'This Port Exists" read the banner we carried at the head of our parade. It quotes from a poem written by Blanca Varela as a response from a friend who had never heard of Puerto Supe before. Our parade was the first of a series of events within our cultural festival. The festival was planned and executed by Los Amigos de Supe Puerto to encourage children in our town to take ownership of their identity as Porteños, and to reclaim the days after the festival of San Pedro for the betterment of Puerto.
After the parade we started the day of poetry recitation, songs, and drawing. Children between ages three and twelve participated from nearly a dozen institutions.
Not to leave out the adults, we invited a contingency of artisans to come sell their goods.
At the end of the event we were able to give prizes to every child who participated, thanks to donations from various organizations and individuals private and public.
The second day of our festival hosted an abundance of dances from children aged three to five: indescribably adorable if not entirely skillful.
Almost everyone was happy. . .
In addition to dance we invited some groups to participate in theater and had a number of budding painters. Nearly all of the participants this second day were preschoolers.
Again, we were able to give each child who participated a prize thanks to generosity of local donors.
It was precious to see the excitement of parents, teachers, and classmates as each child participated. The most well represented school was a extremely low-income preschool from across town. Though they have plywood classrooms and a dirt play yard, their staff of teachers were united and excited, proud to show off the talents of their hard-working kids. We are hoping to work more with them in the future to benefit their school and reach out to their kids, some of whom have the blonde highlights of malnutrition and disintegrating clothes of poverty.
This port exists. This culture exists. Sometimes it just gets forgotten in the daily dramas and needs to be pulled out, dusted off, and celebrated.