We had a phenominal Friday a couple of weekends ago! For those of you who are from Manitoba or know the history of the Mennonite colonies in Mexico you will be able to understand my excitment. To preface this story, I will briefly note how we had the chance to visit the Mennonite colonies in Chihuahua when we first got to Mexico and how fascinating it was to see these places that I had heard so much about during my childhood and to be where some of my good friends growing up had been born. While we visited the colonies we stayed at a Mennonite Bible school and learnt much about the different kinds of Mennonitism in the colonies (Old Colony, Klinagaminde, etc.). During our stay it became apparent that there isn't very much interaction between the Mennonites in Chihuahua and the native Mexican people. While many of the Mennonites we met impressively spoke three languages -- Spanish, Low German and English -- it seemed that the Mennonites pretty much kept within their own communities. So when a group of young men from the Bible school came to do a service project here in Guerrero (building water cisterns) and live with a Mexican family for a week, it was quite an exciting leap for the colonies in Chihuahua.
On their last night here we had the privelage of having the group over for a meal and Bruce had arranged for a basketball game against the guys in Zacango. A number of things happened that made this evening quite an event. First of all, the guys in Zacango couldn't stop talking about the game in the days leading up as I think they were a bit nervous about it. They practiced and talked about saving their energy for the big game. As it turns out, the guys from the colony had never played basketball (they were all volleyballers) but agreed to play anyway. It turned out to be a Harlem Glob Trotters style game full of crazy passes and plays and the whole community was out to watch. The Mennonite guys were such great sports and agreed to keep playing despite only scoring one or two baskets. It was just so great to see everyone laughing and having so much fun! Below is a picture of Bruce and Martin are trying to give the guys some quick and basic advice.
The second really exciting thing that made this evening such an event was that our English/Computer students surprised Bruce and I with a meal that they brought to our house. It was "Teacher's Day" in Mexico, and as we are quickly finding out, days of celebrating people for various reasons (e.g. Day of the Child, Mother's Day, Saint Days or any holiday etc.) are not taken lightly. What might be just a day written on a calender in Canada or the U.S. is a HUGE celebration here. So when one of my student's came to the door on Friday morning with a flower banner to hang over my door, a gift, and a sprinkling of confetti I wasn't sure what was going on. She told me it was "Teacher's Day." So the meal that we MCCers had planned for the Chihuahua guys conincided with the Teacher's Day meal our students brought and we just had one big meal together! The best part was that after the meal the group from Chihuahua brought out their guitars and we all sang together in Spanish, English, and German!!! The girls from our classes oggled the guys from Chihuahua and loved the singing! I got all nostalgic hearing Low German and singing in a big group. All the while, I couldn't stop thinking of the beauty of this coming together of two very different cultures. What an amazing evening! I will try and post a video sometime.