Garifuna Day in Orinoco, Nicaragua, 19 November, 2011

Half the party was on the five-hour boat ride to Orinoco…

Most of the people on the boat were either Garifuna from Orinoco or the surrounding villages, or had family there. The festival is half party, half family reunion. And they are 100% proud to of their heritage and history.

Drumming, dancing and music were all part of the early morning party…including a 9am raffle for a case of Toña beer that my buddies won. It didn’t last long.

The boat arrived right at lunch time and we didn’t hesitate to get first dibs on what was on offer. Wild pig rundown with coconut steamed rice and beans and bami bread…a thin cassava papery bread that softens when you eat it.

Food isn’t the only cultural flavor in town. Guifiti is a traditional mix of secret plants and rum that is rumored to be a nearly cure-all, including intestinal worms, stomach problems, erectile dysfunction and sobriety.

There wasn’t just drumming, eating and drinking going on…there were dance presentations put on by the different communities, including some of the older Garifuna who still know how to shake it.

And music is an integral part of the life of the Garifuna. This 80-something year old couple regaled us with gospel tunes from the 1940s. The woman claimed to be the granddaughter of John Sambola who founded Orinoco on this date well over 100 years ago.

Black Man Soul came all the way from Honduras to play their Garifuna reggae-punta mix well into the night. There were hundreds of people in attendance and, as always, Black Man Soul put on a great show.

Don’t let his size fool you…this guy can rock.

Video coming soon eventually!



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