happy chinese new year, and CARNAVAL!

18 Feb

The last few days have been sleepless, okay I won’t exaggerate, but at least sleeplittle. I have been working on the Carnival commission, so our duties were too run around trying to organize 3 groups of over 100 people as they got in line, dressed in a terrifying quantity of satin, sequins and feathers, and got their bands singing, while finally hosting their kings, queens and damas onto a tall homemade float (that sways precariously under the weight of samba dancing feet).
Here in Sal we had 3 official groups, Samba no Pe, Gaviõnes and Maravilhas do Sul, and then a few groups of animation, especially good were the Mandingas, a bunch of people who painted themselves all black and carried around sticks and metal rods, scaring people and wiping their oil on everyone. They also outfitted motorcycles and quads with neon wigs and broken toys, racing through the crowds to add that extra edge of fear-fun. I thought they totally rocked (though some onlookers complain that they ruin the festivities, I am a fan of the chaos, making it much more lively and exciting). Mandinga groups are known to be more rebellious (Sunday they dressed as terrorists with automatic guns) but the word mandinga means the magical quality that master practitioners of capoeira possess…
So – Carnaval was a success, though tiring, and my co-worker Sheila definitely was pushed to the limit try to organize the groups. Her new moto is that Cape Verdeans have a lack of initiative, their slave-history has taught them to sit around like bumps waiting for directions. I don’t know if this is always true, but they definitely were in need of some more active leaders not hot-headed grog drinkers yesterday. Live and learn, next year we will put the start time at 2 pm so things will get rolling by 4…


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