Lights out!

Alcides, Aby, Noemi at Aby’s quinceañera

A quinceañera can be a major production. This year it was Aby’s turn, the daughter of Noemi and Alcides. We had swept and mopped, and later set up the tables and chairs.

Then came my favorite part of any special event: forcing my kids to shower and wear dress clothes.

I ran the gauntlet of kid showers, and talked everyone into getting dressed. But there was a problem. When we were packing before the trip, Yoli had asked the girls which dress each would like to bring. Jadzia declined to provide one at the time. But now that we were getting dressed, I think it hit home to her that she might stick out in a T-shirt. She obviously wanted to wear a dress now, but she didn’t have one. We proposed various solutions, all of which were shot down, until later I suggested that she wear one of Yoli’s. Thankfully she agreed to try, and in fact she looked wonderful. She seemed much happier. Crisis averted.

As we were getting dressed, Alcides arrived to help set up. Eventually we went down to help. As we were arranging things, all the lights in Jericho suddenly went out.

Everyone got out cell phones and started hunting for circuit breakers. Flipping switches made no difference, so I went to get some extension cords and lamps. We connected the cords at El Jordan and ran them over to Jericho. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.

After the power went out in Jericho, we ran extension cords from El Jordán to light two lamps. Photo by Jadzia

Josh poses with a lamp. Photo by Jadzia

And then, just as we got the lamps set up, all the lights came back on. Something had apparently tripped on the power line; other houses down the street had been out, and now everything was reset. Whew.

This quinceañera was very late. The invitations said 7 p.m. … To Bolivians, that means that it might start at 8, and they will likely arrive closer to 9. As it turns out we didn’t eat until 10.

There were friends and family from all over. Aby had a nice dress, and still sported bright red dye in her hair (she had been inspired from afar by Jadzia’s green hair last year).

Josie and Aby. Photo by Jadzia

Yessy and Jadzia at Aby’s quinceañera

Yoli’s friend Aldruin gave a blessing and a Bible reading. Eliza played violin.

The food was fantastic. Lucy made her special chicken recipe with leg quarters.

The cake was also wonderful, made by someone from their church. Bolivian cakes are much tastier in general than American special occasion cakes, I think.

Cake at Aby’s quinceañera

Group photo of everyone in our family who was both awake and present at the end of Aby’s quinceañera

Eventually people filtered out and it was time to put away tables and chairs, time for kids to get slap happy, time for little Benjamin to pop balloons over and over.

We all got to bed very late. What a wonderfully full day.

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