Friday was the annual summer party at CAR de Vallecas (my internship). I was told about this party my first day so I knew that it was something very special to the staff and residents. Preparation for the party began weeks in advance and last week there was nonstop “party talk”. I was asked several time if I was going to the party and if I had a performance prepared (the first question I answered yes and the second question I answered definitely not). I was told that this party is usually packed with residents, ex-residents, family and friends.
It started at 7 p.m. with a drum performance by a local school group which included a couple of the residents. Everyone that was there gathered around to watch the show and clapped/danced along. They were awesome and everyone had a smile on their face.
After the drum performance everyone went over to the outdoor patio where we enjoyed delicious food from several different countries. There was Venezuelan food, Spanish food and Ukrainian food. My favorite food there was definitely the arepas which were at the Venezuelan table. Arepa’s are made with maize dough and are usually stuffed with various yummy ingredients like chicken, rice, beans and avocado. Because the center usually only serves typical Spanish food, it was nice for residents from Venezuela to have a little taste of home.
After dinner there were several performances which took place on a stage that the activities coordinator had set up a few days prior to the party. The performances included dances from all over the world, songs/raps and poems. One of my favorites was a poem recited by a young girl from Palestine who was an ex-resident at the center. The majority of the poem was in Spanish but there were also parts that were in Arabic. It spoke about the unnecessary violence and the lack of freedom that continues to exist in her country. It was so powerful that I couldn’t believe it had been written by someone so young.
After all of the performances were over one of the residents took over as the DJ and we danced the night away. Definitely a night to remember.