when we met our little students last week, the first thing they requested we play was "carnival! carnival!", and we had no idea what that meant.
this quickly changed, as we walked home from the bus with sandro, our host father, later that day, and two men in the back of a work truck drenched us with a massive bottle of water.
carnival is a huge cultural event, occurring all throughout south america the weeks leading up to lent.
and cajamarca just happens to be the capital of carnival in peru, go figure.
so we've already had a few too many run ins with all of this carnival business; although it's still only january, the madness has begun.
children are running around the city with water guns (pistolas), water balloons (globos), and buckets of water, and there is talk of carnival everywhere.
naturally, being the only two white girls in the city, we are an easy target.
we've dodged buckets of water being dumped from balconies and rogue pistolas shooting at us as we pass; we even sprinted off a public bus (to the laughter of everyone on said bus) after spotting a mischievous-looking girl sitting at the front. and we looked back at the bus to see a very angry girl with her bucket full of water hanging outside her window.
today, we narrowly avoided two giant waterballoons launched off of a neighboring roof on the way to the market.
and the good news? it's only going to get worse from here!
anyway, we've been teaching hand washing at el bichito all week, so we decided to take avantage of all of this carnival craziness.
we posted that we were going to play games of carnival, to try and get more kids to attend the following day. and it worked!
we had about forty kids come for lunch, and then we taught a short lesson on the importance of handwashing.
afterwards, we played a game involving two buckets full of water balloons-- "globos full of bacteria," and in order to get new balloons, the kids had to wash their hands.
well, this concept worked for a solid 45 seconds. and after that, it was all out war.
once it had escalated, anna and i ran out into the battle with a few kids' pistolas that we had previously confiscated, yelling, "INFLUENZA!! INFLUENZA!!" and drenching all the kids.
yeah, after that, we were done for.
the kids launched a full-on attack, involving every bucket, plastic container, and pitcher of water they could find.
before we knew it, they had stolen back their water guns and had opened the local tap to have endless access to water.
the men doing construction on the roof of el bichito even got involved and started dumping buckets down on everyone! i'm tellin ya, carnival is such a big deal here.
by the end of it all, we were drenched through and through.
but do you know what's awesome?
every one of those kids washed their hands before lunch the next day (and many of them without us even asking... huge improvements here, people!)
also, it was really, really fun.
and we won a lot of cool points from our kiddos.
that being said, until ash wednesday...
pray for me.
pray for me.