Semana santa or “holy week” has come and gone. All that’s left from it is the mountain of chipa left on my kitchen table given to me by the preschool kids, my neighbors, my host family, everyone really.
What is chipa? It’s a type of cheesy-yucca flour-cornflour bread that you can find on most long distance buses and at most bus terminals here. My old Guarambare host family used to get it often as an afternoon snack and I used to think it tasted and had the texture a lot like sand. Now, I’ve come to expect it on my bus rides to and from the capital. The end of training was the first time I thought “mmmm, what is that smell?” and bought and enjoyed one on my own. It was also the first time I thought, OK Paraguay, I can do this.
Now, I only have one rule for chipa: it better be hot. Cold, it’s hard and crumbly and still reminds me of sand. Unfortunately I have a lot of rock-hard, week-old chipa left over.
Here are some pictures of how it’s made. The pictures are from last year, which is why still have really short hair and (WHAT?) a manicure in them.
Easter’s a little different here. We get Wednesday through Sunday off at school. Wednesday everyone’s up at the crack of dawn to make chipa. Some of the kids make fun shapes out of them like chicks, fish and other animals. Thursday, everyone makes enough food to feed an army (kind of like Thanksgiving) and chills out in a post-food-coma with family. Friday, nothing but church happens. Sunday is very low-key compared to Easter Sunday in the states.
Easter was also my birthday. Two neighbors and one PCV neighbor made me cake. Death by cake. I guess it’s time to start training for that half marathon… oufff.
That is semana santa in cliff notes. Now all I have to do is figure out how I’m going to get rid of all the chipa I was gifted… My options are buckle down and eat it, try to feed it to my dog, compost it (discreetly).