Posadas are a traditional Catholic Mexican Celebration of the Nativity. The posadas take place nine days before Christmas Eve to represent the nine days in which Joseph and Mary where looking for lodging before Mary gave birth to Jesus. Posadas are celebrated in the house of a different relative or friend on each of the nine days. The hosts of the posada represent the innkeepers and the guests represent Mary and Joseph, trying to find a place to stay. Traditionally, the guests ask for lodging on three different houses, but only the third one will let them in. That is the house where the posada takes place. During posadas people pray the rosary and have piñatas for the children.
This year, we were honored to be invited to many of the posadas organized by farm worker organizations throughout Florida. Unfortunately, we could not attend all of them, but thanks to the generosity of our supporters and members we were able to collect Christmas presents for the posadas celebrated at the Homestead and Fellsmere offices of the Farm Worker Association of Florida and the posada organized by the Alliance of Active Women in Seville.
Our group decided to attend the posada in Fellsmere because in our October trip to Fellsmere we promised to bring bikes for the children of the community and the posada was a great opportunity to deliver these bikes!
We would like to thank:
- Yolanda, FWAF organizer, and all of the members of the community of Fellsmere for allowing us to share this special occasion with them. We had a great time and we hope that we can continue to work in solidarity with everyone in the community.
- The Aguilar family from Orlando for their generosity and for taking the time to go to Fellsmere with us!
- All of the people that have donated bicycles in this last years
- All the volunteers that have worked with us fixing bikes. Especially Trent the bike mechanic, who was able to help us work on bikes even in the frigid weather (I hope we can work with you again because you are definitively down for the cause). Also special thanks to Papa Aulisio and Robert for fixing bikes; we are grateful for your help.
- The congregations and women’s groups who donate school kits to NFWM for the children in farm worker communities. During this posada, we delivered 100 school kits! Thank you for your generosity!
- Special thanks to our friend and ally Josh L. for his unwavering support and for allowing us to use his truck to transport the bikes
- Nadia Garzon for all her help in storing and providing a workspace for the bikes
- Everyone who has supported this project in one way or the other. We have delivered more than 350 bikes thanks to your support. If you would like to help us continue our work (transportation, bike parts and gas are expensive!) please consider making an on-line tax deductible donation. Make sure that you type designation: bike project.
We finally made it back to Fellsmere to make good on our promise to bring ten bikes for their annual Christmas Posada. I was very unsure of the success of this adventure until the very last minute when everything seemed to fall into place. Thankfully we were able to find a suitable vehicle to transport the bicycles which we were fixing up until the very last minute. Without the help and trust of good friends and allies these things would never happen.
When we arrived at the community center we giving a special introduction by Yolanda, a warm and charismatic organizer for the Farm Worker Association.
I was happy to invited back to Fellsmere and it was good to see the familiar faces of people we had met on our last immersion trip. We spent time playing games with the kids amid smells of delicious food and sights and sounds of lively festivities. There was even a singer and a puppet show!
After dinner and before the epic piñata event, we gave 20 bikes out to families and children, one by one in a very relaxed and casual manner. It was nice getting to talk to each kid and to each adult before setting them up with the right bike for them. With few minor exceptions, everyone received a bike that was appropriate for their age and build: a miracle in my opinion. We even had a few extras to give away.
Even though this delivery was more about fun and Christmas cheer than about organizing, I still think that it was worth while to reconnect with the workers and organizers in Fellsmere; they are a very inspiring bunch of people. It was a pleasure to talk to some of the younger organizers and to hear their stories and to listen to their insights about the farm worker movement past and present. I look forward to keeping in touch with them and I definitely want to come back soon to help with the community garden project!
(Photos courtesy of Juan Barredo)