Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cam Corder Frustration

We've just been through Holy Week, and of course, with the best of intentions, Mary and I did not attend a single service--this in a country where Holy Week is A Really Big Deal. I was going to haul along the camcorder and take videos. Yes, well, first you have to get there.

But today being Easter, we set out for Mass. Our parish is Dolega; we have a church in Potrerillos Arriba which is a congregation but not a parish per se. There are others like that in the area--I don't know, maybe a half dozen or so. And there are exactly 2 priests in the parish, Franciscans. So, they do a circuit on Saturday and Sunday, celebrating Mass in Dolega on Saturday afternoon then celebrating at the other churches and chapels that day and Sunday morning. our Mass is usually at 11 am on Sundays, a time I truly hate since it splits up the day and ruins my nap schedule.

There was just one Mass today in the parish outside of Dolega, in the chapel at Rovira--exactly where that was, we weren't sure except that it was near Cítricos (the big citrus and other fruit growing company) near Potrerillos Abajo. Let's say that covers a lot of area. But thanks to asking questions of bicyclists and others, we finally made it to the chapel.

One of the many things I love about Brasil is the sense of joy in the church services. People wave their hands as they sing, move their bodies, and generally display more emotion in one service than I've seen in the US church I attended for 10 years or so in that entire time. We hadn't seen much of it here, and I was wondering if we ever would.

Well, the priest was late (this is Latin America), and to keep up the good humor, we were singing hymns. Then suddenly the leader launched into a lively, joyful hymn of praise--and people were waving their hands, dancing in place, clapping, pantomiming the words. Great!! One of the things I moved to Latin America for was finally taking place!

I took out the cam corder, turned it on--and discovered to my horror and a chagrin beyond imagination that, although I had made sure I had a fully charged battery--I HAD FORGOTTEN TO LOAD A TAPE!

I am afraid that I said some words that, since they were in English thankfully, were probably not really understood by the people around us. Mary was suitably horrified. I was pissed off beyond belief.

I put the worthless piece of machinery away in the pouch I had bought specifically in which to carry it around. I tried deep breathing and affirmations about how this was yet another Life Test to calm myself down--useless as always. I tried not to scandalize Mary any more. And then the priest arrived--my favorite who is from either Guatamala or El Salvador, and that restored my good mood.

The chapel is not all that large, the air conditioning is whatever comes straight through the open windows and doors, and we're in the hottest part of the year because there is little wind. But nothing really dampened the enthusiasm of the congregation. I listened to the priest during his homily and even understood about half of what he was saying--he's a good man and focuses on real problems of the people here, not ones manufactured by the Vatican.

After we all recited the Padre Nuestro (which Mary and I now know in Spanish), we all moved around to give each other the handshake of La Paz. Our friends the Espinosa family were there, as well as others from our congregation in Potrerillos, and as always, Mary and I felt closer, more integrated into the community. These are extremely nice people. As the only Americans there--or any foreigner for that matter--we were a novelty to those from other congregations, but it was gratifying to have so many people from Potrerillos wave or come over to shake our hands.

So, no, I don't have any videos from an Easter Mass as a record of our experience. But we came home feeling even more than usual that we belong here.

Oh, yes--just to make things clear--the woman in the photo is Mary, not me! She really hates this photo but I rather like it, and it's my blog, so.....

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