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A Basketball tournament in the steamy misty Chiapas jungle

Written on: Wednesday May 14th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

We received permission to attend the second basketball inauguration at the tiny remote community of Sa?Clum. Because the roads to get out to the community are rough, we decided to leave our van behind. Annette went with Peter and Susan in their truck, while Rob and I climbed in the back of a pickup truck with the officials from the greater community, all headed to the inauguration.

A very bumpy one hour later, we arrived in the community. The inauguration was similar in some ways to the one we attended yesterday, but the different community had some slightly different touches.

After the basketball tournament, the children presented some dances and a play. I loved the play, which was about Coca-Cola. Interestingly, Coca-Cola has become ingrained into the lives of many indigenous families. Some time ago, when clean and potable water was not available, the cola company infiltrated deep into the jungle and became a popular drink (sometimes the only option). Some indigenous traditions even consider Coke an important spiritual drink and use it for medicinal purposes (I?m not joking). In fact, at the Maya Medicine Museum in San Cristobal, we learnt how Coke is given to birthing women to induce burping, which is considered important for expelling evil spirits. The drink, which costs about 60 cents here, is actually the single largest extraction of wealth from these indigenous communities. Anyhow, some clever Education Promoter had organized his young students to put together a play about the drink. The story was about a cola factory owner, some poorly treated factory workers and an indigenous family suffering from poverty and poor health, but who continued to purchase the product. After the play, we were served some delicious cabbage stew and tortillas along with? you guessed it, Coca-Cola.

My mother got into an interesting conversation with the fellow sitting beside her at the dinner table (with Peter translating for us). The man expressed to her how happy he was that she had come all the way from Canada to be here with them for their celebration. ?I?m amazed that I?m meeting people from places that my father didn?t even know existed,? he told us. He was also very moved by the fact that in the morning he had read a passage in the bible about meeting people from far away places. His faith had been again re-affirmed by this passage coming true today.

It was a great experience, and I?ve decided that the best way to share it is to put together a short movie of video clips from the two inaugurations that we attended.

{Movie- I'm not quite finished the editing, but decided to post the text anyways, as I don't want to hold up future blogs. Will send out another notice when the movie is finished. Cheers!}