Ela and Benancio have been talking about Elkin's birthday party for at least the last three months.
The night before, true to form, Ela and the other women of the family were scurrying to prepare things; decorations, food, gifts and the house. At 8:00 Cali, Charlotte and I went down to help make tamales. After helping to make the sauce we began assembling the tamales. Our goal was 180 tamales but by 11:00 we had run out of banana leaves. We were grateful, each having had a long day already.
This clown wasn't any old clown, mind you. Not only did this clown speak K'iche, he was also an evangelical clown, asking the kids who loved "Jesusito" to raise their hands and then opening with a special blessing for Elkin.
Ferando, on the other hand clung for life to his aunt Isabel. Earlier, while the clown was getting ready in the house Fernando passed his door, saw him and in the same heartbeat turned around and walked straight into Isabel's arms, shellshocked. Before the clown came out to the crowd I asked Fernando if he liked him. His response: "I'm going to kill the clown."
Elkincito hung in pretty good most the day, considering that while we were finishing up the tamales at 11:00 the previous night he was up and drinking Coca Cola and that a line of firecrackers 5 feet long was set off at 5:30 a.m. that morning followed by birthday cake and hot chocolate for breakfast.
After the kids left and we had lunch the church service began. Here Ela speaks to her congregation and thanks them for attending Elkin's birthday.
And just like the weekend before at Fernando's party, it was a mad rush to plate and serve the tamales and cake. Cali weaves her way through the crowd, three plates in hands, like a pro.