By: Jennifer Aquino Rodríguez
Many people spend all year waiting with great excitement for the traditional festival Cinco dias con Nuestra Tierra. The idea of this festival emerged in 1997 by a group of students and agricultural science teachers who wanted to promote learning about agricultural education. This festival took place from March 13 to March 17 at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. According to the official website of the agricultural science faculty, one of the primary objectives of this festival is to develop recreational and cultural activities aimed at the entertainment and development of the Puerto Rican youth.
Days before this big event begins, we can see the assembly of tents, stage, group work and collaboration of many students and professionals. The preparation for this event is very difficult and requires hard work because it involves an extensive organization for the enjoyment of the public.
This event is open to all public. It has always the visit of students from different schools and universities, parents, familiars, and other people from different parts of Puerto Rico. They all have one thing in common: they came to have a good time. Children were having a lot of fun. There were a lot of activities especially for them. They could have a pony ride, feed some of the animals, and go to the bungee jumping where they could jump all day.
“Cinco dias con Nuestra Tierra” had a large exhibition of animals. Among them were the cows, horses, rabbits, chickens, goats and pigs. All were properly located in a safe place and with the monitoring of students who collaborated. Many students were taking pictures with the animals; others drew and some just watched. The animals scared many of the children. The best thing about working at the petting zoo was helping and teaching kids that animals are defenseless creatures that need our help and love,” Ishtar v. Rosado said.
There were also a variety of places to eat. It was like a food station where you could find “pinchos, bacalaitos, alcapurrias, rellenos de papa, tripletas, frappes, jugos naturales, papas asadas, bowls de ana-itas rellenoss de pollo, sorullitos, etc. There was food for everyone.
Not only children were able to have fun and enjoy “Cinco dias con nuestra Tierra”. Adults could also relax in the massage area where professionals helped them to lower the tension and stress. There was also an area for earthquake simulation that shows people what they need to do during this natural event. In addition to all these, they had a complete sales area where they could go see crafts and shop around.
Some of the things we could find there were shirts made by students themselves. For example, a student organization called FEBE was selling tie dye shirts at the festival. “We had everything set two weeks before the festival, sales were slow the first two days, it was hard work, but at the end it was all worth it,” said Julio A. Velez, treasurer of the student organization FEBE.
There were also handmade soaps, candles, clothing, pictures, shoes and photos of places in Puerto Rico. Besides these, there was a place for henna tattoos and hair macramé. “At the henna tattoo table, you could see many pictures of the designs that have been created. I really like them and in only five minutes the woman made me the 15 dollars tattoo,” said Jenniffer Acosta, a human resources student at the UPRM.
Another very important thing is the music. All festivals or events have a variety of music and “Cinco dias con nuestra Tierra” was no exception. A group formed in the mid-90’ by Javier Gomez and Nabeel Abdulrahman from Quebradillas, Viva Nativa, presented their poprock music. They have worked in international markets in Mexico, Argentina and Spain. Some of the other great music that people encountered there were juke box doing a tribute to the Beatles and there was also a tribute to Ednita Nazario.
“Cinco dias con nuestra Tierra” has its side of great entertainment, delicious food and good music but it also has its educational side which intent to impress upon people the importance of knowing about the note treatment of animals and plants. Another student organization called AEHORT contributed to the teaching of agriculture. “Basically the organization focused on selling plants and explaining to people how the acuaponics food production system works, its function and economic advantages,” said Keith Marie a member of AEHORT.