main road, roughly halfway between Coatepec and Xico, in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The 'Colonia' part of the name is because it is a 'Colonia' of Xico. This means that officially it is in the municipality of Xico, even though it is about three miles from the population edge of Xico. It is a peaceful, friendly, and generally nice place to live although is quite poor. Most people do not have cars, most cook on wood fires, and some have dirt floors. Still, there is community pride, and family pride, and pride in the state of Veracruz. There are lots of children here and they are, compared to many kids in the U.S., well behaved. They often play in the streets, and save for buses there is little traffic and it is safe. The picture (above left) shows about one third of the town.

When I first arrived here I was surprised to learn that this little town has four schools. One is a preschool which seems to have two or three levels, roughly like kindergarden and pre-kindergarden. There are two primary schools, and a secondary school called a 'Telebachillerato', roughly like a high school in the U.S. but much of the instruction is piped in via satellite TV. This seems to be fairly common in rural parts of Mexico.

Our friend Marie dropped by one day to invite us to attend Daniela's end of school celebration. Daniela (or Dani) is her preschool daughter, about four years old. At left is a picture of Dani, from about a year ago. That is a really serious pose. She is really a happy, smiley, busy little girl and a delight to be around.

So the time arrived and we went to Dani's school. Here are some pictures of her school.

The first is the sign on the front of the school. The second is the entrance to the school as decorated with balloons for the celebration.


Next the 'Bienvenidos' or welcome sign near the entrance and a portion of the playground.

After quite a wait during which the audience, proud parents, relatives and friends, was remarkably patient, the ceremony began. First some speeches, for which my Spanish was largely inadequate. Then came some sort pledge of allegiance and applause and finally each class of children (there seemed to be three) performed a dance or two. The sound system was terrible and the volume way too loud for it to handle, but it really didn't matter.

Here are some scenes of the children dancing, and the audience audience watching. All were dressed for the event. The first photo shows the little children waiting for their turn to dance. Next we see some of them dancing.

After the picture showing some of the audience [hopefully the next photo, this blogging software's preview never shows what the published post will look like] is a photo of Dani, kneeling as her part in the dance is about to begin. She is older and more mature than in the photo above taken about one year ago. Click on any photo to see it larger.

Soon came more dances of the other two class, each dressed in a different color.

The music was mostly Mexican, loud and crackly.

Then a real surprise for me. The oldest group came out to dance. I guess these were the graduating preschool children. An when the music came on it was the 1966 Percy Sledge favorite "When a man loves a woman".

What a strange feeling it was to see those little children, in this very foreign (for me) country dancing to that song to which I have my own set of memories.

And here they are at the very beginning of the dance:

I have to confess that I didn't stay till the very end of this event. Presumably the graduating preschoolers all got certificates and parents and children when home pleased and happy. In any case I was really glad I went and I came away proud of my little town, Col. Ursulo Galvan.