August 10th was a big day for Upire. It was the one year anniversary celebration of opening our community farmers market. For one full year now my community has been coming together every Saturday from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. to buy, sell, and hang out together. Over the course of this past year the market has evolved. In the beginning it was a weekly (surprise?) event that everyone assumed would just end at one point. However, today it stands as a permanent community establishment that everyone looks forward to attending all week long. Saturday is now the day to go shopping, hang out in the community center, and enjoy Comercio with its frequent games, competitions, activities, and much more. On top of celebrating one year of comercio August 10th also become my "going away party" with my impending departure from Upire being the 13th of August. I think the best way to describe this incredible day is through photographs. Hopefully with the pictures you will feel like you were there.
|Parade of our Queen, horses, motorcycles, people, clown, etc.|
|Queen of Comercio|
|My Community decided a Jamie shrine would be appropriate|
|Town band performance|
|Crazy clown performing|
|Yours truly giving her speech to the community|
|Raffle of apple pie provided by my Peace Corps bosses that came!|
|Horses relaxing before the belt race!|
|Mayor giving diplomas to superstar vendors!|
As much as it was fun, entertaining, and packed with my closest friends, family, and neighbors it was also a sad, overwhelming day. This large community celebration/party so to speak also served as my goodbye party, which meant speeches made in my honor, this large banner (pictured above) served as the center of the event, and everyone came up to me with hugs, kisses, well wishes, gifts, and much more. I was also asked to make my final speech to the entire community which ended with me crying (not going to lie...couldn't really finish the speech)/ Afterwards, I began the long process of saying goodbye to the many members of Upire that have made the past two years some of the best and formative of my life.
Dia de Comercio has probably been the highlight and the best part of my service both personally and professionally. It has been a way for me to meet more members of the community, hang out every Saturday with everyone, develop an important relationship with the youth population, and hopefully leave a successful and sustainable project that helps Upire grow and develop. I feel so thankful that I was able to see it reach its one year anniversary and be a part of this pivotal year in the history of Upire. I hope when I return over the years to come that I still find them celebrating this special date.