A stage was brought and built in near the beach. Garifuna dance and music groups from nearby towns came for the celebrations. Flocks of seagull children came for field-trips from the city. For the most part of the day the organizers waited for the president of Honduras, while they read excerpts or whole articles about Garifuna history, advances and demands to the government. Finally the president arrived, spoke a few words and danced awkwardly to punta beats. Nation-wide news-channels and small local networks had their cameras on this main stage, and they were all missing the real thing.
At each corner of town, away from the sounds of the stage, men played complementary drums, maracas, turtle and conch shells. They sang, and most people walking by knew the songs and joined them sporadically. People made an intuitive circle around these musicians, and dancers took turns walking in the circle and leading the beat of the drums. The drummers followed the dancer’s footsteps, anticipating their stomps on the sand. The better dancers wore white masks and very colorful clothes. They walked from circle to circle, weaving their way around people, bursting into dance and color, then moving on to greener rhythms. Today they celebrated the 213th year after their exodus to the shores of Central America. But it didn’t happen on-stage. It happened under small palm-roofs shacks, where the river meets the sea at Sambo Creek.
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