Saturday, October 3, 2009

Total Eclipse

Somehow while I was in Coban Eswin discovered and then fell in love with Bonny Taylor. I believe i’ve mentioned my host family is evangelical and thus, the only thing I have heard come from the speakers of their boombox (cause it is a boombox) since I arrived here two months ago, is either Spanish Christian pop music or the broadcast of Alotenango’s daily Evangelical mass/culto (into which, by the way, Silvia once called and the DJ dedicated a Christian Pop song to Analuisa Cojolon <-- that’s me). So you could imagine my surprise when, while sitting in the courtyard learning subjunctive with my spanish class, the sound of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” came floating over to delight my ears. The familiar tune came from the kitchen table where Eswin was working on his drawing homework (btw* they take straight lines very seriously here in Guatemala. The kids may not own markers but be damned if they don’t have a straight edge ruler hanging predominantly somewhere in the house). When the song ended, one minute later it started up again, and then it played again, and again, and again, until i think I had heard the song more times than it was played on KIIS FM in the 90s. When our class broke for a refacción (snack) I walked on over to Eswin to see what was going on with the “Eclipse” on repeat and as I neared i realized the song was coming from his JC phone. I call it his JC phone because his phone’s background wallpaper is a picture of Jesus kneeling on a mountainside. I don’t know who introduced him to this song or when or how he downloaded it to his cell phone and I really don’t care. I’m just happy its there. And to show my appreciation at lunch (after Eswin had played the song so many times I had it committed to memory) I performed a little lip-sync and dance number to it for Dona Paula while she was in the kitchen reheating some Pepian on the stove.

That night while laying in bed with “once upon a time i was falling in love” still twirling on the tip of my tongue I was forced back to reality by the ever present sound of Culto on loudspeaker. The Evangelical church is about 2 blocks away yet the penetrative clarity of that loudspeaker makes it sound like the preacher is giving mass at the foot of my bed. I have come to believe this is one of the reasons why so many Guatemalans are converting to Evangelicalism. You don’t actually have to be a part of the church to hear the sermon. Its quite genius actually. One night I walked by said church; lights on, megaphone at full blast, music playing, sounds of clapping, so much enthusiasm oozing out of the place you’d think the entire town of Alotenango was packed between the four walls of that church. However, when I peered into the open doors I was shocked to see the preacher with microphone in hand whole heartedly preaching to a whopping fifteen or so odd people in white plastic chairs at the front of the church and the remaining 9/10ths of the building was just an empty sea of red cement floor. Those cement floors make for stellar acoustics. Seeing the reality of Culto made me wonder if that loudspeaker is really necessary. Cause I’m pretty sure God can still hear them without the megaphone. But then maybe that is why there are only 15 people at the church, cause the rest of the congrigation is just listening to the mass like me, from the comfort of their beds.

*mom and dad, btw stands for by the way


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