Continuing from the I W C party we headed out to the Barrio de San Cristobal where Joanna had told us the big event of Our Lady of Guadalupe runners (antorchistas ) would finally finish their journey. Runners from all over Mexico make their way down for this special celebrations and thanks giving to Guadalupe.
Joanna informed us that we were going to sing the Guadalupana song as a group and the leader would carry the banner that Joanna had had specially made.
We were all given the sheet music and a practice season was held on the street before we headed off walking 5 or more blocks in the direction of the church.
The night was warm and humid, as rain had fallen earlier , with a kind of excitement in the air. The excitement built up the closer we got to the throngs of people and the packed church . The colours of red, white and green were prevalent amongst the crowd and the church standing tall and erect glowed the same colours .Food stalls were everywhere as too the bikes,the runners and flowers .
The small group of us stood in front of the church and started to sing… it must have been quite a spectacle for the crowd to watch a group of mostly foreigners taking up the pledge… photos were being taken from all sides, cameras and cell phones clicking simultaneously as we continued our singing.We tried to enter the church at the front but were told to go around the side and enter the church from there.Hoards of runners were everywhere some still arriving , chanting on the street whilst people clapped for encouragement .
Needless to say the church was packed and we could not enter straight away… We decided to do a walkabout but then I spied an outdoor altar adorned with the statue of Guadalupe and Juan Diego , with lots of flowers.After taking photos and more singing joined by a guitar player in a wheel chair we continued arousing curiosity . We walked further along where along with more runners … the blue team …we were blest with holy water.
We walked around the back of the church past the huge eating area for the runners and entered through another gate where we finally entered the church.
It was for me a special evening , people happy , some very tired, but all managed a smile when asked and from where did you come from.One team had begun their journey on the 23 November from Michoacan . Four young boys , no bikes, no supporters, no truck to follow them to give them shelter.I am sure they will be welcomed back as heroes .And most probably they will do it again next year….