Archive for April, 2011
We go through 4 or 5 of these “garrafones” a week. Every weekday, the water guy makes his rounds to our colonia. Farley and I recognize the sound of his truck. When he stops by our home, we bring him our empty garrafones and he carries up the filled ones.
I love Guanajuato mornings. The entire day begins blossoming in the morning. The sounds are especially vibrant: roosters announcing the sunrise like a thousand tiny dinosaurs, the gas men walking the callejones crowing gaaaaass, and the sound of brooms scratching sidewalks. Those are the sounds of morning.
The smells are pretty enticing as well. In Cerro de Gallo, it always smells like sweet bread and bacon. In Baratillo, the gordita lady sets up and it smells like fire and dough.
The photo above was taken less than an hour ago on Truco, and this one below, a few minutes afterwards. The water man was delivering garrafones of Agua Ciel as the sun began to spill down the walls, making its way to the street which it will completely cover in a few hours.
Having seriously overestimated the amount of paint needed for this year’s Easter eggs, Vero asked some of the neighborhood kids to use it on her exteriors.
Three kids ran around a fountain in Embajadoras while the fourth manipulated a stream of water to spray them. I watched while licking a piña colada ice cream cone from a nearby park bench.
Yesterday, I went to San Miguel to say goodbye to Sharon and John who will be returning to Vancouver next week until the Fall. While I was there, Fernando received a call from a 13 year old girl who had seen Papayito’s flyer in the jardin. She wanted to know if he was still available and if so, if Fernando could bring Papayito over for a visit to her home in Marfil. Fernando said yes, Papayito was still looking for a home and he would come over.
So Fernando took the bus to Marfil with the puppy. When he arrived at the home, the girl and her father were outside waiting and gave them a warm greeting. The father, around 40, invited Fernando to see their home. It was palatial: full of outdoor spaces, trees, plants, rolling landscapes, workshop areas, and birds. As Papayito ran around with the two boys, around 9 and 10 years old, the father took Fernando on a tour. The eldest son kept birds with his father. There were ornate cages with all kinds of magnificent birds. The father told Fernando that animals are attracted to the property and they often find snakes and frogs in their yard. The family cares deeply for animals, especially dogs. Recently, a stray pregnant dog had given birth on their property, and the family placed the dog and her puppies with neighbors. One of the puppies had wiggled his way from next door and was roaming the property during the tour. Fernando said he looked like a chubby fur ball.
The mother was watering plants and graciously greeted Fernando and Papayito. A chihuahua lives in the house proper, her companion, and a friendly Rotweiller guards the front section of the property and workshops. Papayito will go back and forth between the house and property. I’m not sure if he’ll have a job other than to be perfectly happy in a loving home filled with four children, their parents, and animals.
We miss Papayito but someone once said: ”Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong—sometimes it’s letting go.” That is certainly true in this case. It’s hard to believe that it was only last Saturday, he was struggling to stay alive, starving and weighed down by fleas, alone on a dirt road far away from everything. Now, he’ll be frolicking on rolling hills with a neighborhood puppy, following a Rotweiller on his rounds, waiting for scraps with a Chihuahua, chasing boys, being showered with love by a sweet girl, and part of a pretty awesome family.
After work yesterday, I took a few photos of the new puppy and created a flyer. Papayito isn’t going to find a home on his own (like Farley did), so yesterday afternoon, the four of us took to the streets and posted the flyer from Cafe Tal all the way to Can-Cat Vet on Alhóndiga.
The longer he’s with us, the more attached we’re getting. The difference in playfulness and energy in just a few days is incredible. He’s learning from Farley (house trained in one day) and follows on a leash now. This little guy is doing everything he can to impress us and stay!
Instead of mopping the floor first thing this morning while listening to podcasts, Fernando and I decided to take Farley for his favorite walk. The electricity had just been pulled by the City for reasons unbeknownst to us, so why stay inside? The dusty floor could wait.
We had been out over an hour when we saw something… a cat? rat? dog? lumber across the path. Farley charged after it and it crouched down low while we caught up. It was a puppy. Emaciated, flea ridden, scared. What was it doing out here? I thought that maybe someone had driven it out to the middle of nowhere and dropped it off, to get rid of it once and for all. Maybe tell the kids it had run off.
It was beyond pathetic. As Fernando and I looked at him, Fernando asked what we should do. I said we should kill it and put it out of its misery, or take him home, give him some food and water, bathe him, walk him to Mexiamora and see if someone there knows where we can take him.
So that’s what we did—the second choice. He was ravished when we brought him home so we parceled his food so he wouldn’t overeat and get sick. I took “before” pictures, all posted here. When we gave him a bath, we couldn’t believe all the fleas. He was literally covered. Wetting down his hair, we saw exactly how wasted away he was. Just hair and bone and fleas. Fernando spent over half an hour picking out the fleas.
After the bath, he ate a little more, and then we all headed down the hill to Mexiamora. He wouldn’t follow on the leash, so Fernando carried him in busy areas and he followed us the rest of the time. Well, one thing led to another, and we met some really nice folks in Baratillo. Friends of friends, which is the way Guanajuato works. You always meet someone you know and someone new walking around with a cute puppy. These kind people insisted on paying for vet treatment since they wanted to help out but couldn’t take the dog themselves and shoved $200 pesos in my hand. They also asked me to send them photos so they can help to try and find him a home, as did the first set of friends we bumped into.
He’s home now. Finally, it has started to rain. He’s sleeping at my feet on a pink towel. He fell asleep as Farley and I sat next to him and I gave him a reiki treatment as Farley looked on. I saw him wag his tail for the first time today. In just a few hours, he has a little energy. He is starting to trust us. Farley has been gentle with him and shared his food bowl. We’ve also been using the top of a Parmesan cheese lid to feed him his little meals. I don’t know how long it will take to find him a home. But I’m trusting that we do. First there was Marshmellow, and then there was Guera. They’re both living the best lives now, and I think we can find the same for this little guy.
Yesterday was Dia de las Flores, or Day of the Flowers. I didn’t work yesterday, so I spent a lot of the morning running errands and admiring the enormous flower stands set up everywhere. People were buying them in armloads for alters they’ll be setting up today recognizing Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Suffering) and honoring The Virgin Mary of Sorrows. I love the rituals here.
Last night, the streets were packed. Lining the packed streets were vendors selling all types of flowers, glitter eggs, toys, crafts, masks, and everything you can think of on a stick: Spiderman on a stick, unicorns on a stick, sheep, pigs, goats on sticks, a hatching egg on a stick! There were food tents set up and lots of folks sitting at tables eating tortas, enchiladas, tacos, fried chicken, chile relleno, ice cream and more. The sites, smells and sounds were vibrant, loud, and festive, three words when put together always remind me of Mexico. Men bought flowers for their ladies. Single ladies received flowers from admirers. Fernando kept wanting to buy me something so I carried a flower like everyone else, but there were too many to decide from!
The party lasted all night. We stayed out only until 1am and attempted to dance at a crowded La Dama. Not only were the streets full, but so were the clubs, lines forming outside most of them. Like every year, people stay up all night, and the early morning streets bear evidence to the festivities of the night before. As we walked home at an early 1am, twisting and winding up callejones and stairwells, every turn gave us a new soundtrack. It seemed as though every third house held a party with people spilling out on to stoops and stairs. When we got home, I could hear a house band screaming “I’m on the Highway to Hell!” I was glad we don’t live in that neighborhood.
In passing: you can imagine there were a ton of photo opportunities with all the color and celebration. But I have a hard time shooting people, or their things. For instance, last night I saw a couple, foreigners, shooting the candy display a vendor had set up. It was gorgeous, all lit up and sparkling. The animated couple took photo after photo, walking around the stand, completely ignoring the vendor who was scowling at them. I see this scene too often: snappy happy person shooting a scene without any regard for the people in it or how they might feel having their photo taken. I don’t want to contribute to hard feelings, so it’s rare that you’ll find a photo of a person on this blog unless I know them. I do think people easily make the best subjects and wish I knew how to photograph them respectfully and without generating hard feelings. I don’t know how photographers I admire, like Holly Willimeth, do it. Maybe breaking the ice with subjects is something they teach you in photography school. So I apologize for the non-descriptive photo above for such a wonderful event. However, there’s a good write-up of Dia de Las Flores and photos at this blog.
It’s been so hot lately, we do little but lay around and move slowly during the day. At least that’s what happened this weekend. Early mornings and sundown, I open up all the windows at home to let the cooler air in. This is also the time I take Farley for his walks.
Last night, F + F + I went down to the jardin and had popsicles while we watched people and dogs. The Mariachis were there, like they always are. The heat seemed to hold their music in a self-contained bubble, as if even sound would rather not move about but lay down right where it came out of the instrument.
Tuesday night was a lot of fun at Buen Pastor. The madres and girls have been preparing for a very special visit from Sister Armelle from France. She’s kind of a big deal in the congregation, and she’s been making her way throughout Latin America visiting all the Buen Pastors. The girls put together a show as they sang and danced for Sister Armelle.
At the end of their presentation, everyone—volunteers, visiting nuns, mothers—were recognized and thanked for their participation in the Buen Pastor community. It was very touching to see this kind of gratitude and love distributed. Even the mothers of the girls were recognized for their participation in working to improve their home lives by meeting with the psychologist at Buen Pastor.
Other special visitors on Tuesday included Sister Leticia, Provincial. She’s the Mother Superior for the entire Republic of Mexico. Sister Conchita joined the group as well. She’s the Mother Superior of the Buen Pastor in Mexico City. It was a privilege and great fun getting to know them and what they do.
Soon, the girls took the visitors on tour to show them where they live. The special guests got to see their rooms, their kitchen, the learning lab and small library. Afterwards, I felt very lucky to be able to speak with both Sister Leticia and Sister Conchita. Sister Leticia exuded a vibrant sense of well-being that I sense around those who have dedicated their lives to a path like hers. Sister Conchita was animated and strong. She shared how she had carefully selected books for the Buen Pastor library in Mexico City. She told me of the Taekwondo program her girls do once a week and how important she believes sport is for them. Sister Leticia asked me about the Buen Pastor website and the flipped out her cellphone to take notes!
It was such an incredible evening. Full of love and hope and collaboration to make lives better for girls whose mothers need a hand up. As I walked back to the hill where I live, I thought that I am never more at home than when in the company of nuns from Buen Pastor.