Thursday, July 20, 2006

Does anybody still look at this? I'm finding CDs with pictures in various places.

Graduation day at WHO.

Rosa and Jesus.

Trying to get the rest of the kids ready for the kinders' graduation. I think Yoseline does not want me messing with her hair.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Those are long, hard, exhausting days at the daycare.

Thansk to Stephanie: most of these pictures she took with her camera (or I took with her camera).

Locos! Crazy kids on the trampoline!

Crazy church men and the Chicken Little pinata.

Being a woman in Mexico (at the pastor's family's house).

In Mexico I am the tall one!

Futbol outside the church.

Mexico's still down with glass bottles.

Diegito, one of the cutest kids ever.

International border! and a bug on our windshield.

oh my gosh, I love this book.

At the Steinbeck museum, May.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

This is Jesus, or Chuy, the oldest son of Tavelina. Mom and Dad's work group built a new room for her of concrete block. She just turned 22, and has three young children.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Globos and Goodbyes

"Hola Gringos!"

I heard this as my mom, Marie, Katie, and I approached the Tuesday open air market in town. I have learned over time that comedy that can be interpreted in both languages is the best way to make use of an awkward situation. And being distinguished as a genuine outsider is definitely awkward.

I quickly shot back, "Hola, Mexicana!" in a fake sweet voice, aiming it toward the car where two younger adolescents hung out of the window. I almost walked by, but was stopped in my tracks.

"Whut's yer naime?" she asked. And so then, I couldn't help it. I had to go over and talk.

Her name was Yasmine, and she was nine. Her older sister did some intepreting for her. My try at the Spanish sentences were not very successful.

"uhh.. este is el primero vez... tu ver un gringo?" The sister translated that I wanted to know if this was the first time she had seen a gringo. I was joking, and they knew I was joking, because in this town you always see Americans. She shook her head no, smiling.

On my way back to our car, I was hoping they would still be there, for I had leftover churros that none of us could finish. But, they weren't there.

Today at the park market, I was lingering around, looking at things. The bazaar is held mostly for the sole purpose of marketing to American travelers, and the women and families come from the Triqui neighborhood. Most things are bought, and then sold, although a few things are handmade. One might feel a bit of a copout, buying blankets from a big bag that originated in some warehouse, but these women have sort of gone into business for themselves, and I can't help but feel proud of them, and their industrious ways. They are not our ways, they are theirs, and they do a great job at it.

While the others wandered around, I stopped at one table just long enough (about a second) to look at the blankets. I didn't even touch, but just looking means you are interested, and so they will talk to you about their beautiful cobijas (blankets) and tell you the price. One persistent girl stopped me and we made conversation. She was very intent on selling me a blanket, although I had no money and have no space in my suitcase. I kept say "no puedo" (I can't), but she kept insisted "tu puedes". We argued jokingly for a while. Her parents were sitting at the next table, watching their daughter, and smiling at her attempts to sell a blanket to a foreigner. She unfolded a blanket to show me. I told her it was beautiful, and I liked it, but I couldn't buy it. She insisted I could.

Finally I told her I didn't have any space in my suitcase. She immediately made a fist, and pushed down on the blanket, indicating that I could indeed fit in my bag. Unfortunately, I had to tell her no, and walk away. I told her parents she was a beautiful daughter. She, also, was 9, and her name was Sara.

It's my last night in Mexico for a long, long time. I went to my last church service on Wednesday. Today I said goodbye to the teachers, to Cande, and to the family at the church. I hate saying goodbyes, so I try to make them short and sweet. A lot of the time I have been here I have missed home, and my friends, and my Portland. I am glad to be going back to Portland, but there are many things I will miss here, and I suddenly realize I will miss them for a LONG time. More than a year. I am very, very blessed to have a home in Mexico I feel I can turn to whenever I want. My parents are here, and I have a large base of friends and acquaintances that I could confidentally call on if needed. I am a very lucky girl.

I'm flying home tomorrow from San Diego. At some point I'll have more pictures on this blog, hopefully.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The produce aisle

"Senora... Senora...," the very old man called to me as I walked past him in the produce aisle.

At first I didn't turn around because I'm a senorita, not a senora. Finally, I did, and I pointed to myself and asked "¿yo?".

He nodded, and started mumbling in Spanish that he wanted me to do something for him. I looked in his face and realized what he wanted. His eyes were so clouded over he couldn't read how many kilos of tomatoes he had just put in his bag. I asked in my broken spanish, "tu quieres saber cuanto kilos de tomates?" He nodded his head.

I read the weigh and proudly announced, "dos kilos. dos kilos exactamente." He smiled at me, said "gracias", and I replied with "de nada". Finally I realized I had to get out of his way. The aisle is small, and I was staring at him because he was so sweet.

While the first time I drove kids home in the van, from VBS, we listened to O Brother Where Art Thou, the next morning I went to pick them up and we picked up the pace a little bit with Switchfoot's "New Way to Be Human." There Stephanie and I are, acting like idiots, dancing, and trying to get the kids to dance as well. They just looked at us like we were idiots. Oh well, I guess.

One day Abel had me take just boys home to Triqui, their little neighborhood, or pueblo. They were all the boys that lived in Triqui, that were 8 years old and up. Abel told me I could take them to the make road in Triqui, drop them off, and they could walk to their homes from there. Fair enough, because I have no idea where these kids live.

On the way to their pueblo Stephanie taught them to say "chillin´ like a villain", and the boys all decided that they´d rather go to the beach than home. Thus began chanting by 15-20 boys, demanding "¡a la playa! ¡a la playa!", to which I responded "¡a tu casa, a tu casa!". I wasn't quite as loud as they were.

I got to that main road, and we opened the doors. I told them Abel said they could walk. A good portion of them go out, but some of the boys insisted we take them to some court by the school, which I had no idea where that was. Stephanie caved in, shut the door, and I tried to follow directions that one of the boys gave me. I finally stopped the car, we opened the doors, and a couple boys piled out, while we still had some mainstays who were determined to get to that court. I wasn't going to deal with it anymore, because they would not listen to me.

Finally I said "aqui, or a la guarderia" (here, or to the daycare). They said the daycare, and so I took off, headed back to the main road of their pueblo, and pointed the van toward home. I wasn't very happy. I could hear the boys in the back talking quietly, and heard one of them say that there was nobody AT the daycare. Finally they said "aqui, aqui", because they wanted to be dropped off. I said no, that they were going to the daycare, that's what they wanted. I went a little further and finally dropped them off, where they happily jumped out of my vehicle and ran from the crazy, mean, white girl.

I'm probably a really bad VBS driver.