Nick overcompensates for his womanly neck by greeting folks with a finger and a scowl.
Nick overcompensates for his womanly neck by greeting folks with a finger and a scowl.
The Toones hosted an excellent Halloween party for the Santa Julia girls tonight. It was a lot of fun. When they arrived, we dressed them up as princesses with make-up and tiaras. There were nearly 40 girls and lots of glitter, fabric and smiles. Next, they went to play games, then bob for apples, then get their fortune read (they were all happy to hear a boyfriend is in their near future), then dinner, then dancing, then piñata, then trick or treating! They were so happy. I was too. We all were. It’s really wonderful being around them. They give their love so easily. Reassurance, appreciation, understanding, is all they want back.
In other news, I’m looking forward to celebrating Day of the Dead this year. After visiting the cemetery tomorrow, I’m going to buy a sugar skull, a Catrina, and a sugar sheep and create an alter to remember loved ones who have died. I like the idea of taking a day to do this and that everyone participates. I also love the intricate sugar sculptures being sold all over town. They’re incredible.
Step right up, everyone’s a winner, bargains galore. You can be the proud owner of a kiss, a song, a dance, or juggling!
Three enterprising guys at Cervantino. The one of the left reminds me of a someone. A celebrity someone; but I can’t place him. Maybe it’s the hair color that’s throwing me off?
Guanajuato was absolutely fabulous. F and I had a great time at Cervantino despite the crush of exuberant and partially drunk young people on the streets which turned into completely inebriated Young & Dumb madness after midnight.
I was happy to find the madres in good spirits! They’re going through a sort of Golden Age at the orphanage right now and it shows in their faces. Some of the adolescent trouble makers of yesteryear turned 18 and moved out. Other girls who were going through a petulant stage grew out of it and are helping out more with the younger girls. The new girls that have joined are very sweet and easy to care for. Even more incredible are two American girls taking Spanish at one of the language institutes. They’re volunteering three hours, M-F, for 6 months! Their impact on the girls has been wonderful as they give the girls a much needed physical outlet during the afternoons and a break for the madres. Another godsend is the young social worker who began as a volunteer. She does everything from dirty laundry to home visits. Madre Lourdes hasn’t been able to pay her for four months but she keeps diligently showing up to work, putting her heart forward and creating a healthy and loving space for the girls.
Current headaches consist of two lesbian girls, 16 and 19 yrs, who the madres feel will corrupt some of the youngers ones and a new girl, 8 yrs, with a traumatic past who has not adjusted to the change of the convent. I’m sure Madre Lourdes will figure out both situations.
Fernando and I will be visiting Madre Lourdes and Guanajuato on Saturday. I have $700 USD to give her towards mattresses and pillows for the girls. That’s 7 mattresses down and 16 to go by Christmas. I can’t wait to see the look on her face. Also, I’m fortunate to be meeting some wonderful and generous people in the process of developing a Good Night Sleep fund for the orphans in Guanajuato.
María de Lourdes Núñez Santillan was about two seconds from losing it. She wished it were her Saint’s birthday so she could bite the hand that fed her and get away with it. She held back by fantasizing about getting a mohawk and dying her hair magenta. Meanwhile, she kept an eye on Ceci who definitely was losing it.
A week ago, Fernando and I were walking home. It was late and on our way, I noticed an old man. He had long white hair and was carrying heavy ceramic pots, the kind that would hold a large plant. He reminded me of Jesus on his way to Golgatha for he had the same pained expression I’ve seen many times in paintings. He was hunched over and dragging his steps. I imagined that his shoulders and back ached from the load.
We crossed the street and watched him. He must have been in his 70′s. He was skeletal with muscles wired along his thin arms. I couldn’t imagine being that old and carrying such a load. He still had to work for a living and I felt badly for him. We later learned that he was on his way to the bus station with his wares. Home was about 30 minutes away. He would have to come back again the next day and try again.
Anyway, the old man decided to rest on the sidewalk across from our front door. When we went out a few minutes later, there was a group of folks buying his heavy pots! They were loading their trunks and the smile on his face was incredible. I told F we should buy something too. We started thinking of someone we could gift a plant holder to as we walked over. Then I saw a beautiful glazed pitcher he had with him. It was gorgeous. I asked him how much he wanted for it. He told me since it was late, he would give me a special: 20 pesos ($1.57 USD). We gave him 50, happily, and walked away while his ceramics continued to evaporate into the hands of the crowd that had collected around him.
I’ve been admiring my pitcher ever since. Every time I look at it I think of that old man, rubbing his tired shoulders and walking to his bus with pesos in his pocket and a load that sold in less than ten minutes.
The City has started spraying pesticide in some of the San Miguel colonies. Dengue Fever (the infectious disease and not the Cambodian pop band which will be at Aladdin Theatre in Portland on the 20th!!) is on the rise thanks to climate change, migration and faltering mosquito-eradication efforts. According to one source I read, cases have increased by more than 600% in Mexico since 2001 and there have been folks diagnosed in the State of Guanajuato recently. Geez, I am not sure what’s worse: bus fumes or pesticide.
I went with Fernando to the Urban Development office today. It’s located on the perimeter of town and we squashed ourself into a packed bus to get there. As much as I don’t care for such close personal contact, I must say that I’m happy that the public transportation here gets A LOT of use.
On the way, we stopped off at the Civil Court for F to pick up something, but the woman told him to come back next week when the folks who can help him are back from their conference. I wondered why they opened when there is nobody to help?
We continued to Urban Development. F needed to show proof of paying bills at 30 Aparicio so that the electric company can install an electrical meter at that location. He planned on getting official documentation at the UD office and then taking it to the electrical company as they asked. I’m still trying to understand why he would need to do this. I have noticed that some streets have numbers out of order, or two of the same numbers. There can also be #72 on the left side and #45 on the right. So maybe there’s a reason to have proof of a proper number?
Anyway, we walked into the building and weren’t sure where to go. There was a nice man dispensing directional information and brochures. He took a look at us and proceeded to give me a pamphlet on preparing for the birth of your child by investing in their education. The brochure showed a very pregnant woman on the front. I am not sure why he gave me this. Sometimes I think I must walk around with a confused look on my face half the time. Fernando assured me the numerous times that I asked that no, I did not look pregnant.
We finally found where we were supposed to go for the official documentation. F was told the office closes at 4. It was 2:20 and they were closed. He’ll be going again tomorrow, hopefully with better luck. Me: I’ll be at immigration working on Part II of the FM3. Goodie.
The bus was even more crowded on the way back. For some reason, I was in a good mood.
Maybe it’s all the research I’ve been doing on human trafficking lately, but sex trade and other forms of slavery seem to be everywhere. It’s almost as if it’s reached a critical mass and is finally spilling over into public awareness. It’s my hope human trafficking will be prominently placed on the political agenda and everyday folks will find ways to take part in ending it and other forms of modern slavery.
In the meantime, if you’re lucky enough to live near a venue showing Call + Response, I encourage you to see it.
The fireworks here are over the top.
Heather asks if they kill the bull. Yes, yes they do. Fernando and I stayed for three massacres which were three too many. There were five bulls killed that day.
There is a sequence of events in a bullfight, or at least the ones we witnessed over the weekend.
In the beginning, there is much regalia as the court ushers in and a beautiful man rides a beautiful horse and waves to the crowd like a fairy princess.
Next, the door opens and an energetic, ill-tempered bull rages into the stadium. He’s certainly had better days and would rather be anywhere than here.
In the beginning, he runs around a lot, aiming towards the little men who tease him with their pink capes and then dart behind their posts. It annoys him while simultaneously tires him.
After the preliminaries, the Torero, or Bullfighter, makes his grand appearance. He is always young, good looking, and has a phenomenal backside. The Torero begins to Olé. The bull, seemingly under the spell of the cape, follows back and forth, back and forth. The Torero exhibits perfect posture and performs a sort of dance for Bullfighters, creating exquisite profiles and lines of kinesthetic poetry.
After some time of watching the bull olé the cape, it’s time to get to bloody business. This is where the death spectacle begins. An ominous pair enter the stadium: a blindfolded horse and its rider. The horse is armoured while the man carries a long spear.
The bull, seeing the horse, charges towards him. The rider hoists his spear and thrusts the spear into the spine of the bull, severely incapacitating him. If the bull makes for the horse again, he gets another thrust. It’s cruel and awkward. Stabbing a powerful, raging animal is never straightforward nor graceful. It subtracts from everyone’s dignity.
Once again, the Torero returns to the field for another round of olé. However, the bull is increasingly tired and is ready to quit. On this day, one of the bulls stood for a long time while the matador and little men coaxed him into moving again. Someone yelled from the stands that the bull wanted a beer instead.
But eventually, the two return to the cape dance and then it’s time for more stabbing. Two other men approach each holding a couple of small, decorated spears that they plunge into the spine of the bull.
By this time, the bull is ready to quit. But somehow, the Torero manages to get him going again.
At some point, the Torero thinks the bull has had enough and asks the orchestra to play dramatic music. As the music plays, the Torero raises his sword and waits for the bull to approach.
The bull passes for a final ole and receives a sword instead.
Then all mayhem breaks loose as the bull beings to run without purpose, bellowing confusion and pain.
There are only a few moments left now. The bull begins to stagger then slowly lowers himself to the ground. A vulturous crew gather round to watch the bull die and a final slash is dealt to the bull to put him out of his misery.
The Clydesdales perfunctorily trot out to the dead bull. They know the routine. The clean-up men tie the bull to the horses, rid the arena of the bull, and cover up the blood in preparation for the next fight.
The bull never had a chance.
In my dreams, I can see all the way to the Atlantic. The land stretches out before me in symbiotic tapestry, whole and unbroken. It breathes just as I breathe. They have taken our land and cattle, separated our families, attenuated our language, undermined our religion, and have cut us at our knees. But they will never displace our spirit as we breathe and live the land. The land retains memory from the earth womb and we remain sensitive to it for it is the generational fabric of our souls.