Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Over 400 people participated in SoulFiesta

Collaborating with Luther Place Memorial Church, N Street Village, and the families from Thompson Elementary we found new ways to share and understand our cultures and heritage through art, food, and music.  For some of us at the Norwood Cooperative, we learned how to do the electric slide or cumbia dancing.  SoulFiesta allowed us to celebrate our presence in the community in spite of expansive gentrification along the 14th Street corridor.  (See photos

 Community Tamalada (See photos)

The night before the event we got together to make 350 tamales and prepare barbeque chicken. Because tamales vary according to the region and country, we decided to make 100 from Guatemala, 100 from Mexico, 100 from El Salvador, and 50 veggie. While we made the tamales, we enjoyed eating home made Puerto Rican pastelitos.

Making the Mayan Mosaic (alfombra de aserrín)  (See photos)

Mayan artist David Lopez Escalante worked with a teams of volunteers from 7am to 3pm to make the 8 x 15 foot mosaic.

The mosaic was divided into three sections. The top section features a Mayan woman grinding corn. The middle section depicts a Korean couple in traditional Korean dress called Hanbok and holding a kimchi jar. The bottom part represents a boy and girl from West Africa.

The mosaic was on display inside the Luther Place Memorial Church sanctuary.

The white designs are made of rice and salt while the hair is made from dirt. The majority of the design is made of colored sawdust. The dyes are shipped from Guatemala.  The mosaic border mirrors the altar designs in the sanctuary.

Following Mayan tradition, the mosaic was taken down less than 20 hours after it was made. Mayan mosaics represent the constant change we see in nature in which even the most beautiful flowers bloom for a short period of time. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mexican corn tamales
 Community Tamalada (Tamale Making Party)

In preparation for SoulFiesta del barrio on Aug 10, we are organizing a community tamalada (tamale making party) next Friday, August 9.

We will be making Mexican and Salvadoran tamales made of corn (elote), and Guatemalan tamales made of rice. We will also be making Puerto Rican pastelitos. The tamales  and pastelitos will be served during the SoulFiesta block party the following day. The main dishes for SoulFiesta include Soul food and tamales.

Doña Olga is directing the tamalada and we can certainly use your tamale and pastelito making skills. For those of us that do not know how to make tamales and pastelitos, this is an excellent opportunity to learn!

Friday, August 9
3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Luther Place Memorial Church
1226 Vermont Ave NW
DC 20005 (Entrance is on N Street) 

Salvadoran tamal made of corn

Tamaladas are a Latin American tradition in which families and entire communities organize social gatherings to make batches of tamales. Making tamales takes a long time because all of the ingredients must be made by hand such as mixing the masa (dough), soaking the husks and leaves,  creating each tamal, and then boiling them. The more people that participate, the faster the tamales will be done.

This tamalada is being organized in collaboration with Luther Place Memorial Church, N Street Village, and the families from Thompson Elementary.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Making a Mayan Mosaic

In prepration for SoulFiesta block party, we are making a Mayan mosaic (alfombra de aserrín) that will represent our cultural diversity.

We are looking for volunteers that can help with coloring in the mosaic design that the Mayan artist will be directing. You are welcome to stop by anytime to volunteer for 1 hour or so. The mosaic will celebrate Mayan, Asian, and African American cultures. It takes an entire community to make a mosaic and we hope that you will be able to join us! 

Date: Sat, Aug 10
Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location: Luther Place Memorial Church
1226 Vermont Ave NW, DC 20005
(entrance to the church is on N Street)

The completed alfombra de aserrín will be presented during the SoulFiesta street party that will take place on Aug 10 at 4:00 PM.

“Alfombras de Aserrín” (Carpets made of beans, rice, salt and sawdust) is a Guatemalan tradition that dates back to the Mayans. These mosacis were originally made with flowers for the kings to walk on as they made their way to Mayan ceremonies. In the 16th Century, the Catholic church altered the tradition of the ”alfombra” and began to use colorful sawdust to create them.

Some of the mosaics we have made in the past: