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Archive for July, 2010

Harmony Project

Interested in putting your name in the hat for $4000 USD or hanging out at a beautiful beachfront penthouse with friends? Head over to the Harmony Project and donate to Buen Pastor!

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Playground makeover

Yesterday, Madre Lourdes took me over to the internado to show me the impressive work of six volunteers. For three weeks, five young ladies and one guy laboriously painted, weeded, planted grass, artfully placed mulch, and transformed the girls’ playground.  They even painted a basketball court. It was unbelievable! What’s more: not only did they volunteer three weeks, all day, of their time, they spent their own money on supplies. The girls are going to love coming back to this in September!

The volunteers painted the girls' swing-set and placed soft mulch underneath. Grass has been planted. Maestro Chuy's workshop has been spruced up as well!

Madre Lourdes told me that all the madres were so impressed by the self-initiative these volunteers came with. They had been told to paint the welcome room, and ended up transforming the playground as well. Madre Lourdes told me this is a remarkable example of spirited service.  I had to agree!

New grass to sit on and an orange table to read at.

The volunteers would come and work all day and then stayed with Mexican families when they weren’t doing good things at Buen Pastor. I hope they had a wonderful experience in Guanajuato.   I also hope they know how much the madres appreciate what they did.  This is truly amazing.

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Sleep walking

Last week, on a day it wasn’t raining, I went up to the roof to hang our clothes to dry. They’re building a few floors on the house next door and the construction workers, usually talking with one another, were intently listening to a radio show about angels. More accurately, the female host was advising clients on challenges in their lives based on what their angels were telling her. It was an interesting juxtaposition of angelic advice against a backdrop of sweat and hammers.

Then Fernando told me today of Estercita’s run-in at the Santuario.  Estercita spent a lot of her childhood being raised by the nuns at Buen Pastor.  She’s been a part of this community forever it seems. I’m not sure how old she is because her hair has never greyed. But she’s little, wears braids and plaid dresses, and is either in the kitchen cooking or tending the Santuario. Anyway, today, two young men confronted her and demanded she hand over the keys to the donation box. They told her they would kill her if she didn’t. Estercita, who has lived long and seen a lot, told the boys she didn’t have any keys. Fortunately, they left her alone.

I was astounded.  Here, to avoid graffeti, folks paint the Virgincita on an alley wall and the walls are left alone. People walk by the temple and cross themselves.  You see acts of reverence and respect everyday. Fernando told me that people do desperate things in desperate times, and these are the worst economical times in ages. But to attack an old woman in a church?

I thought of the boys and their options. Possibly their desperation, which is shared by so many. Lots of kids in Mexico never go past premaria, and many secundarias receive their education via television. This is a country, one that I love, where lawyers become taxi cab drivers because it pays more. Where a University educated person often earns 40 pesos an hour which is just over $3 USD. Where styrofoam plates and plastic bottles line streams and water ways and where monies are continuously misappropriated by self serving politicians.

If only this wonderful Country, full of natural beauty and rich heritage, would spend a fraction of the money it wastes on celebrations & show on creating jobs, enriching education, providing pathways from University to employment, and focusing on sustainable energies and the environment, I believe little old ladies would not be assulted in sanctuaries.

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Rescuing Monica

Another shoot for the 2011 Bombero’s calendar was rescuing this pretty lady. Monica was such a good sport. She arrived at the shoot not knowing what was in store for her. She had no idea she would be hoisted and posed with the handsome volunteer firemen of San Miguel.

César was also a good sport. Even though he was a bit hung-over (if we are to believe his bombero buddies), and not entirely fond of the camera, he still managed to statically hold and pose Monica in the hot bright sun that filled the space between sessions of rain.

César engages his biceps and  h o l d s .

Holly captures the moment.

César takes a break and Holly instructs Monica on arm positioning.

Monica positions her arms.  César endures.

Holly shares the photos with the guys.

Look to the left.

At me.

Now to the right.

Holly and Monica like what they see.

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Los Bomberos




I had a wonderful opportunity today to spend some time on a Fireman’s photo shoot. Charismatic, energetic, and professional photographer,  Holly Wilmeth, agreed to not only photograph the images for a 2011 fundraising calendar for the volunteer firemen of San Miguel de Allende, but she also allowed assistants like me to share in the fun.

In this scene, the firemen are instructed to blow a kiss and sustain it.  So one by one, they came forward to pucker up. You can imagine the playfulness and “encouragement” they received from their partners. In the last two photos, El Capitan does a great job and Holly lets everyone know that’s the example to follow.

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Left behind

On Sunday, Fernando and I perambulated the origins of Guanajuato.  We walked among the Spanish ruins for nearly five hours. We followed a stream up into the mountain picking up trash on the way down. I never knew there were so many trails here. All this time, I’ve thought of Guanajuato as cobblestones and callejones.

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Hacienda Dogs

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