Cultural Infusion by Isaac Dario

Being my first time in Kenya and very far from home I wanted to celebrate a traditional party from the jungle of Peru called "Saint John the Baptist's Day" or " Dia de San Juan", which is celebrated on 24th of June.  This year I celebrated with my friends, the Carmody family.

This celebration commemorates John the Baptist's life and death.  In Peru families usually spend the day on the beaches of the river, swimming and enjoying a traditional meal called the "JUANE".

This traditional meal is made with chicken, rice, olives, boiled eggs, cilantro and other ingredients which are all wrapped in a "BIJAO" leaf, then it is all boiled for one or two hours.  It is consumed during the party on the 24th.

The juane represent the head of St. John on a platter. Each ingredient represents a part of the head.  The olives represent the eyes.  The chicken represents the mouth.  The hard boiled eggs are his nose and the bijao leaf  represents the platter.

This year I prepared juanes with my friend Anna.  Here are some pictures of the process:

Anna picked the leaves in her compound.
We needed to put them over fire to make them soft.

I cleaned the leaves.

Anna and I cooked the rice with many other ingredients.

Next, we put the ingredients on the bijao leaf and rolled it up.

We tied the juanes and then they are
ready to cook.

We are boiling the juanes and we wait for two hours.

Click here to see a video of us celebrating this day:

This June I had the opportunity to celebrate my tradition of eating juanes here in Kenya. Since I came to Kenya I've seen this new culture and I have learned many things.  Here they also have traditional foods and celebrations.  Ugali, swkumawiki, giferi, and chapati are some of the traditional foods that I like.  I also noticed that the Masses here in Kenya are awesome.  The people dance with a big smile in their faces and when they sing I can feel how much they love God.  This was new for me because in Peru we don't dance in the church, so to see that kind of celebration in Mass was incredible.  I'm always open to learning new things and I know Kenya has many more wonderful traditions and I'm very excited to continue learning more of them and trying to be part of them.  I also want to help the people here to learn about my culture.  This helps us to understand each other more.

Thank you for reading about my Dia de San Juan celebration.
Isaac Dario

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