Sunday, September 20, 2015

Las fiestas patrias

            Last week was September 18 or the day of Independence for Chile.  They refer to it as dieciocho (18) or las fiestas patras.  I’d like to describe our experience and hopefully you can picture your missionary taking part in a similar celebration.
            This was our third and last time to be here on independence day so we had a hard time deciding where to go since nearly every ward or branch has an activity.  A sister we had seen the week before invited to the Peralillo branch activity so we went there.
            It is a small village surrounded by vineyards, with one of the most attractive plazas we have seen in Chile.  We arrived at 2:30 p.m. because we began the day with a trip to Santiago for a hospital visit—a young boy we know, not a missionary.  The members had already been there for awhile starting the fire, etc.  We visited until the meal was ready.  It is called parillada or grill and we ate steak, pork, and chicken with various salads and pebre (pebrā) which is just like fresh salsa without chiles.
          After the lunch we visited more, several danced the cueca (kwākâ), the national dance of Chile.  After a couple of hours all the sisters disappeared back into the church to start preparing the next meal!  At six we ate fresh empanadas—they made sure that President ate the one I made.  Let’s just say I need more practice at that plus various breads, a fresh cheese, sopaipillas, and a cheesecake.  To say we were full is a definite understatement.
        We only have one set of elders in Peralillo but they were great to participate and even brought in a few investigators.  About 35 people were there at various times, and it was definitely an all day affair.  We left at 7:15 and everyone else was still going strong.  It was a real honor for us to be there and they were so gracious to include us in everything, as you’ll be able to see from the pictures;).
        It was a great day and we hope all the missionaries had an equally pleasant time.  It’s a great chance for them to interact with members and investigators in a more casual yet still productive way. 

egg race--good thing they were hard-boiled
the second meal

making empanadas

four missionaries and the branch president

mother and son dancing the cueca

the traditional cueca dress and the wonderful
sisters of the Peralillo branch

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