Intense reggeaton, “punta” and bachata music reign party playlist. At the chorus line about “killing the worm” – a badly disguised phallic reference – each dance couple thrusts their pelvis together, effectively killing the little appendage. As this hilarious tease of rubbing and thrusting goes on, the sinful judgements of the Catholic and Cristian churches frown from the edges of the dance floor. They are queens of spirituality in El Nance and Tacualtuste, two neighbouring towns taught with strongly marked contrasts, both in the department of Yoro.
All men and boys live in wide open fields where they ride bikes and horses and occasionally enjoy their hill-top crops of weed. Young, single girls live in spaces connected by highly guarded tunnels. Homes are surrounded by the chastity of invisible and undeniable matriarchal forces. Boys trespass by osmosis, with infinite and historical ease, but girls bump uncomfortably against the perforated, preferential fences.
At first I walked through it all, not realizing my pedestal status. Now I’m conscious of the foreign femininity that allows me to drink beer in the afternoon without receiving harsh judgement. My ambiguous freedom comes from the outside, from far-away lands, and provides no reference from which people can judge me. Yet.
Both main stream music and main stream religion have a grip on mentalities about sexuality. Most teenagers don’t know how to use a condom, think abortion is a sin, are aware of the virginity myth for women, but are all raging with hormones, romance and curiosity. I walk through town, spreading invitations to youth meetings and witness the great gap of gender divide. The girls are at home, washing, cleaning or studying. The boys are spread about, herding cattle from the hill-tops or resting in packs. I visualized the meeting with a room full of boys, and a minority of brave girls with condoning parents. Instead very few boys came, and the rest watched shyly through the holes and cracks in the wooden walls of “La Coneja”. I sensed a strange masculine hesitation, while the girls yelled, screamed and laughed solving a puzzles, playing games and answering my questions. In spite of the epic Reggeaton-sex vs. Church-celibacy battle that these teenagers are growing up with, I will try to create a solid, respectful and mixed group to work with this whole year.