Dressed for the occasion



Girls in colourful costumes

Abandoned bull-fighting ring in Colonia, Uruguay

Abandoned bull-fighting ring in Colonia, Uruguay







It was a grand affair. Colour, dance and serious young men. Oh yeah, and a play with sets. National pride is a strange thing. Some countries feel the need to scream out their patriotism.

A few weeks ago, St. Ethnea College celebrated Government Day, 25th May 1810 inauguration.

Here in Argentina, the people love their flag and country with a passion. Many people wear a flag pinned on their clothing. Shops display a flag near the counter. Schools start the day with the hoisting of the flag. Each week, just once a week, St. Ethnea plays the National Anthem to accompany the flag raising. Teachers and….. some students sing in full voice.

The main street of Buenos Aires, Avenida 9 de Julio, the date of their independence, is a testimony to their national pride. It is the largest avenue in the world.

On this day, Government Day, the children of St. Ethnea came to celebrate in colourful costumes and with dancing. I loved the play. I really loved my friend Ale’s daughter’s performance. Cata was to clear the silverware from a dinner table. Well she did that all right, unceremoniously dumping the silverware into a labelled plastic shopping bag. Whoops!!

Ale squirmed but was still maternally proud of the performance of her little princess.

The girls were wonderfully enthusiastic in their dancing – the boys terribly serious.The whole school was watching.The audience had seen it many times before but I could see the smiles and a quiet pride on their faces. They were moved by the simple production.

Ask any Argentinian and they will tell you that first government has been the only government that was worth a damn. The others have robbed them dry. Their country, which they love so very deeply, is both First World and Third World living side by side.

It hurts. It is so terribly painful for them. They are a very proud people. Social occasions inevitably end in political conversations and many become teary-eyed when speaking of their longing for an honest government.

Last weekend I went to Colonia, Uruguay with two families who are our dear new friends.

We hooned around the old Portuguese slave/pirate town in golf buggies (I only wish I had remembered the walkie-talkies that day). We discovered an old abandoned Bullfighting Ring with the best acoustics I have ever heard.

As we were about to leave the centre of the arena, Jordi, my 8 year old little pixie of a friend, started singing full voice,

“I can’t get no satisfaction”

Incredible!!!!! He really rocked!!

The acoustics were mind blowing. Jordi’s singing was passionate. His little pixie face contorted and strained with the hard rock within.

I loved his next line, “But I drive, but I drive, but I drive…….. I can’t get no……….. satisfaction!”

……..Bullfighting, slaves, pirates and the Rolling Stones. Oh yeah……..and golf buggies.

Argentina!!! Well, Uruguay really.

A great day as always.

I will never forget that rendition of the Rolling Stones sung by little Jordi in his second language. A language that he speaks so very well. I will never forget that rendition, as his voice resonated around that Bullfighting arena.

He seemed to be speaking for his fellow countrymen. Argentina can’t get ‘no satisfaction’ from their governments either. But they celebrate Government Day every year. They long for an honest government, a government that will lead them out of their difficult circumstances. Until that day, they’ll celebrate Government Day with a tear not so far away.

I hope Jordi, that you one day find satisfaction where it really matters, in good government.


te mando un beso,