At the park with Gabby and Alejandra.
Archive for October, 2010
I visited Madre Lourdes in this hospital located in Centro, across from the Basilica. She had toe surgery last Wednesday. She told me she could hear the surgeon saw and then hammer the bone, although she couldn’t feel it. Hopefully, she’ll be running around in two weeks.
I had a mammogram at this hospital awhile back. I walked in without an appointment, filled out papers, was x-rayed, and then came back the following day to pick up the x-rays and the results. All this for $700 pesos ($56 USD) makes health care affordable for the uninsured.
Likewise, thanks to the Dr. Simi Foundation, trips to the doctor won’t break the piggy bank. When F was dealing with bronchitis, a trip to a Simi Clinic cost only $20 pesos and medication, under $100 pesos. All of this is out of pocket and affordable. Of course doctors get paid much less here than they do in the States, and it’s a lot easier when everyone doesn’t have to deal with the bureaucracy and high cost of insurance.
I like spending time with her. There’s so many years of stories here, and she shares them with me.
The madres and Tere were busy selling raffle tickets this week. Tomorrow is the draw and so last night, F and I went over to collect stubs and money. Tere called folks to come to Buen Pastor and turn in their tickets. The madres brought me what they had sold to friends, family, and other sisters at conferences this week. Madre Elvira spent over an hour organizing her stubs and then selected lucky numbers to finish sales, calling relatives for their picks. In one week, the madres and Tere raised over $4000 pesos in ticket sales!
F and I sat entranced for two hours and eleven costume changes last night as we were swept into the vibrant world of Venezuela Viva and astonishingly gorgeous Venezolanas. These energetic dancers told a story of Venezuelan Independence interpreted via joropo, salsa, tambor, flamenco and ballet folklorico. What a way to tell a story!
Softball practice. Friday afternoon. Xico, Veracruz.
I sound like a broken record… but it’s been a fabulous day. The weather has been delightful, the crowds have been festive, and the art around town is exceptional. Before the sun set, F and I went downtown for the last time today. As we neared the jardin, we heard bagpipes. In the kiosk, were three players dressed in kilts. The jardin was packed with artists, families, tourists, and Guanajuatenses transforming the square into a buzzing fair.
Once on Juarez, there was a guy dressed like Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean. You could pay to take your picture with him. And then I heard a mad Moonlight Sonata near the Basílica. Embedded in a crowd, I saw a beautiful man with dark curls sweeping across his face like windshield wipers as he sawed on his violin, enraptured. Out of this bubble, formed another, directly in front of the Basílica. Here a clown had a large gathering as he grand-staged and the crowd laughed. Next, the outdoor restuarants and mariachis, six of them dressed in purple, one of them had a steel drum. There was La Llorana, you could take your picture with her, and a Catrina, and a Silver Man who moved robotic when you dropped a few pesos in his box. It was like being on “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland, where every time you turn the corner or move a little bit, there’s another scene, another song, sensory overload, but in small doses feels exhilarating!
Finally, we ended up in San Fernando Square where I wanted to catch a preview of next Sunday’s show, the dance/theatre/circus act, Les 7 Doigts de la Main of Montreal, Québec. When the first act came on, I couldn’t believe it: acrobatics on aerial silk to the song Temptation by Tom Waits. It was as though I was in an alternate reality of my own making where all my favorite things were in one place.
We walked the callejones back, and caught one more show on the University steps where we caught the micro bus to go back home. Once on the panoramica, I saw two guys on a horse, and I marvelled how all this world class art could exist in a city where folks still ride their horses over the hills to home.
According to this sign, the City of Coatepec is located with latitude between 19.26ºN and 19.28ºN and longitude between 96.56ºW and 96.58ºW with an altitude of 1252 meters above sea level.
The last night we were there, F and I hiked to a look-out called Cerro de Las Culebras which overlooks Coatepec. In the distance, we could see the volcano El Pico de Orizaba, known as Citlaltépetl which in Náhuatl means Star Mountain. Orizaba is the highest mountain in Mexico.
“Cerro de Las Culebras” translates to Hill of Snakes. “Coatepec” is Náhuatl for Cerro de Las Culebras. The lookout is now a natural reserve. Although I kept an eye out, we didn’t see any snakes.
Madre Lourdes and I headed to Teatro Juarez last night to see Mariza, but the show had been rescheduled for next Tuesday. So, we’ll head back down next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, there’s a full moon occurring in the last degrees of Aries, exact at at 6:37 pm PDT. I look forward to seeing it rise behind the mountains near my place.
Danelli checks out a caveman in the Hall of History at The Mammoth Exhibition at the Bicentenario Expo. All 30 girls went to the Expo last night to present the book installation they have been working on. Afterwards, we enjoyed exploring the playground and exhibits for awhile.
The exhibitions are truly amazing, and there’s a lot to take in and learn. But many have boycotted the Expo due to the ridiculous amount of money spent on it when the economy is in the dumps and unemployment is so high.
Reminds me of The Smiths song.
There’s a legend behind the name of this charming alley, El Callejón de Jesús te ampare. Back in colonial times, a Spanish family lived in this alley. They had a beautiful daughter. She had a boyfriend named Cosme Taboada. Misfortune struck when one night, as the couple were saying their goodbyes, a mean drunk stumbled by the couple and plunged a dagger into Cosme. The beautiful girl, horrified, began to scream “Cosme, Jesús te ampare!” – Cosme, may Jesus help you!
Since then, people referred to the alleyway “Callejon de la muchacha de Jesus te Ampare”. These days, the name has been shortened to Callejón de Jesús te ampare. The alley is located in central Xalapa, capital of Veracruz.
Coatepec’s vibrant kiosko is the centerpiece of the jardin.
I sat next to Madre Julieta during lunch at Buen Pastor yesterday. She always seems to exude a vibe of tranquility and quiet joy. Somewhere along the conversation, I asked her if she is content. Yes, she told me… I’ve always been content. I asked her how is it possible to have always been at peace. She said that she’s always known that Padre Dios (God Our Father) is in every living thing, and that every living thing is a reflection of his love, including us. And since God is within us, we are connected to everything.
As she spoke, her words were so beautiful, my eyes started to water. I knew what she said is true… I just use the phrase “life force” or Spirit instead of Padre Dios, mostly, because I don’t have a better term that fits this concept. It’s calming to dwell on this idea. And I suppose that’s why Madre Julieta is so radiant… she is always grounded and reminding herself of this connection.
Cervantino kicked off yesterday! For the next three weeks, the City will celebrate music, dance, theatre, and art in all her forms. I especially enjoy stumbling upon music and plays in the alleys. People come from all over the world to participate in the festivities and until mid-Novemeber, the Centro is packed with visitors.
Last year, I was walking home around 2am, and was surrounded by students walking arm-in-arm and singing, and other people enjoying the night. There is a lot of joy and excitement this time of year and it’s a wonderful time to truly appreciate all the wonderful sights and sounds this glorious city has to offer.
I’ll be seeing Mariza with Madre Lourdes in Teatro Juárez. I’ve been wanting to see Mariza for 5 years now and have always wanted to see a show at Teatro Juárez. What luck to combine them! The other show I have planned is Les 7 Doigts de la Main, a contemporary circus show I’ll be seeing with Sara.
I hope to catch some other acts as well, maybe with Julie who has bought tickets for eighteen shows!
The highest climb in Xico leads to three crosses and an outside auditorium.
Last night, I headed over to Buen Pastor after work. Madre Lourdes and Tere had asked me to come to sit in on a session with a girl I am particularly close to. She has been acting up recently and it was time to have a serious sit down.
For the next 90 minutes, I observed the time and pain it takes to truly love a child, and in this case, one out of thirty. Raising these girls consists of a lot of loving discipline and not letting them get away with white lies which can eventually turn into regrettable mistakes. Madre Lourdes compared an undisciplined girl to the yerba that grows in the campo, wild and undirected. She told this girl that limits help her grow straight, that they protect her future. Tere told her she is who her friends are. I told her that I believed in her and that it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you maintain your integrity by speaking the truth.
I think we all felt good in the end. I have my hopes pinned on this girl, that she will make it to Prepa, and someday to University and be an example to her sister and brother. But her success will not happen on its own and inside a magic vacuum… it takes loving people around her to correct her, nurture here, and believe in her. And that’s why I think Buen Pastor is so special: the madres and Tere take the time to shepherd all 30 girls living in the community in this way.
As F and I walked down this wet road, we found a rushing river, bloated from so much rainfall. Next to the river, we saw cabanas, set perfectly in all of this green, right close to the water. I could stay there forever.