The 18th of September was Chile's 199th birthday. In our chapel, we decided to celebrate big, with a traditional fonda or carnival type of party. We had all the fixings for a fun family day -traditional dancing, foods and lots of games, including rayuela, a game typically played in the country, sort of like horseshoes. The only thing missing was chicha and red wine. It's almost unheard of to have a fonda with no alcohol, but the community decided that in order to make it truly family friendly, they could do without the drinking and fighting that often overrun independence day parties these days.
Fondas are traditionally decorated with large palms.
Fr. Mike Howe, the Columban priest in charge of the chapel starts us off with a blessing.
The teenagers ran the games. They worked hard the whole six hours without taking a break.
Chile's national dance, the Cueca, performed by local school children.
The kids also showed us a traditional Mapuche dance, from the south of Chile.
Meat, meat, meat! Chileans are not inclined to vegetarianism.
The northern version of the cueca.
Anna's sister is here visiting until March, and dressed up for her first Dieciocho celebration.
The rayuela competition was a big hit... David almost won.
It was great to see so many families participating, including dads.
The guitar is the unofficial national instrument. No party is complete without a song.
Our gringo Chilean family portrait.
Unfortunately, the fun was interrupted by a fire in the neighborhod. Two families lost their homes. Please keep them in your prayers.