Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cha-ne-ke/Latin Soul/Anthropology

(1) CHANEKE (pronounced "cha-NEHkeh")

Okay, it just happened, okay? We didn't ask for this.

Our second night here, we were sitting in the gentle twilight on our porch and little Ariana (our perennial shadow) slipped in through the gentling darkness and slowly lowered something into my arms.... something warm and fuzzy.

So now we have a new kitten. This little guy looks almost exactly like our lost Corazon (see posts "The Very Heart of Christmas" and "Alas, Corazon) and is in fact, a descendent -- a nephew of Corazon., the son of Corazon's littermate.  Tiny little loving creature, he even has a heart on the same side that Corazon had a furry patterned heart!  And, he has an unmistakable heart in the coloration of his nose, too.  He fit right into our lives, discovered all the same safe hiding places around our house that Corazon used to use, loves the same toys (knotted plastic bags, wood chips, a suspended string with a knot). And we plan to bring him back, of course.

We named him Cha-ne'-ke (cha-NAYkay) -- a delightful name that makes all the locals laugh with delight. The Chaneke are little Leprechaun-like creatures that live along the waterways of Mexico. Some people are afraid of them, but from the laughter, I think most folks get a kick out of the idea of them. Our Chaneke was born on the beach.

As for Latin Soul! Love it. There I was, surrounded by kids on our porch all involved in the various projects I've collected for kids (drawing, Jenga, building blocks, 3-D projects...) and two young girls were with me wanting to sing.

I reminded them of the French cathedrals round from last visit and we did a few rounds of that and I noticed the words were changing from "Orleans" on to "Vendome" and becoming: "Tenedor, Cuchara, Cuchillo para cortar, Un Vaso, Un Vaso" --(fork, spoon, knife for cutting, a glass, a glass) --and by then, they'd had ENOUGH of this "pinche gringo" music --

.....and burst into a rousing round (complete with body dancing while still suspended in hammocks) of "La Cucaracha" only again, the words were changed:
"Roberto loco, Roberto loco, no se puede a nadar, porque no tiene, porque le falta, tabla para surfiar!" (Crazy Robert, crazy, Robert, cannot go to swim, because he doesn't have, because he's missing, a surfboard for surfing)

I'm glad I'm not still bound by the tenets of first'year anthropology where you visit a foreign culture and do not interfere but simply coolly observe... but I'm working out how to, um, intervene a bit. One morning a crew came over, and one mom along with her 18-month old son, Damian. Damian has been here without her, in the arms of older siblings, and all has been calm... But THIS visit really took us both by surprise....

There was a minor altercation between Damian and our Shadow, Ariana . The MOTHER picked up Damian,carried him over to Ariana and told him to HIT her and to BITE her! Numerous times she instructed him, and he obeyed. She was laughing all the while and Robert and I watched in hidden horror....

I thought of saying something, but don' want to undermine a mother.... so my solution is simple. In fact, I'e already set up the mood for it.... I keep a conscious awareness of the energy among the kids, and maintain a sort of Buddhist calmness in the air. This works.

One catch-phrase that spontaneously came out of my mouth to intercept a snooty interchange between the boys and the girls was "Cuida su corazon..." -- "Watch your heart...."

Oh... and the waves were GREAT for the first few days. We're in a bit of a lull just now, so today is a town trip. Adios, amigos....

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