The Patron Saint of El Hato is the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Each year there’s a Saint’s Day celebration in the village. This past Sunday around 3am the villagers began lining the main road of the town with Guatemala’s famous alfombras. A procession moves slowly through the village visiting shrines set up along the way. The procession is followed by a fair which consists of two now manual carnival rides, churros and other fried treats, and a dance act with the performers dressed in seemingly random animal and baby costumes. In the midst of a very rainy wet season, El Hato was given a picture perfect beautiful day for the event.
The fair arrived to the town square over a month ago. Just the presence of the carnival rides creates a stir of excitement among our students even though the actual fair is one day only. After school the kids gather around the rides and push each other in circles. As far as the fair family, if you’ve seen the documentary Circo about the Mexican circus family, you have a general idea of how life is for them. This family has been camping out next to the school for over a month because they don’t have anywhere else to go. The community doesn’t seem to mind the family’s shack occupying the bus turn around and the El Hato kids seem to have accepted the new boys as after school playmates.
The three fair brothers spend their days washing themselves in the community pila and watching the El Hato kids playing in the school yard. Two of the boys have asked if they could come in and watch the classes since attending school is not really possible for them. Now that the fair is over I imagine they’ll be leaving soon. I hope they are accepted as warmly in their next temporary home as they are in El Hato.