If you could paint your trim any color, what would it be?
If you could paint your trim any color, what would it be?
It’s been nice having Keelin here. Friday night, her five friends and I went out to a local salsa bar and I attempted to give the guys a few salsa tips. Learning salsa is like learning a language: you don’t learn it in the classroom, but by practicing over and over again, and all the time on the dance floor. Marcus was there too and later assured me he will never dance.
The following night, Marcus and I went to Isang’s birthday party on the terrace. A lot of the folks at her hostal are leaving, so it was a combined Birthday slash Going Away, which is the nature of Guanajuato: celebrations in the midst of arrivals and departures. Our group headed to La Dama afterwards where we were joined by F. I enjoyed watching Marcus take in the joy of dance while he observed couples completely absorbed in the moment. Dancing, like surfing or art or anything that envelopes, is a meditation of bliss.
I look forward to spending this afternoon and evening with Keelin. It’s her last day in Guanajuato before she heads back to home and to school. Time goes by too quickly.
Yesterday, Katie, Beca, and I introduced the Adobe Youth Voices to the girls. The project begins when the girls get back from Spring Break and finishes the end of May. Every week will build on the last. We will be introducing the girls to photography, story telling, production, video, audio and helping them build a multimedia project with their newly acquired skills.
For the first session, we wanted to give them a feel for the class and what they could expect. We designed an activity that recruited all five senses and asked that they look at familiar surroundings with a new eye. Here’s the assignment we gave them:
We, the HaHaHooHoos, are visiting from the planet HaHoo a planet of ice and sky and no noise or music. There is no language spoken and we get our energy soley from the cold ice and sun. So We’ve landed in Guanajuato to explore the city and discover what makes it special. We only have 15 minutes before the spaceship leaves Guanajuato and returns to planet HaHoo. Each of us must observe and describe in writing what we see so that the Council of HaHoo elders can decide whether to create a HaHoo vacation colony here.
TASK: Imagine coming from planet HaHoo where there are no trees, colors, or noise and then arriving in Guanajuato. Your assignment is to be as descriptive and specific about the details you are observing so that your fellow HaHaHooians can get a good sense of Guanajuato and if they should move there. Use your 5 senses to write your description: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
We sat and observed for 15 minutes on the steps of the Santuario. Afterwards, we went back and the girls shared their observations. A few addresses to the HaHaHooHoo Council, like Luz Elena’s, were particularly animated. I’m looking forward to working with such a great bunch of sweet, creative girls. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
See 12 more images here, a short slideshow of the girls working on their assignment.
An environmental expo is taking place in San Miguel this weekend. F is there, learning more about solar energy and working at one of the booths. I visited yesterday and was impressed with all the work going on in sustainable energy including composting, dry toilets, water harvesting, solar, and organic farming. There is another movement to create jobs in the campo so that young people have work and don’t have to migrate to the city. Families can hold on to their land instead of selling it for a fraction of what it’s worth. There was a dairy company that provides organic food for their cows. I’ve never tasted better cheese! They convert methane into energy and provide tours to teach people about their process and nutrition. I left feeling inspired and hopeful.
I could do this: hang wide strips of 1 part corrugated tin + 1 part paper-mâché so they just touch, as if they’re sharing a clothes pin.
In other news:
If you’re walking from Santa Rosa to Guanajuato, you’ll find this old, what seems to be abandoned, mining town just before entering the small town of Mineral de Monte. The only movement I saw when I was here was the wind blowing a line of clothes hung up to dry.
All attempts at getting F to hike up to El Faro (lighthouse) with me have been unsuccessful. I’ve been wanting to go for a long time now, as I’ve seen this landmark on almost every one of my hikes. So yesterday, instead of going to the Bufa, Beca and I decided to go to El Faro instead.
The hike was a lot of fun and it was great learning more about Beca who I have been teaming up with on the Adobe Youth Voices Project. Among many other things (and interesting life experiences), Beca is a photographer. I enjoyed going out with her and shooting El Faro and us jumping in front of it.
I have this same chair at home. It’s red. It’s my work chair.
Things are working out very well with the new learning lab. After F created a schedule and structure was put in place, all the girls have a chance to use the software and brush up on their math, English, and/or brain teasers. When I saw Madre Lourdes on Tuesday, she told me that she threatened the girls with no computer time if they didn’t do whatever it was at the time they were supposed to be doing. It worked!
The Rotary Club of Ashland, Oregon, sent enough money for two more computers. F will be installing those next week. We’re also looking for a cabinet to keep our growing library in. At the moment, we have 40 books. Friday’s luncheon in San Miguel will bring in another 30 books! Madre Lourdes is taking her guitar to sing to the ladies.
On Friday, I headed to San Miguel de Allende to spend some time with my good friends, John and Sharon. All of us wanted to learn more about Computadoras Pro Jovenes, a group that refurbishes used computers and then distributes them to students and organizations in need. Bill Curra, the founder of CPJ, was kind enough to guide us through the system, both in San Miguel and Dolores Hidalgo.
The computers first go to the group in San Miguel where a group of dedicated volunteers verify the serviceability of the units. If they can be used, they go to Universidad Technologica Norte Guanajuato (UTNG) in Dolores Hidalgo where their computer department installs Spanish operational systems and Microsoft software in Spanish. Then the computers come back to San Miguel where CPJ volunteers install educational software. Volunteer mentors then take the computers to schools or to disadvantaged children/students. The mentors work with the recipients to make sure the systems are properly installed and assist in their utilization and maintenance. It’s a fantastic program which all started with the donation of one computer.
On Saturday, John, Sharon, and I headed to Querétaro to buy books at Gandhi. John and Sharon are organizing a book drive for the girls at Buen Pastor on March 12th. 30 girls, 30 books. We’ve collected a wish list of titles by researching online and soliciting the help of young Mexican women, including one of the bloggers at Smart Girls Read. Mariana, of Smart Girls Read, donated four classics from her own collection along with an excellent list divided by age group.
So we went to Gandhi and it felt so good being in a huge bookstore again. I miss the smell of print and shelf after shelf filled with books all categorized and waiting to be held, reviewed, and possibly purchased. We went upstairs to the juvenile section and found 12 of the books on our list.
Back in San Miguel, we went to Telecote bookstore and picked up six books from the much loved Bilingual Fairy Tale series. We found three more books in another bookstore: two Olivias! and Mercer Mayers classic, There’s a Nightmare in my Closet.
Joy swept over me as I looked over the books and thought of reading to the girls. I thought of the opportunities our little library will create for volunteers, as they sit in the middle of two girls eager for another book. And I thought how wonderful it is to have generous friends like John and Sharon who want to make this happen too, and have done so by bringing their friends into the picture and telling them about reading at Buen Pastor.
Keelin no longer needs Marly’s old driver’s license. Nothing like having two daughters who can legally drink to make a mother feel her age.
The colors are so vibrant here, you need flowers on your eyelashes to gaze directly upon the walls. The Madres and I admired this orange/blue with birdcage ensemble as we were leaving Santa Rosa. That’s the nun van full of our turned-heads reflected in the most Windexed-of-all windows.
As I emerged from layers of sleep this morning, I couldn’t remember where I was. I kept deselecting possible places from dreams, half remembered bits and pieces I had lived in other times. Until finally, I realized, I was in Mexico.