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Fiesta en La Maria

Report by Thalassa Kawachi, 6/2/07
Thalassa, with help from other volunteers, organized a party in La Maria.

For 3 months I have been working with various foundations in Cartagena through Cartagenitos. One of them put me in contact with a project being conducted by Armando (Fundacion Bolivariana Martiana) and Harald. Their project included finding funding to buy and distribute clothes, food, mattress and provide health services. My position has been to help distribute items, participating in health campaigns and document events through photos during the visits made to this neighborhood. While taking photos and witnessing the excitement of the kids when I showed the photos to them on my little camera screen, the idea was planted in my head to organize some kind of group viewing of photos.

We invited 50 adults and 50 kids from two 'barrios' in La Maria, an area of Cartagena, to the community church. We started the event with a slide show of all the photos I had taken during our visits, some of which i manipulated in photoshop, exaggerating and distorting faces which the kids loved and got an extra giggle out of.

Healthy food was another focus of the fiesta, so while we had a captive audience we introduced the idea of healthy eating and making simple choices that are healthier, of course keeping in mind the economic situation of the people . For example choosing integral/wholemeal over white bread, eating raw vegetables and fruit, and not frying everything. I knew that the food couldn't be radically different, so I met in the middle with fresh salsas and veggies served on integral pita breads, seasonal fruit (so therefore the most economical) presented on colorful kebabs with a few sweet sprinkles to make fun and appealing to kids.

Then afterwards we had a dance off where everyone, kids and adults, fought for space on the dance floor to strut their stuff. It was very successful and everyone enjoyed themselves, so I am now organizing similar events in other neighborhoods which I have been working with.