By Bárbara Ramírez
Saturday, October 24th 2015, 6:50am, San Quintín Bay. The October sun begins to shine. Fresh air comes with the sunrise mist that covers the Volcanic Valley. The sun’s golden light bathes the dunes of Punta Mazo, the shorebirds are aligned in groups in front of the ocean. The bay begins to awake: today is Terra Peninsular’s First Annual Bird Festival.
There’s excitement in the air at La Chorera, the women prepares the food for the party, you can see them walking around the place carrying food, tomatoes, salsa, condiments and seafood. The kids are laughing and excited, they’re outside the school’s classroom waiting to participate in the illustration workshop.
Meanwhile, the early-rising residents are at the area they use for hosting parties, where they’re installing the tent and chairs. Kids of all ages keep arriving, they cannot wait any longer. The program has been rescheduled. Half of the kids are at the workshop with Gaby, and the rest are heading to the beach where Jonathan is waiting for them with bird guides, monocles, and interesting information about birds. The midmorning sun is reflected on the ocean and the wetlands. The kids are having fun, some of them are drawing or bird watching, and today the shorebirds are the center of attention.
The colors of the ocean and the wetlands look intense under the midday sun. The autumn weather is leaving us and a trace of summer still refuses to leave. The sea air is blowing, but it’s not enough to dry the sweat of the people who are under the tent. The people in charge of sound are preparing the equipment, Rafael prepares the power generator that we needed, and women arrive carrying food. Agustina, “Guti” as everyone calls her, is in charge of everything and orchestrates the parade, she lights the fire easily and feeds it with firewood.
The kids are back from bird watching, now is the adults’ turn. The different types of birds are still in the minds of the kids, except for Santiago, a 5-year-old boy who spent the rest of the afternoon showing his bird guide to everyone, he wants to go back to the beach and continue watching “little birds”.
All the guests are here, including the San Quintín delegate, Luis Reyes, and the subdelegate of the Secretary of Tourism, Ramón Villavicencio, both have joined the celebration.
Every person takes a seat under the tent to listen to Jonathan talking about migratory birds. After just 40 minutes, the whole community now has a new vision about birds. Those pacific animals have flown more miles than any of the people here, and more than one is amazed by that fact.
Later, Luis Reyes and Ramón Villavicencio shared some words about the importance of joining efforts towards conservation. Terra Peninsular’s executive director, César, also offered some words of gratitude to both communities and to everyone who helped organizing our First Annual Bird Festival.
Don Pancho, sitting in the front row, asks for the microphone and he thanks for the attention given to the community La Chor
era, he insists on the importance of working hand in hand with residents to protect the birds and San Quintín Bay. To end with a flourish, Vero shares the meaning of the Festival and that our friends from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama are aware of this place. Don Pancho gets excited, the name of his community will be known worldwide.
Suddenly, a yellow bus arrives, and a stringed musical group from the local high school, CBTA 146, gets out of the bus, and begins to play music, they’re the entertainment of the Festival. The food is ready: creamy clam with chipotle, shrimp cocktail and ‘’9 mares’’ soup (as baptized by Guti). The party just began! And the people are enjoying it.
Before the sun went down, all the participants gathered one more time under the tent for the premiere of a video, in which some of them participated. Everyone is quiet now and the music begins. On the screen the incredible images of the bay are shown, the people are hypnotized. Suddenly, a voice breaks the silence, one of the community’s women is in the video talking about San Quintín Bay, and the scene is followed by laughs and applauses.
Don Pancho appears in the video, too, and everyone is cheering, he blushes a little bit. You can hear people whispering “I know her,” “Look, there’s Marisa,” people identify the residents that collaborated in the video. Luis turns around and tells me, “I’m not in the video;” I smiled and said, “Maybe next time.” The video ends and everyone is clapping, they’re shouting, “Again! Again!” And the video is played once again.
The day is about to end and we begin to say goodbye. We leave tanned and tired, but happy and smiling because we did it! The residents invite us to come back; they tell us that we can visit them even if it’s not for work. Our new friend Marcie says goodbye to me with a big hug and promising a girl’s night out. The last pictures are