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Archive for October, 2009
A few of my favorite things are all together in once place: Edward Norton, conservation, running, Maasia Warrior runners, NY Marathon, training, excellent web design, and inspirational fundraising. This website is phenomenal. It includes great overview of the project, videos throughout, photos, running for a cause, easy to track pledges, and Edward Norton. Good luck to the Maasai Marathon team this Sunday!
Last night, Plaza del Baratillo thundered with the booming sound of 16-member mariachi band, Mariachi Imperial de Nochistlán. It felt like a tsunami of sound, reverberating off the colorful walls of the square. “Mariachi, la musica mas bella del mundo”, announced the lead singer as he plunged into a love song that brought cheers from the crowd. I don’t know about the most beautiful, but I do think it’s the most joyful. Everyone clapped and sang along. There were a few dancers and drinkers too.
The streets are packed. In every square, you’ll find a band performing or theatrics. There are clowns, mimes, and silver men dotting the street in front of the Basilica like buttons. Folks are wearing glow in the dark stars on their heads. Groups of adolescents walk hand in hand singing. When I was walking back from Sara’s the other night, there was a ferris wheel with acrobats performing as it turned and fireworks broke out above them. They were accompanied by a band on wheels playing space music. It was sprinkling. I experienced a Fellini moment.
Buen Pastor welcomes four new girls! The two-pairs of sisters, Citlali & Pearlita and Gabby & Alejandra, arrived last Thursday. At 3 years old, Alejandra is the youngest (and sweetest) and everyone loves to baby her. Alejandra and Gabby are from Chiapas. Their mother went through the rehabilitation process at Buen Pastor’s shelter awhile back. Since then, she’s relocated to GTO and found work and housing. However, since she’s working most of the time, there’s nobody to stay with her daughters. So now they’re at Buen Pastor. All the new girls are wonderful. But Madre Berta certainly has her hands full!
In other news, after spending a sweet afternoon together, Sara and I went to Cirque Eloize last night. The show was mesmerizing and we sat spellbound for two hours. The fantastical Nebbia mixed elements of ballet, opera, circus, vaudeville, employing gorgeous silhouttes at one moment, smoke and dreams in the other. Every moment fringed with beautifully balanced chaos. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much talent on one stage. Sharing this with Sara made it all the more special.
As I stairway up to Pipila, I take a moment to listen to the heartbeat of Guanajuato. The entire City pulses and vibrates. The colors breathe. Each neighborhood feels like its own, discrete system. The roads, like veins and arteries, bring traffic to the heart of the City and then back out again. Its energy flows through me.
Tell her how you feel with paint.
Last night as we were going to sleep, F and I gave thanks for what we are incredibly grateful for:
- Our new mattress. No more feeling rod springs as we sleep and getting up with achy backs in the mornings.
- Our new washer. No more paying to get a load cleaned or washing by hand!
- My new job: I love my bosses and my work. I’m so grateful for the security that the salary brings.
- Guanajuato: living in a place we love
- My new desk: we bought varnish last night to pretty her up.
- The fridge: we have one!
- An extra mini-room to turn into a massage space
- The view from our place
- Plenty of closet space
- Each other
It’s not easy starting from scratch when you’ve already built a life and a home. But if you’re not happy, it’s worth it. When I disassembled my life in the States and left for Mexico in July 2008, I honestly didn’t know if I could stay or how things would work out. But I’m so glad that I waited it out and followed my inner compass that told me to stay.
These days, I’m absolutely thrilled to be working and have a job that I enjoy. A foundation is forming, allowing me to start rebuilding a home in a City that enchants me, in a community that has embraced me, and with the person I love. Here’s to going for it!
Thanks to some very special folks, the Picture Book fund drive was a huge success. I was able to more than double our library. The girls love to read. They sit in groups and read to one another. Others, like Karen, walk their books, reading alone. They go through each one of the books, and then start over again. I always bring five with me so I can keep an eye on them. Madre Berta reminds the girls to treat the books with care as they are a treasure.
Thanks to some very generous Raindogs, there is money left over. During the fund drive, I found out two of the girls need glasses. I talked to Tere about it and her friend, an optometrist, is going to help us out. We’re hoping that he can examine all 29 girls for free in return for purchasing frames. We have enough money to give four girls the gift of vision.
Last weekend, as Liova and I toured the callejones, we wondered why all the City’s roosters were crowing at 1:30PM.
It’s day two of Cervantino, Guanajuato’s cultural buffett. The town has turned international and for three weeks, visitors and Guanajuatenses alike will be treated to dance, music, and art from around the world. In celebration of opening day, fireworks lit the skies last night. F and I admired the lines and lights from our new home, high up in the hills. Looking out over the City and admiring the Buffa lit up like a special effect, I fell in love with Guanajuato just a little bit more.
I’ll be spending today with Liova apartment hunting. Liova, a new friend, has lived in Guanajuato all her life. She knows the callejones like the back of her hand. When I went with her once before, she knocked on doors and called up to people in their windows to ask what’s for rent on their street. She fun, fearless, and can out walk/hike me anyday. In preparation, I’ve drank two thermoses of maté and filled up on bananas. It’s going to be a great day.
I’ve been teaching Madre Patti English using Postsecrets. After this morning’s lesson, where she learned how to properly pronounce “Kiss my Ass”, we both decided that we should use the word “wonderful” more often. So I’ll begin here…
I had a wonderful afternoon with the girls yesterday. When I came over to help with homework, I found that a few of the primerias were studying sexual reproduction. They were in the middle of drawing male anatomy and then needed to identify various structures by filling them in with clay. They asked for my help and I spent the next hour or so helping them identify parts of the male sexual organ. It was weird.
Afterwards I pulled out some of the new books and enjoyed watching the girls with them. Some read to themselves. Some read to the little ones. Most like to read in groups. I’ll write more of the books, book fair, and reading in another post.
The big news of the day, was that it was Dani’s birthday. Dani is a very special girl who holds great promise. She’s the strong, silent type. And she loves to read. The girls and madres celebrated with cake and singing. I told Dani for her birthday, her fairygodmother had sent her a sponsor… a kind and generous woman who will watch over Dani’s progress in school. Dani was so happy. This means a lot to a girl, especially one like her who takes school seriously.
Later in the evening, Danelli, another girl, showed me her Zac Efron file and then quizzed me on many Hollywood personalities and what I thought of them. Paris Hilton. Beyonce. The Jonas Brothers, and so forth. Other girls sat and listened. I combed their hair, helped them with their homework, and told them the English word for the Spanish word they wanted to learn in English.
After awhile, Madre Lourdes came and held a raffle. The winner recieved a framed Infant of Prague. I noticed the silver frame read an alternating MOM and then DAD on the sides. Madre Lourdes also talked about gratitude and why it’s so important. The girls listened to her, spellbound. I did too. She teaches them so many things, and in such a lovely manner. Madre Lourdes told the girls she was going to start recognizing excellent behavior by awarding a primeria and secundaria girl every month with a prize. She gave out new, packaged pajamas to this month’s winners.
It was getting late and the sun had long gone down. Some of the girls were rollerblading outside in their pajamas. Others were sitting in a circle around Madre Lourdes playing guitar. There was a feeling of community and contentedness. Most importantly, I guess, was this warm understanding of belonging. Even though the madres and the girls lack many things, there is abundant love at Buen Pastor. It’s wonderful.
A listening heart grounds suffering.
F and I spent a long time last night looking at mattresses. Does brand really matter?
F and I plan to look at places to rent today. We’ve marked up The Chopper and are ready for a day of exploration in the alleys of Guanajuato. I think we’ll start on the street Perros Muertos or Dead Dogs. Or maybe we should end there.
I was hired yesterday to develop user manuals, optimize website functionality, and provide customer support for a software company based out of Boulder, Colorado. This position aligns closely with the work I did at the library. My first day of work is October 12! It’s a part-time job, 20-25 hours a week.
Fortunately, since it’s part-time, I’ll be able to spend an entire day every week at Buen Pastor giving massage, English lessons, and reading to the girls. I will have to be focused and structured to fit everything in, but I appreciate focus and structure.
I’m also very happy about this position because the people I’ll be working with are fantastic. I feel so lucky we’ve crossed paths.
Finally, it will be so nice to earn a salary which will allow F and I to rent a place of our own and feel as though there is some kind of stability to our lives.
Investing in adolescent girls is precisely the catalyst poor countries need to break intergenerational poverty and to create a better distribution of income. Investing in them is not only fair, it is a smart economic move.
Robert B. Zoellick, President, World Bank