more pictures: http://flickr.com/photos/fultzie
We had Thursday afternoon off from classes (the entire school) so that primer, segundo, and tercero básico could play in an invitational basketball tournament.
By “invitational basketball tournament,” I mean an invitation from the one other school in town. The ones that wear red uniforms (“red for the devil” we say… they’re an Evangelical school, so there’s an added irony). We received a very official letter from them a few days ago, and decided at our Wednesday teacher-lunch-meeting that we would cancel classes in honor of the occasion.
Somehow (and I didn’t see the letter, so I don’t know if it was in fact the cause) we thought that we needed to be at the cancha at 1:30.
When we got there, the other school’s students were playing basketball during their lunch hour. And then they left.
Our kids played basketball until 4 pm, when the other school showed up with (our, borrowed) sound equipment and uniforms.
It was somewhat surreal, playing basketball by the church (and yes, I played).
There is a photo in the October 1989 National Geographic, part of the article that inspired my project, of kids playing basketball by a church on Palm Sunday:
This is that church:
Every time I look at the photos I’ve taken, I’m completely taken aback by that church!
Looking back at the National Geographic photo, I’m struck by how I read it now that I’ve learned more about this place.
In the photo, there is a woman sitting on the edge of the court, exactly where I stood on Thursday to take a picture of one of my students passing the basketball.
On my first “reading” of the photo, I had no idea that the colorful poncho she wore was in fact a huipile embroidered in the identifying design of San Mateo.
Nor did I know that the boy who had just shot the basketball in the photo was wearing San Mateo’s traditional capichai. The younger boys rarely wear capichai now (some of the men do occasionally, including Julio) except for on special occasions.
The caption of the photo reads: “The soul of the Maya finds expression in all they touch, even things borrowed from other cultures. In San Mateo Ixtatán, a basketball backboard and Catholic icons are colored by a distinctively Maya hand. By promoting limited cultural interaction, La Ruta Maya [the tourist route proposed by National Geographic] aims to ease the burdens of poverty and isolation while keeping the true Maya colors from fading away.”
Interestingly enough, the church as since been painted. White. With some pink highlights.
Have the “true Maya colors” already “faded away”?
What the heck do we mean by “true Maya colors” anyway??
According to Henry, the church is painted every year in September, for the feria. It’s always a shade of yellow… this year it’s “cream.” Interesting.