Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Family Camping, Family Day Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks
Attending An Enjarre!
After hearing about it for several years, I had the opportunity to attend the Enjarre of St. Francis de Asis Mission Church
in Ranchos de Taos, NM this year. There were a number of visitors present, watching quietly as the beautiful old church was being restored. It was a humbling and spiritual experience.
On a hot sunny June Friday afternoon, I stopped by the church to view this amazing process first-hand. I noted at once that there were enjarradores and enjarradoras of all ages, from about four to sixty four. One entire crew was made up of women, working on one of the lower areas of the church, chatting and visiting together as they worked. They certainly seemed to have done this before. Another crew seemed to be a family; there was a father figure, several teen aged boys and two very young children, running around and squirting each other with the hose. They were clearly having a good time and even dad got a bit wet!
In the rear of the church, I found the masters of the mud. They had a pile of dirt that one was “sifting” through a screen, much as one would sift flour. As it went through the screen and was “cleaned”, it ended up in a trough containing straw. Another man with a hose was spraying water into the trough until the right consistency of the three ingredients was reached. The mixture was continuously stirred with shovels and when it was ready, it was loaded into wheelbarrows for delivery to one of the sites needing repair.
As it arrived at its destination, the wall or portion of the church being repaired was hosed down, then another enjarradorre scooped a large handful of the mud and slapped it on the area in an upward motion. When he had applied a sufficient amount to the area, another worker then stepped in with a trowel to smooth the mud into the correct shape. As one part of the church was completed, the crew moved on to the next area for repair.
I was quite impressed as I spoke with the mudder and the troweler. They were generous with both their time and their knowledge. They shared that it was very important to adhere to traditional methods to repair the church, adding that if they could use wire or re-bar instead of straw to strengthen the adobe, they would probably not have to repeat the process again. But, they added, it wouldn’t be right.
They also shared that they had many visitors helping with the enjarre. The day before, a large group from a college had come to help out for the day. They assured me that everyone was indeed welcome.
I took my leave after about an hour, quite moved by what I had seen. And I decided that next year if I am in the area the first two weeks in June and can make the time, I, too, will be an enjarradora. Is anybody with me?
To find a place to camp on your trip to New Mexico, browse Woodall’s listings of New Mexico Campgrounds.
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