Tonight was an important night at Casa Shalom! We had three celebrations - the first was the quincienera celebration for Florentina and Enma. A quincienera is a 15th-birthday celebration and is similar to a sweet-sixteen party, but a much more important custom in Latin America. The party signifies a girl's transition from childhood into womanhood. Flora and Enma both turned 15 during this past year but were never given parties by the previous director - Director Jorge Mario wanted to make this up to them and in photo 1, he plays the traditional role of the father escorting his daughter to her party.
Our second celebration was a Christmas party. We had a traditional dinner of tamales, and lit Christmas lights on the "tree house tree" on Shalom's property. Photo 2 shows the lights and in photo 3, Vinicio and Alejandro pose in front of the tree, all dressed up for the big occasion. Part of the Christmas celebration was a fireworks show! Many of the kids had never seen fireworks and were in awe of the show, which was donated by a local man who owns a fireworks company. In photos 4 and 5, Jose Ramiro and Ana and Jose Marcelino and Antonio watch the fireworks! The last portion of the celebration was a talent show - both kids and staff participated in everything from instrumental performances to singing to dramas to poetry recitations. In video 1, house dad Josue shows off his great guitar skills. In video 2, Edwin and Cesar show off their soccer tricks. Video 3 shows part of the fireworks show and video 4 is of Enma and Florentina during their special ceremony.