Lá Féile Pádraig Shona daoibh
Trip Start Jan 29, 2013
39Trip End May 23, 2014
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St. Patrick made his inaugural visit to Jiquilillo, on March 18th I found a dead snake on the road through the village, the first snake I've encountered here. Something strange is afoot. San Patricio was leaving his mark I think. He obviously approved of how we honoured him on the 17th.
Considering that whenever I say I'm from Irlanda, the immediate response is "Hollanda?" it's not too surprising that no one here had heard of Paddy's day or could comprehend the global phenomenon it has become. Not that it really matters, the reality is that most of the locals would be hard pressed to find anywhere further afield than Chinandega on a map, and I fear even at that it would be a bit of a pin the tail on the donkey exercise. So what does it matter where I'm from when it has no meaning or context for them. Having said that, as is the case with all exiles, being abroad brings out the patriot in us and I was determined to mark the day in some way. So fully clad in varying shades of green, equipped with a pot of green paint, a few paint brushes and my fellow Irish expat Aoife, we set off through the village and painted the face of every child, and some courageous adults, green
Starting at Doña Chepita's pulperia (corner shop), where we found our first unsuspecting targets, we made our way through the village with children crawling out from under every rock and fence joining us on our parade once they were initiated into the cult of the shamrock. By the time we reached my house at the opposite end of the village we must have had 25 children in tow. I think Doña Fran took fright at both the sight of me in my finest Irish regalia and so many kids trailing behind but I reassured her we weren't an invasion, we were just here to paint both Bianca and Justin and take them on their merry way with us. She already thinks I'm a mad gringa, all I was doing was reaffirming her suspicions! Nearly two hours later we closed the celebrations with an ice cream, not green unfortunately, but I feel we definitely did our bit for St. Paddy and the diaspora. We may have failed to dye the Pacific green but it was as fine a display of patriotism, fun and frolics as you would have found anywhere else on Paddy's day. Lá Féile Pádraig Shona daoibh, feliz día San Patricio ó Jiquilillo.