Another blog-worthy night in Pinalejo

Wes and I were asked to be “padrinos” for Alex in his 6th grade graduation.  Now, in some ways that’s like my 8th grade graduation – honestly, I don’t know what is done these days!  But in other ways, it’s more like a high school graduation because MANY kids stop their schooling at 6th grade.  In our town, there are plenty who don’t even make it that far!

It’s a big deal that Alex and 2 cousins all graduated tonight from the same school.  As far as I know only one parent of the 3 kids finished 6th grade!  And in this little school, there were 7 graduates – 3 from “our” family!  We had asked ahead what it meant to be padrinos, and they said, “No, you just walk the student down the aisle.”  Answers here generally start with no.  I was wary, figuring there had to be something they weren’t telling me!

We arrived and lined up in the school yard with Alex.  Immediately someone came up to Wes and said, “You’ll be doing the opening prayer,” and walked away.  He went out to make sure he knew the name of the school, confirmed how to say the word “graduate” in Spanish, and stuff like that.  One set of padrinos hadn’t come at 6:30 (an hour late); so they put that student at the back of the line and started announcing us.  Thankfully, we were 4th in line and could watch what we were supposed to do.  No one had told us anything.  We saw that the woman took the hand of the student to walk him/her in.  I wasn’t sure Alex would want me to do that, but when our turn came, he grabbed my hand, and in we went!  Of course, they announced his name and his padrinos, “Wesssst y Cindy Wiwiiillian.  Som,” with a giggle.  Each student’s guests sat at a designated table, so we were there with his family.  (He’s Leonel’s son – Joel’s best friend.)  There were 11 of us around a table meant for 5.  No problem.

The program was nice.  After opening prayer, we sang several verses (there are 6!) of the Honduran National Anthem to a recording of the music.  Alex was the valedictorian, with a GPA of over 98%!  Four students graduated with honors.  Three of them were the cousins!  As each student was called to receive a diploma, their parents joined them up front.  It was really a family affair.  Leonel has often been the only father at school events, but it appeared that every student at least had a father figure in attendance.  Isn’t it interesting that those who made it to graduation had a father figure in their lives?  I wonder how many of those who didn’t, don’t.  A woman who spent 25 years in the US and is teaching English at the school made them mortar boards, and she had prepped them to toss them on the count of 3.  She put on “We are the Champions” by Queen and when the chorus began she counted to 3, and they TOSSED!!  We were trying to control our giggles as we sang along.  They must have played it through nearly 10 times!

To begin the reception, which took place in the same seats, the graduates were called up front and the padrinas of the boys and the padrinos of the girls were called to join them.  I looked at Leonel and said, “You didn’t tell me about this!”  We had to dance while everyone else sat watching us!  So here we are, 6th grade boys with a woman and 6th grade girls with a man, and we had to dance for one very long song!  Those poor boys!  Alex told me he’d have told me about it, but they hadn’t told him either!  His mom was sitting in the corner laughing … until they yelled, “change!” and the MOMs had to dance with their sons!  It was really cute.

After the dance they brought punch out to the adults and asked us to wait till everyone was served so we could do a toast.  I forgot and took a sip.  Oooops!  But I was SO thirsty!  And we waited SO long!  There were about 30 adults there, and it took half an hour to serve us punch!  Finally we all rose and the teacher said some words and then said, “So now what?  Do we lift our glasses?  Or do we just drink?” She was trying to make it really special but wasn’t at all sure what to do!  Cute is the only word I can think of for her, but I mean that in an honoring way, not at all  demeaning.  She’s just an adorable and vibrant teacher.

After our cake, people began thinking of going home.  Thinking, but not going.  It was POURING!  We became one of two taxis, taking everyone home.  Picture ladies running, all decked out, to the car with napkins on their heads to ward off the torrential downpour.  Not too effective!  Wes must have taken nearly 30 people home before he came back for us!  Then the 11 of us who live on camp piled into our SUV and we slipped and slid up the mountain to camp!

It was a wonderful cultural experience!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Bill Neef on July 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Your graduation blog was terrific. Enjoy this website and praying for you and the AUC team. First time using a social website.

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