Friday morning we took Elder Butler back to Fajardo and then turned around and returned to Vieques. Each way is about 65 minutes if you get the fast boat. The slow boat takes about 90 minutes. Because of the rainy and windy weather we've been having the seas were again pretty choppy so Dramamine saved Elder Button, but made him groggy the whole rest of the day. Here is a picture of the Lighthouse at Vieques taken from the launcha as we were pulling back into port. As you can see there are decorations saying Welcome to Vieques.
That is because Wednesday through Sunday Vieques celebrated the Fiestas Patronales. This is a community celebration originating from the Catholic tradition of honoring various saints. This week they were celebrating the saint of the fisherman (I think it was St. Carmen). The celebrations started in the mid-afternoon continuing into the evening. For the first few days it was relatively well organized and somewhat family oriented, at least in the afternoons. At night the drinking, loud music and fireworks started. But starting Friday night through Sunday, the alcohol and partying in the streets really increased. The climax was this afternoon where they had a big parade with people dressed up in costumes and bands. In the middle of the parade it started to rain ferociously and continued for almost an hour. This picture was taken from our house looking through the fence to the street where the parade was happening:
We are happy that it is now over. The traffic has been terrible and the people have been pretty much unavailable to be visited or taught. We had an appointment to help the Elders teach a family this afternoon but couldn't get there in our car because of the parade. So we decided to walk over to the Elders apartment. Sister Button didn't want to go because of all the drinking that was going on. She was right. As we walked through the streets we felt uncomfortable and at risk for the first time while we have been in Puerto Rico. People were pretty rude and very drunk. We decided to return home by a different route. While we did we came upon this mother hen and her little chicks. She was trying to shelter them from the rain. We feel like that with the people we are working with - trying to teach them and protect them from the things that the world believes will bring happiness, that really only brings sorrow and pain. We feel the sorrow in the Savior's words in 3 Nephi 10:4 -5 "O ye people ...who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you...yea, O ye people of the house of Israel who have fallen, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not."