The Azuero Earth Project participated in Pedasí´s local parade (desfile de carretas) for the first time ever on October 27. Led by Leo Mena, AEP´s eco-guide expert and Princeton in Latin America fellow, and Jairo Batista, AEP’s organic gardener, staff and friends constructed an ox-drawn cart (carreta) representing the dry forest of the Azuero. While this design differed from the typical rancho structure, AEP’s cart incorporated traditional elements, such as motetes (woven backpacks) and coconut treats (cocadas) made by AEP staff member Josefina Pérez.
Everyone took part in this celebratory event: Children dressed in folkloric attire – sombrero pintado for the boys and polleras for the girls – rode on top of the cart waving and throwing treats into the passing crowd. Our flag-bearer (abanderada) was Sophie Fuchs, AEP’s organic farming expert and other Princeton in Latin America Fellow. She waved AEP’s spider monkey flag, leading the group through the parade that marched around Pedasí’s central plaza. Staff and supporters marched behind the cart dancing, playing drums, and singing traditional songs with lyrics transformed to carry environmental messages. Members of the ANAM office in Las Tablas and students from the University of Las Tablas also attended the event to support the Project.
AEP’s traditional “tamborito” songs about the spider monkey and how to protect Azuero’s forest to spread powerful environmental messages through familiar tunes. As AEP staff and supporters sang “Ay qué será de él”, the song about the spider monkey, they held up a bangaña, a dried gourd with a spider monkey carved into it. The event itself represented an important opportunity for the Azuero Earth Project to take part in community activities and to explore local traditions while sharing a message of environmental protection with the community. The Azuero Earth Project hopes to participate in future folkloric community events and welcomes your participation!
Written by Sophie M. Fuchs