Garifuna Mass

Happy Sunday, everyone!

This morning, Jamie and I went to mass at St. Peter Claver together, and were both surprised to learn that we would be attending the Garifuna service, which is apparently held on the second Sunday of each month.  While the spoken responses were all the same, the Garifuna mass is characterized by some very unique music, all in the Garifuna language.  Although I didn’t understand the words of the songs, it was really cool to see the fusion of culture that exists among the Garifuna in the Catholic church.  They incorporate local drum rhythms into the music, as well as their traditional dress and language.  Probably the most intriguing part of the service for me was when four Garifuna women brought the offering from the center of the church up to the priest.  Instead of walking down the aisle like most people would, the four women effectively danced down the aisle!  I suppose that really it was sort of a combination walk/dance, but whatever it was, it was so cool to watch the women sway their hips as they processed down the aisle, and to even continue swaying as they returned to their seats.  So interesting.

After mass, we returned to the bunkhouse, where we met the new July participants, all of whom are awesome!  There’s Brittany, who’s from LA and is really passionate about environmental sustainability.  She’s here for two weeks working with an organization called Plenty.  Then there’s Swithin, who is pretty much the most intriguing person I’ve ever met.  He’s from Hong Kong, but went to high school in NYC and college in Colorado, and he had a brief stint as a marine scuba diver for the UN and has traveled to some really, really exotic places.  I’m super excited to learn more about him before I leave.  Also, and possibly most exciting: he used to have a British accent when he spoke English.  I am working on convincing him to return to his British roots whenever he speaks to me, but so far I’ve been denied.  Eric is from Connecticut, and goes to Bryant University in Rhode Island.  He’s an environmental guy with a business interest, and he and Swithin will both be working with SHI.  They’re a pretty neat pair, and they’ve become pretty fast friends thanks to the seven hour bus ride from Belize City.  Something about that experience seems to bring people together…  Finally, there’s Fatima, who goes by Fate.  She’s from Kuwait, but for the last two years or so she’s lived in Wisconsin and attended Marquette University.  She always seems to have an upbeat smile on her face, and she’ll be working with Jamie at the home of a traditional healing doctor.  I’m excited to have some new faces to enjoy, though sad to know that all of them will be here after I’ve left!  My departure is becoming imminent!

I just said goodbye to Nicole a couple of hours ago, and now she’s on her way back to Cayo.  As for me, I’m enjoying a restful Sunday of reading, hammocking, and catching up on my e-mail.  Can’t ask for a much more peaceful day.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone!


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