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We Are Angels, Also.

Cartagena residents criticize themselves for not having a sense belonging or pertinencia to their city. They recognize their lack of civic duty. Who has the time? People need to work and figure out how to get their next meal. It is survival of the fittest when lawlessness prevails. Corruption and poverty have beaten the belonging out of the people. However, there is one day when the city comes together: November 1st, All Saints' Day.  Angeles Somos (We Are Angels) allows all residents to have a purpose; to belong.

During Angeles Somos, children hit the streets with pots and pails in hand.  They stand outside homes and clang their kitchen wares with sticks like cowbells. When someone answers the door, they chant: 

Ángeles somos, del cielo venimos, pidiendo limosnas pa’ nosotros mismos.
 (We are angels who come from heaven, asking for your spare change for ourselves.) 
Cinco pesos pa' mi bolsillo.
(5 pesos for my pocket.)
No te mates, no te mates. Saca el dinero de escaparate.
(Don't worry. Don't  worry. Get the money from the closet.)
No te rías, no te rías, que la mochila está vacía.
(Don't laugh, Don't laugh. My bag is empty.)

The children are singing about money, but what they really want is a nice lunch. They accept meat, chicken, fish, yucca, ñame, potatoes, plantains, and any other ingredient of the traditional soup, sancocho. After a few hours of going door to door, the kids meet back on their blocks and compare their loot. Parents start a fire in an empty lot or yard to boil a large pot of water. All the donated ingredients are added. An hour or two later, the soup is shared with anyone who has a bowl or cup. The neighborhood is assembled with purpose.

Angeles Somos restores faith in the community. Humanity is given a chance. Children are taught they belong to the Heroic City of Cartagena. 

For more information in Spanish, read the article, "El ángel de ‘Ángeles Somos' " in El Universal.


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