1 June 2008

THE GODFATHER

     Want to learn about godparents in Ecuador?  Become one!  It´s a little more involved than it is at home.  I wa asked precisely because I´m American.  Many Otavalos distinguish two kinds of godparents – other Ecuadorians and extranjeros (foreigners).  Though foreigners aren´t usually around as much, they usually carry more prestige and a bigger wallet.  In exchange for footing the bill, we obtain a lifetime friend.  The benefits, although asymmetrical, can last a lifetime.

     Yesterday, I did some last minute shopping.  The baptism outfit for my godson William Daniel consisted of a cute little white naval uniform (very popular), new white socks, white shoes, a white cap, white rosary beads, and a white candle.  The godfather is also supposed to purchase a cambio (change).  I bought Danny a pair of boots, another pair of socks, some cute action figure briefs, and a long-sleeved polo shirt.

     By custom, I also bought some gifts for his mom and day – my cumari and my cumpari.  Moms are supposed to be more spolied so I bought her a new embroidered blouse (traditional dress), a new faja a woven waistband), a matching cinta (hair ribbon), new alpargatas (traditional sandals), a new sabana (sheet for carrying Danny), and a new shawl for keeping them both warm and stylish.  I purchased Dad a new shirt (remember, I said  that moms are to be spoiled).

     The ceremony was today.  Afterwards, the feasting started.  Round after round of soft drinks served to all in the same cup.  Our fiesta was beer and shots free, otherwise we would have been drinking non-stop.  A big bowl of potato and chicken soup.  I had an entire leg of freshly killed chicken in mine (yes, we have one less chicken) in mine.  That was followed by the main course – the other leg, a mountain of white rice, some chopped tomatoes, and a few boiled potatoes.  I was full after the soup.  I had just passed the point of no return, and was turning the corner when the beautifully roasted cuy (guinea pig) was served surrounded by boiled potatoes.  All for me!   When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  Imagine the Thanksgiving turkey proudly and beautifully served.  Now replace the turkey with a guinea pig.  The kitchen has one less guinea pig running around the kitchen floor.  In a magnanimous gesture, I shared my cuy with the other guests.  Kudos to my student Zachary Whitney, who down his portion like a seasoned veteran. 

     The day started at 9AM in church, and ended around 3 PM with everyone still sharing cups of soft drinks.  Wait til you see the pictures of the cuy!

 

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