Saturday, October 13, 2012

I love my job, especially when I am Queen

One of my favorite (sometimes not so favorite when I am feeling particularly Type A) things about being a Peace Corps Volunteer is that my job description changes daily or sometimes hourly. There are days when I am "teacher." There are days when I am "coach." There are days when I am a facilitator of a group or activity. And there are days where I sit in someone's hammock watching telenovelas talking about the rain. I try to explain exactly what I do to Salvadorans and Americans and I don’t think I ever do it justice or define it adequately. No one really understands how all of the above translates into a job, especially the latter part of sitting in someone's hammock. To be quite frank, most of my job boils down to doing things that most people would not really see as “work,” but in the Peace Corps world we call it building confianza (trust) with our community members. Like today for example, my job title: Queen. And not to brag or anything, but today I did my job pretty well. I think I was made to be Queen. Well, maybe just this kind of Queen. 

So we all know that Mr. Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas on October 12, 1492 and here in El Salvador we celebrate it as Dia de la Hispanidad or formerly “Dia de la Raza.” The festival is supposed to honor the discovery of this region of the world and commemorate the mixing of Europeans and Native peoples, which forms today’s culture of diversity in both humans and things. You know the Europeans brought their race of people, cows, and smallpox to mix with the indigenous population who  could share the glories of chocolate, syphilis, and the turkey. 

Enough with the (short) history lesson and back to me being Queen. I was asked over a month ago to run for Queen of this ceremony as a funny (what is more funny than making the gringa run for Queen with a bunch of 9 year olds?) way of collaborating in this festival and to help them raise some funds by paying to participate and donating my dress to the school in the end. Of course, I said “yes.” First, what “little” girl does not dream of being Queen for a day? Two, as I mentioned above, this is my job—to make an absolute fool out of myself in the name of building confianza.

So I started my campaign as Queen India Bonita. I tried to will myself to ask people to buy votes from me, but I failed miserably. I was VERY embarrassed to be asking people for money, but luckily most people were really into buying votes from me despite me NOT asking them (token white girl thing maybe), so I guess I can call my campaign a big success. You know you run a good campaign when you don't do anything and people vote for you. Maybe I should go into politics...(wooops way off topic)Anyways...

The program started around 10 a.m. and included a small history lesson, a few artistic points by various students, and the reading of the rules of the contest of crowning the queen of the “Indias Bonitas.” Of course, I won (not to sound cocky). I had to since everyone wanted to buy votes from me. Plus, I am the Gringa therefore I must win out of pure default or I might cry or something. I felt kind of bad beating out the 3 younger girls and stealing the saber and the kingdom from them, but I knew they have rigged it no matter what I did, so I just had to go with it. Plus, all of us got crowns and ribbons, so I guess that is all that matters in the end, right?  And I was just doing my job as a PCV—doing what my community asks me to do no matter how much it embarrasses me. ;)

 For your viewing pleasure here are pictures of my day as Queen:

Yeah so my duties were pretty limited to taking photos, giving out hugs, and marching in the parade waving at everyone. I did my duties well (say the peeps) so until next time kids, the Queen is out. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from El Salvador? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in El Salvador in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez