Sep 23 2011

Independence Day torch tradition in Guatemala

CFCA sponsored youth Simiona in Guatemala

Simiona, CFCA sponsored youth, carries the Independence Day torch in Guatemala this year.

CFCA sponsored youth Maria in Guatemala

MarÌa, another CFCA sponsored youth, also helped carry the torch during the celebrations.

Cruz Quievac Choy, a CFCA staff member in the CFCA project in Atitl·n, Guatemala, sent us this report about a popular tradition on the eve of Guatemala’s Independence Day, Sept. 15.

After 190 years, Guatemala still commemorates its independence in a unique way.

This initiative was promoted by MarÌa Dolores Bedoya (Guatemalan leader who participated in the independence movement of Central America), together with the heroes who sought freedom and called for citizens to sign the Act of Independence.

History tells us that the people joined the celebration, burning fireworks to the sound of the marimba. Independence brought great joy for the Central American countries.

The euphoria of the citizens continued as Dolores Bedoya ran through the streets of Guatemala with the light of a lantern.

Many people joined this procession, carrying a lantern as the symbol of independence for their country. In addition, it represented the light that illuminates the path of Guatemala.

Today to commemorate this celebration, people run with a torch through town after town.

Many people gather in front of the municipalities or in the atrium of parish churches where the parish priest blesses the torch or the mayor gives his approval.

On the roads, entire families come out to encourage the runners carrying the torch.

CFCA sponsored youth Simiona and MarÌa participated in this yearís civic activities.

They said it was exciting to celebrate their independence by running the torch because it is a day of celebration and living as a community with other students from different schools.

They said it was also an opportunity for everyone to demonstrate their talents in contests of folk dances, poems and songs.

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Jul 4 2011

Independence Days around the CFCA world

Happy Fourth of July to the CFCA community based in the United States!

Of course, many in our community overseas celebrate their Independence Day sometime other than today. We’d like to recognize a few of those:

El Salvador

El Salvador annually celebrates its independence from Spain on Sept. 15.

This celebration is called the “Central American Independence” because Central America was under the domain of Spain and its countries reached their independence at the same time.

For this celebration, thousands of students from public and private schools participate in the “independence parade,” organized in every major city or town.

They march to the rhythm of “peace bands” playing folk, classic and modern songs, as well as dances, acrobatics and cheerleading routines. People fill the streets with flags and smiles.

Guatemala

Like El Salvador, Guatemala celebrates its independence day on Sept. 15. Many schools, buildings and buses are decorated with nationalistic images: the white-and-blue flag, quetzal (national bird) and monja blanca (national flower).

Students have parades with marching bands as they sing the national anthem, with cultural presentations and firecrackers. The army participates with a military parade and air shows, usually in front of the national palace and with the president.

On Sept. 14, a night parade takes place where people light the “independence torch” in their communities. The streets are decorated with balloons and white-and-blue ornaments, with children and adults waving plastic Guatemalan flags.

India

India celebrates its independence from the United Kingdom on Aug. 15. Every city has a flag-hoisting ceremony where schoolchildren gather to sing the national anthem and watch the hoisting of the flag.

Sweets such as laddu are also distributed. Children in school competitions read compositions about India’s freedom fighters. Unlike in the U.S., fireworks aren’t common except in certain towns.

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Sep 1 2010

Kenyans welcome new constitution

Peter Ndungo, Nairobi project coordinator, sends this report about Kenya’s establishment of a new national constitution. He explains the implications of this for CFCA families in Kenya.

“Kenya reborn … Our day of pride … Itís a fresh start … The dream of a new Kenyaî … These are some of the headlines from one of our mainstream newspapers.

Alice, from Kenya

Alice

Kenya became independent on Dec. 12, 1963, with a constitution negotiated in London with heavy input by the departing colonizers.

After many years in pursuit of a truly representative and democratic constitution, Kenyans finally ushered in the new constitution at a ceremony at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on Aug. 27, 2010.

Kenyans have high expectations for the new constitution. Some CFCA sponsored members and their families shared their reactions.

Alice, a sponsored aging member, said she voted ìyesî for the constitution. She says that it will give rise to a new Kenya free from colonial restrictions.

Rachel, from Kenya

Rachel

Alice also says she is ìhappy to have lived to see the day that Kenya would have a new constitution.î

Rachel, mother to sponsored child Monica, says that she voted for the constitution because it eliminates tribalism that has often caused people to rise against one another. Rachel says, ìIf my daughter decides to marry in another country, she will not have to give up her identity as a Kenyan. Dual citizenship is now allowed. As a woman, I feel protected by this constitution; I have a right to property.î

Truphosa, mother to sponsored child Kelvin, says she is ìvery excited since the new constitution promises free quality primary education. …

Truphosa, from Kenya

Truphosa

This will benefit many Kenyans as through the years the cost of education has risen steadily, and very few people can afford to pay fees for their children.î

The constitution creates an enabling environment for all Kenyans to live up to their potential in an atmosphere of freedom, liberty, human dignity and equal rights. CFCA in Kenya welcomes with open hands the new constitution, and we look forward with a lot of expectation to the hard part ó the implementation phase.

We want to join other Kenyans in building our nation and giving hope to our sponsored members and their families. We are happy to participate in building a happy and prosperous democratic Kenya.

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