Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter in Portbello-Home of Christo Negro

Portobello was the most important port in the Atlantic in its day. Sadly, little has been done to preserve or promote the history of the area. Squatters have set up housing in the borders of the forts and many of the buildings are falling into disrepair. Portobello is also known as the home of the Christo Negro (or Black Christ). The story goes that typhoid was killing off 1000’s and locals were flocking to the local Catholic Church to pray for their health. While neighboring areas were decimated by thyroid, Portobello was spared. Luckily we were there for Holy Week and witnessed the procession of the Black Christ through the streets.. an event that lasts 4 hours. Children dressed as mother Mary danced, sang and processed with anguished looking men carrying the life-size Black Christ on a throne of wood. After 1.5 hours, the kids were tried and we retired, while listening to the sounds of music from our boat.

Trying to maintain some Easter tradition, Angie suggested a cruiser potluck with some new found friends. A new kid boat pulled in, a whole 24 feet long, with two boys 9 and 11 (plus some animals somewhere in there). We were proud of the kids when they hopped in the dingy by themselves to go introduce themselves. The kids were English and had the most delightful accents. All of us were amazed that all four people could happily co-exist in such little space. Saturday, 5 other boats joined for a fort-based Easter egg coloring event. Easter Sunday we attended a packed Spanish service, hard to keep the kids interested when they could not understand what the priest said. After, we had a great Easter egg hunt in the old fort with the 4 kids, with a potluck with the other boats. The two younger kids found 2x more eggs than the big boys did, who seem to walk past most of them. Somewhere in the grounds of the fort is a lone Easter egg that was never found as the men could not remember where they had put all of them. Not wanting to give up, a they spent a hour looking. The festivities ended with a egg tapping contest, with Sandy of “Namaste” the winner much to the kids disappointment.