We were squished like sardines on a crowded bus for an hour. So we pulled out the camera and made silly faces to pass the time.
Archive for March, 2009
F & I had such a great visit with Bethany and Erik. My only regret was that they couldn’t stay longer. I was able to show them my favorite places in Guanajuato, have them over for dinner, interview a midwife with Bethany and then take her for a long walk, go out dancing, and finally spend the day together in Bernal.
It meant a lot to me that Bethany and Erik were able to come. I feel that Mexico is my home and that Bethany is my sister. So having her, someone so central to me and immediate for years, come and share the place that I love is core. It’s hard to put in words so I’ll just say that it nice to have those close to you share all your worlds.
This pic of Bethany’s sunburn and smile sums up our time here together.
Marshmellow and I used to walk to this point at the Botanical Garden and then turn around to go home. I loved this part of the preserve. There were many birds, islands of them. Our walk was a daily meditation, very peaceful, as our feet crunched the dirt beneath us and far away city noises carried over to us on the wind. We would pause at this gate a little bit before moving on.
Speaking of moving on: it was hard to let Marshmellow go. In fact, I asked for her back assuming that the trial had been for both of us. I should have been more clear about that. The family refused and Marshmellow is happily digging up their plants and enjoying a puppy friend. It’s all for the best, but I never knew I could get so attached to a puppy–this particular dog–in just two weeks. She’s certainly in a better place than where I found her. I tell this to myself when I think of her every hour.
In other news, Bethany and Erik are here! It’s superfantastic, as you can imagine, to share this place with them. I have the day filled with plans. Erik is going to run for 90 minutes. He’ll see this gate on his run today.
The twins have been at Buen Pastor almost two months. They came from the campo and had never been to school. At ten years old, they couldn’t read or write. But they’re quick learners. What’s more: they love school and doing their homework. They’re far behind other kids their age, but at least they’ve made it to the starting line and I’m guessing that given their academic enthusiasm, it won’t take long to catch up.
When I arrived at Buen Pastor yesterday, there were two women on massage tables and the cook was sitting on the couch. They were full of needles. Lori Wilson L.AC, M.AC. was administering acupuncture, prescribing Bach Flower essences, and updating their progress charts. I had heard a lot about Lori and have wanted to meet her for some time but our paths never crossed. Lori has been coming to Buen Pastor on Wednesdays for two years to treat the women, girls, and madres and has been instrumental in allieviating pain, anger, and depression in all three groups.
As she worked, we talked. I asked her how she came to know about Buen Pastor and why she does the work. It’s her passion, she told me. It’s where she wants to be and she’s excited about the progress she has seen. She pays for most of the needles and flower essences out of her own pocket, and only just recently has begun to look for funding and donations for her supplies.
When she found out I volunteered massage, she asked if I might work on one of the women who was complaining about her neck, and then another who was suffering from headaches, and then another with lower back pain. Soon enough, I was stationed at one of the tables following up Lori’s acupuncture treatment with a mini-massage. The modalities complimented one another and I loved being able to compare notes with Lori. We both knew the backgrounds of our patients and have the same perspective about healing and bodywork. Most of all, the women and girls respond to the treatment and love being worked on. It’s one of the rare moments someone focuses love and attention on them.
I plan on going back and teaming up with Lori every Wednesday. It’s such rewarding work. I also like to think of Madre Lourdes tucking in the girls at night and giving them their flower essences drops Lori has prescribed before kissing them on the forehead goodnight.
Sharon is writing a series for the local paper that profiles some of the students attending CASA’s midwifery school. CASA is the only program in the country that offers a professional degree, so it draws women from all of Mexico. I went along to translate and to learn more about the program.
The three women Sharon interviewed were incredible. One was from Chiapas, another from Veracruz, and the third from Puebla. Each woman had come from a long line of midwives and the torch had passed to them. They told us that midwifery is facing serious obstacles in Mexico. Apparently, there are turf wars and doctors consider the work of midwives to be of inferior quality even though midwives have been practicing their holistic trade for generations. The women fear incarceration as many midwives have been thrown in jail after complicated childbirths and unfortunate results were pinned on them. Midwives are willing to go wherever and whenever needed and often involve themselves in the health of the entire community, acting as educators and promoting preventative medicine.
These women told us that it’s very hard to get by financially. The program at CASA lasts for three years and then they complete a one year residency afterwards. They have no financial support and given the rigorous school schedule, it’s hard to fit in a job. One of the women is a single mother taking this journey with her son. She’s adamant, however, that this is what she must do. She also believes that her example will show other women in her community that they don’t have to remain stuck in poverty or in unfavorable conditions. They can use education as a way out and as a pathway to success.
I have so much admiration for these three women, each at different stages in their lives. Even though at times it seems impossible to continue, they aren’t letting anything stop them on their way to serve their community as professionals.
Marshmellow is on trial this weekend. She’s staying with a nice, big Mexican family. They’ll be able to give her lots of love, a home, a yard, stability and consistency. I hope she’s happy and they are too.
I, on the other hand, am miserable. I guess I really got attached to my little chillona, or cry baby as F liked to call her. Anyway, we’ll see how the weekend goes. I’m hoping the moon in Aquarius will foster an attitude of detachment and help me to see the logic of not keeping her and of placing her in a good home. But I’ll be so happy if for whatever reason, she doesn’t work out with this family and comes back to me. win-win
All the great questions come from a sincere desire to manifest destiny.
After putting my wish in writing and submitting it to Soulpancake yesterday, I went to the Volunteer Fair at the Biblioteca (Library) where I met a ton of fun, smart, and passionate people. I talked to Naomi about the El Charco del Ingenio, the Ecological Preservation Zone. I met the folks from CASA. They run a midwifery school, a maternity program, a daycare for single working moms, a library, offer sex ed, and more. They’re pretty incredible. I spoke to the SPA lady and learned that there are 50 dogs up for adoption. 16 of the dogs are puppies. They need folks to walk the dogs and socialize them. There were many more organizations represented: the school for the hearing imparied, I.R.E.E. and the SMA Rotary Club, to name a couple more.
As I made my way around, I was lucky enough to meet four women who were visiting from Guanajuato. They all knew Madre Lourdes and were looking to put a support group together to create change in GTO. There’s so much that happens in SMA; that kind of charitable energy is lacking in GTO. These women want to change that. They’re interested in the work of Buen Pastor. One of them, an educator from Arizona, wants to build libraries in rural communities, start a literacy program and a book mobile. As I talked to them, my hairs stood on end, thinking of the possibilities.
Marshmellow, worn out from the trails and the burrs.
We’ve had Marshmellow for two weeks now. She’s grown a lot! (Marshmellow is a girl, btw). She’s also slimmed down from our everyday walks. She’s no longer afraid of shade, pigeons, and cars. She’s learning to walk on my right side, negotiate stairs, and not bite my ankles. She stopped destroying the plants in F’s mother’s backyard. We’re working on not-jumping, socializing with other dogs, and chewing on toys–not F’s shoes and law books.
I still don’t know if I’m going to keep her. Keelin can’t take her the end of the month. I know that I can find a good person here to adopt her. I would love to keep this dog as she’s wonderful, but the timing is wrong. So, we’re taking it one day at a time and enjoying the trails in the meantime.
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
The phrase I pasted into Wordle is a favorite of mine from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.
I beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language, don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything, live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Wordle could be a fun and simple way to add images to text or advertise a service.
Last night, there were five old women sitting with their backs to the wall so that they could all face a giant Virgin de Guadalupe painted on the opposite side. They were praying to her, quickly and softly. Their collective voice had the cadence and hum of a beehive. It was comforting. I would have liked to have sat and listened for awhile as I turned the corner. But I was in a hurry to hear the Cuban music playing in the jardin.
I always pause at this fence. I wonder who the architect was and if s/he ever heard of webs spun by spiders on caffeine. Was it intentionally built as if the designer had amnesia and forgot what s/he was constructing with every new board application? Or was this more of a jigsaw puzzle built from pieces of disparate games? Surely, it can’t just be a fence. What would it keep out? What could it hold inside? Is it a statement of ownership… My property begins here?
I actually like this fence and could see myself building one similar to it if I ever had need of a fence. I would include bed springs, piano strings, and hubcaps.
Last night, F and I took Marshmellow for a long walk. Our destination was a pet store owned by a friend of F’s. I wanted to buy Marshmellow some toys for his new crate that he’s getting used to. As we walked, the night was permeated with the smell of flowers, one in particular that I wish I knew the name of. It was as if the evening put on a full moon and poured the most glorious perfume on her skin. Everyone seemed to be out on their stoops, or buying tacos on the streets. Folks were punctuated in crowds along the streets with the occasional stray dog peered out through the weeds of legs waiting for scraps.
Lorana, the woman at the pet store, was gracious in helping me pick out toys and switching dog food to a more economical brand. She talked dog food as if she had made it herself. She asked about M’s vaccinations and socialization. I’m beginning to find that dog people are a truly wonderful group. So many of them have stopped to chat, advise and encourage. I’ve welcomed all of it.
On the way home, we sat in the jardin. It was close to 9:30PM and there was an orchestra playing. The jardin was filled with reverent listeners. The music was ethereal and sad, creating a somber yet tender atmosphere in the jardin. As I sat there with F, Marshmellow played with a new toy at our feet. I felt as throughout the evening, I had been graced by paradise. She had visited us in sweet minutiae.
I just wanted to mention how grateful I am to all of you who called and emailed yesterday on my birthday. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.