Updated: May 31, 2020
Once again, Carnival has come and gone and once again, we all survived.
For those of you who aren't clear about what Carnival is all about, here's a little background. Bolivia is essentially a Catholic country, which means that the church calendar is...important? Supposedly important, at any rate. Bolivia has such a strange mix of religious and really not religious, that it's sometimes hard to sort out. The Catholic church walks side by side with the pagan religions here...sometimes even holding hands...with their arms around each other's shoulders. Most events on the church calendar have strong non-Christian elements that have been incorporated over the years by people who don't completely understand what they believe. That's not to say that their faith isn't important to them...it most certainly is. It's just complemented by witchcraft and a belief in the Pachamama (sort of a mother earth character).
As we move into the Easter season, Lent comes up on the church calendar. Historically the church demanded that, for those forty days before Holy Week (the week before Easter Sunday), people needed to give up a long list of vices and pleasures. Therefore, to make sure that they didn't miss out on anything fun, people started jamming forty days worth of sin and debauchery into the three days before Lent began.
And low and behold, thus Carnival was invented. It's essentially three days of drinking and partying and doing whatever you want, before you have to been good for Jesus. It's possible they're missing out on the point of Lent, but there you go. =)
Most churches and Christians do their best to get out of the way and head out to church camps and retreats out of the city. We've never done that, so we do our best to keep the guys entertained and having fun, without diving too deeply into Carnival life. This year we had a lot of fun actually. Sunday we made pizzas and watched big screen movies at the house (I pulled out the old projector). Monday I put on my youth pastor hat and organized waterballoon games for the guys and our church's youth group in the park. One of the more entertaining aspects of Carnival is that the entire country engages in a giant water fight. Everywhere you go, people are throwing waterballoons and pails of water at each other.
Then finally on Tuesday, we piled into Isabel's and my trucks and headed out to a pool at waterpark an hour or so out of the city. It was a relaxing and fun way to end the holiday. I always love getting out of the city. We had a great time and (I think!) enjoyed each other's company!
Out in the country....