This week, we are learning MUCH about Latin American culture in relation to traditional games, legends, riddles, etc. As if learning Spanish weren't difficult enough, try to understand and answer riddles in another language and culture! We are having fun, though, and we are learning a lot about how to play games (which is great for our ministry in La Carpio and in Peru in the future).
A very common game for children in Latin America is "jacks". Same game pieces with a few changes in the rules from when we were kids. In learning the game, we have to learn the appropriate vocabulary, how to give directions for play, how to state rules and infractions, etc. It is really a good exercise in language learning! And it has afforded us the opportunity to teach Sarah a game from our past which is a traditional game with kids in her new country.
Another traditional game is "cromos". Cromos are preprinted paper pictures which are "collectable". The paper pictures are placed face down on the floor or table and players take turns slapping the paper in an attempt to get it to "flip". When a piece flips face-up, you win that picture and it is yours to keep (like winning marbles when you shoot them out of the circle). The skill comes in trying to slap your hand in a semi-cupped position so that it creates a vaccuum and "sucks" the paper up, causing it to flip. I find this game extremely frustrating (since I haven't ONCE gotten a piece to flip)! However, at the mere mention of the name Cromos, people get the best look on their faces and they can't wait to play! Lizbeth was so excited that we were learning this and has many memories of playing this game as a child.
Also popular are marbles (only with boys) and paper dolls (with girls). Everyone, boys and girls alike, loves to jump rope and it is always a big crowd pleaser in La Carpio each week. A Latin version of hopscotch is also popular (named "Rayuela").
Also on the agenda this week... learning the most common legends and oral traditions, learning about common superstitions in Latin American culture, and learning common songs and poems (almost like nursery rhymes) in this culture.
Lots of fun! When was the last time that you laid on your belly on the floor and played marbles or jacks, or hopped around on a hopscotch board or with a jumprope? Maybe you should endulge your childhood memories today and play! If you need a good excuse (so you don't feel too childish) teach a child in your life how to play and explain that kids in Latin America are playing these games TODAY (because they don't have Wii or Xbox or televisions, etc.).