On the first weekend of this December over 300 members of the Lyndale community gathered to celebrate La Posada with an evening of dancing, games, and food. We were much luckier this year compared to last, when Snowpocalypse happened on the very day of the event. This year there was no digging out vehicles or hibernating in our homes. Many Youth Farm families came out, and the Project LEAD had a part in putting together the event.

La Posada is a cultural celebration in the Latino community based on Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay, ending in the manger. During the event everyone stood up and sang the traditional song, Villancicos para pedir posadas. We were also entertained by Mexico Lindo, a group of young dancers in traditional Mexican styles.

The night before the party, a group of Lead and a few Youth Farmers partnered with the Latinas de Lyndale en Liderazgo program to make ponce and tinga for tostadas. By the end of the night we had over 40 pounds of shredded chicken soaking with onions in a  special sauce and had enough toppings for 300 tostadas. There was also a huge vat simmering with apples, cinnamon sticks, sugar cane and more for our ponce.

During the event our Lead staff seemed to be everywhere at once.  Nazeem and Niani gathered up Youth Farmers and other children to play games of musical chairs, statue garden, and oboe-she-noten-totten. Anisa went back into face painting mode and spent several hours in the chair. She has fully developed painting butterflies as a marketable skill after so many events.

Farm Steward Jesus and Project Lead Madi taught kids how to grow their own salad. Youth could decorate their own seed pot, fill it with soil, and plant their own lettuce seeds. The idea of growing a salad to feed their family put a big smile on the face of each child and parent.

Elsewhere, Yanelli put into practice her translating skills she has been honing. As one of Santa’s elfs, she had the responsibility to ensure families would recieve the photos of their children on Santa’s lap. In the kitchen, new staff Jade and August went to work plating those hundreds of tostadas. I’ll admit I went back for seconds!

It was an amazing successful and fun celebration. Major thanks to the Lyndale Neighborhood Organization and the Latinas de Lyndale en Liderazgo for allowing us to support the event.

Note: the following interview and write up was done at the event by Lead staff Niani and will be published in the Lyndale Neighborhood News…

December 10, 2011 marks the day part of the Lyndale community gathered inside Painter Park to celebrate La Posada. An annual Mexican holiday. The event was organized by LNA (Lyndale Neighborhood Association) and Youth Farm. Amongst the joyful crowd was Adriana Lara – a youthful appearing Mexican woman with long wavy hair and sparkling brown eyes. After the event I had the pleasure of interviewing her about La Posada. Through a translator I learned about her life in Mexico and America along with her thoughts on health/food in Mexico compared to The U.S.

What does La Posada mean to you?

It is a day to remember baby Jesus. When Mary was about to give birth to Jesus she went from door to door asking people if she could deliver her baby in their homes. Posada is the action of knocking on doors asking to be let in.

How do you think it went this year?

“Bien, Bien, Bien” (Good)

What is your favorite part of La posada? What are some similarities and differences in Mexico?

The food is my favorite part. Some differences include the food. Specifically the drinks. In Mexico there is Atole (a sort of fruit flavored water). In the U.S. there is soda: “Coca y Fanta”.

Why did you move to America?

To study cosmetology. When I got here the tuition was $900 and I couldn’t afford it. I want to go back to Mexico but my kids want to study here. I am frustrated that I didn’t meet my goal.

What do you like about The U.S.?

Everything! The cold, the snow, and the fashion. There are more opportunities here. In Mexico the older you are the harder it becomes to find a job.

What don’t you like?

I don’t like all of the frozen food. In Mexico, food is always fresh. Mexico has less fatty food that’s why everyone in America is obese. I also have a lot of stress from paying bills and I’m getting fatter [she says with a smile]

She also expressed that she doesn’t feel comfortable leaving her kid’s home alone but at the same time she has to pay the bills. Most of all she expressed sadness for not being able to go to cosmetology school. With all the bills and stress she’s facing, she doesn’t see a future for herself.“No hay futuro”.