Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas in the barrio.

we used to live across the city in an apartment complex really close to a pretty upper-class neighborhood. it was one of those places where people didn't talk to each other and although we knew the people in our building, i only knew two or three people who lived in the others.

so, when we moved i was excited to live in a place where people actually know each other and talk to each other. my kids have been invited to tons of birthday parties of kids we only see in passing because that's the kind of place it is - invite the neighborhood over for cake.

when christmas rolled around last year, i was surprised that, when walking in from work, there was a group of kids building something in the street. they wanted a donation. i kept walking. i had no idea what they were doing. day after day, this thing started to take shape. it was a christmas tree. a recycled-repurposed tree in the middle of the road. i mentioned it to amalio and he says, "well yeah that's how they do. get some donations and every day add a little til they've got a tree. there's tons all over the city."


since then i've seen tons of trees. amazing things made from old plastic cups, plates, 20 oz soda bottles, plastic bags, anything and everything. it wasn't until this year, though, that i saw some of the prize winners. because, wait for it, there's a competition! neighborhoods can compete with their christmas scenes to win money for their communities. amazing.

a christmas tradition in the country is to roast a pig on christmas eve, la noche buena, to share with friends and families. i think the roasting of the pig is more than half of the fun, as it's often done over night and someone has to make sure it doesn't burn. gather up some friends and spend the night with the pig? who doesn't love an all-night that doesn't include studying?

this scene won first place this year and it's representative of the lechon or roast pig shared on christmas.
the beginning of the barrio
 christmas tree
this one is my favorite just because the trees are recycled plastic plates painted and lighted from inside. there are a ton of re-purposed things in this scene.  i love that these arbolitos are so pretty, and so cheap.

made from small plastic bags, wire and
"twinkle lights."

our neighborhood doesn't compete, so our trees are humble and small - but most nights during the season there are groups of people out helping to put them up, and taking donations for ginger tea to share with everyone who stops by.

No comments: