Archive for March, 2009



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.

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Bethany & Erik

Bethany and Erik are much better at posing for photographs than F and I.

We visited Bernal

Fernando teaching Erik some dance movesComfort over fashion, I'm afraid, in BernalF & 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.

All together :)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.

farmer dolphin

This pic of Bethany’s sunburn and smile sums up our time here together.

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Turning point

turn around point

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.

wind, dirt, far away noiseSpeaking 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.

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10 year old twins that love school

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.

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Rotation Wednesday

Sisters waiting for their mom's treatmentWhen 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.

Lori working on a woman with neck problems.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.

A 15 year old mother receives treatment for headaches.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.

Cutie pie!

Lori told me she has never seen anyone so enamored with needles. This little girl flies to the table exclaiming aguja aguja aguja! or needle needle needle! and even instructs Lori where to insert them. When she first arrived at Buen Pastor, she was a zombie. She's come a long way.

Juanita and Madre LourdesI 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.

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Purple flying bat

I like this one

One of the murals at Bellas Artes.

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3 midwives

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.

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