Sometimes in life you have to forget the worries of the moment and just be, just celebrate. Today I celebrated life, community, and everyone’s beauty. I felt blessed to spend the day with some fellow Peace Corps friends and their host families as we took part in the Guyanese holiday Phagwah. Phagwah is known as the “Festival of Color,” it is a Hindu celebration that commemorates the triumph of good over evil. It is a beautiful celebration bringing together the community. The day began with Temple, the service was filled with singing, prayer, and imparted the message of love, compassion, and respect for one another.
We continued with the festivities covering each other in powdered colors and exchanging hugs. The day consisted of traveling to various community member’s homes singing songs, dancing, eating food, and of course covering each other in more colors. Little kids would squirt colored water on us and run away giggling, the more ambitious would sneak attack people and leave a colored smear across faces. In many ways it was a battle, colors swirling around, ambush after ambush, but I couldn’t help but laugh and smile at the end of it all. I had purple, green, pink, blue, yellow, and red painted across my skin, I was no longer the ‘white girl,’ but rather the colorful girl dancing with my colorful friends. I felt comfortable, I felt happy, I felt beautiful. It was a memorable day where I laughed, I danced, I celebrated – I Phagwahed.
Other Guyana happenings in a nutshell: visit to the sea wall, gave health talk on diabetic nutrition at the hospital, cooked an authentic Guyanese meal from scratch, got a cavity filled in Georgetown, ate a chicken foot, received care package form home (send me letters and oreos!), mastered frying plantains, went to Guyana vs. Guatemala soccer game, had condom races, enjoyed fresh coconut water, shared meals at other volunteers homes, and smiled/cried/laughed/wondered is this really my life!?