Archive for April, 2009

Flu poo

All classes have been suspended by a Presidential directive. We will return the 6th of May. Thanks, the Directora.

Mexico City’s economy is plummeting.  All restaurants are closed.  Tourist attractions, like museums and the pyramids, are shut down.  Tourism revenue has fallen 80% since the flu hit.  Cuba has cancelled all flights to and from Mexico because of the virus.  On Tuesday, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cancelled all stops at Mexican ports. The economic impact of the swine flu impact is around 100 million dollars a day according to yesterday’s Global Health segment from NPR (podcast linked to in the first sentence).  It could get a lot worse.  Swine flu has certainly had a bigger impact on Mexico’s tourism than has the drug violence.

Symptoms posted on the church doorThings aren’t as bad in San Miguel, although they are quiet and the economy is getting a few blows as well. Many folks wear masks. Some have even started wearing gloves. Schools are closed until May 6th.  All public gatherings have been cancelled including mass and festivities for Santa Cruz. The government has imposed closings of bars, clubs, and gyms. Currently circulating rumors–of which there are many–claim that restaurants will be next as in D.F. President Caldron is urging everyone to stay at home from 1-5 May

I am keeping level headed about all of this and trying not to get sucked into the flu scare or the rumor mill. We’ll know more after May 6th once things return to normal, or if security measures increase. Meanwhile, I wash my hands a lot and keep wishing Season 2 of HBO’s Capadocia was on DVD.

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lonely bucket looking for water

The water at the dam has nearly all dried up.

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This week off

Reception room at Buen Pastor

Madre Lourdes emailed last night and told me not to come this week because of the flu scare.  I think taking the week off is a good idea. I worry about the women in the shelter.  They come with their children from all parts of the Republic.  Currently, there are women from Tijuana, Cancun, Chiapas, Guadalajara and more. Given the small space they live in, the flu would spread quickly if someone new introduced the virus. 

In good news: Buen Pastor can now run donations and grants through the Mission Development Office for the Good Shepherd Sisters to provide donors with tax receipts.  It might not seem like a big deal, but not having this ability in the past has cost a number of sizeable donations. Setting up this process has taught me about non-profits, taxes, and banking.

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Indio Triste

Sad Indian

Poor mexico. First the drug cartels and beheadings. Then the swine flu which is killing people, shutting down schools, and bringing the peso to her knees. And now, Central Mexico just had an earthquake. Yeesh. What’s next?

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No mass

No mass

When Julio arrived at Templo de San Francisco this morning, he found that the Mexican Catholic Archbishop had cancelled all Sunday masses in the country. He took off his makeup and went back to bed.

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Warm fuzzies

From left to right: Smart, sweet, and valiant

The past two days at Buen Pastor couldn’t have been better.  A group of us celebrated Buen Pastor’s patron saint, Santa Maria Eufrasia, with the girls and madres. Several things impressed me:

  • Santa Eufrasia announces that she's a citizen of the world and asks for help in saving souls.The girls were extremely attentive and well behaved at mass. I’m sure I did more shifting in my seat than they did.
  • The priest was so old!
  • I never knew Madre Lourdes could play guitar or that she has such a nice singing voice.
  • Their depiction of the life of Eufrasia was precious. It’s obvious they spent  a Click on thumbnails for a larger imagelot of time perfecting their skit.
  • Madre Lourdes consistently and lovingly disciplines the girls. She doesn’t allow goofing off or talking when others are on stage. She demands courteous, respectful, and considerate behavior from the girls. It’s hard staying on top of 20+ girls, but she manages and it manifests in the overall atmosphere of really good, really sweet girls.


A notebook ready to fill with a little girl's thoughtsThe girls were excited to open their presents. We told them that the Santa Julia girls had designed and colored the wrapping paper, so they were careful not to rip it. They loved their presents and their wraps, showing the designs to one another.

The next morning, our GTO group and the madres Madre Lourdes opens an early birthday presentshared a delicious breakfast at La Casa de Espiritus Alegres, a vibrant B&B decorated with spirits from all over the world. The food was superb and the company resplendent. Madre Lourdes noted that everyone always thinks of the girls, or the women, or the 104 year old building, but that nobody stops to think of the madres themselves. She thanked everyone involved for their participation. We all left feeling warm and fuzzy.

A good day for Madre Elvira

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Midwife profile II

Minerva from Puebla

What’s pretty awesome about Minerva is that she didn’t start her formal training as a midwife until her forties. She spent many years working as a midwife and in the health profession learning along the way as she and her husband raised their four children.  She spent those years earning an income and encouraging her kids to go to school.  After they left home, she came to San Miguel and enrolled in the only accredited program for Midwifery in Mexico. She’s halfway through and sometimes wonders if she can continue given the cost of her son’s education and her own.  Her husband supports their schooling by selling chile and jitomate. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her as she obviously loves giving back to her community as a professional midwife.

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