The “Wake” Experience

11 Feb

Thursday I came home from my walk with another fellow Canadian to the sounds of country and western music blaring from the speakers at a house on the street behind us. The sound coming to us is pretty much direct, as right behind the house I live in is an open lot and then across the street is the source of the sound.

They brought in dozens of chairs, built an extra comfort station, and of course, they brought in big-a** speakers, similar to what would be used at a public gathering. We, my housemates and I, weren’t sure what was going on so of course, we speculated. This week the Prime Minister is coming to town (general elections are scheduled for March 7) so it was thought that maybe this was a political rally. I was thinking, based on the type of music that we being played, that it was just a party. But it seemed odd that there would be a party of this magnitude on a Thursday night.

As the night went on, the music got louder, and definitely more varied in style. Hip hop, reggae, country (mostly old), contemporary, latin – music of all styles was played. And played loudly. Finally sometime after 2:00 a.m. the music stopped. I must have been able to fall asleep again to it because I don’t know exactly what time it was. Apparently, the party got rained out. At one point, according to one of my housemates who had a perfect view of the happenings, there were hundreds of people in the streets, visiting, socializing. And I believe it because in my room, with the door closed and facing 90 degrees away from the gathering, I could barely hear the tv program I was watching/listening to even though my computer was only about 18″ away from my face. Yet I could also still hear the din, the noise that is associated with voices of large groups. Every now and then one individual or two would get quite loud and they could be distinctly heard but generally it was just a low roar.

Friday morning when we awoke the street was littered with debris as a result of hundreds of people eating and drinking in the streets. But this was one of the first things the homeowner did – cleaned up the street. If I hadn’t experienced this first hand last night, I would never have known there was such a large gathering at that home yesterday.

Friday stayed pretty quiet. No music, very few people. However, I soon heard that more chairs were brought over which indicated more people were expected. The casket was also brought to the house this morning. Here in Punta Gorda, the people use pick up trucks to carry their dead, and they drive the person around in a procession throughout the community.

Apparently, this type of party a common occurrence with the Garifuna, a local cultural group, to have these loud functions. This merriment is the finish of, apparently, a Novena or 9 days of mourning which is accented by prayer and refection.

The merriment on the neighbour’s part made for a rough night of rest on our part and an even rougher next day, but it was easier to accept once we knew the reason behind the gaiety.

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1 Comment

Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Fresh in Belize


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One response to “The “Wake” Experience

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