Year THREE in Zacango here we come...







Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Bean Turns Three!!!
Ziko had an AMAZING thirdd birthday...with Grandma and Grandpa here and lots of friends to help celebrate!





Ziko got a chicken from his friend Miguel.
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Some random shots from Ziko's fiesta. It was so great having Grandma and Grandpa there! It was the first birthday party of Ziko's that they've been able to attend. Along with being a tremendous help during the party, Grandma and Grandpa had the chance to experience the joy and stamina of Mexican fiesta-ing! We played games, ate, danced, and ate some more.
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The pinatas you can get here are phenominal! At first Ziko didn't want to break his pinata but decided to in the end. It was a huge hit (ha, ha)!

Bruce played a bunch of guessing games with the kids at the party.
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video


Helping our neighbors "de-husk" their corn -- I'm not sure what the proper word is for this in English or Spanish.
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Basura Brigade!

We've been having a nightly basura (garbage) collecting drive over the past month. We don't have a garbage collection service in our village and the basura collecting is serving a dual purpose: helping to keep the community clean and raising funds for an excursion. The kids get one peso for every bag of garbage and the money they raise will go toward a trip to a nearby river town named Papalutla.
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Ziko watching the big band at the wedding.
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Zam got a puppy!!! Before we left for Mexico we promised Zam and Hizee that they could each get a puppy when we arrived. Well, two weeks ago that day finally arrived for Zam. His friend Pancho had promised Zam a puppy soon after they were born and Zam waited patiently (somewhat) for five weeks to get the little guy. His name is Chespito (originally named ChespitA, firecracker in English, but we were quickly told that ChespitA is a feminine name so we asked if we could we could just change that feminine A ending to an O. People said that would work fine -- so now we have ChespitO.) The little guy has attitude and we just love his little pee-body! (Literally, the pee comes about every ten minutes -- the joys of puppyhood!)
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Here's Chespito getting one last drink from his mom.
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There was a wedding in Zacongo a couple of weeks ago and we went to watch two cows get slaughtered for the event. It was amazing to watch people work with such efficiency! (I don't do that great with blood, though...my stomach was turning the entire time.)
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Ziko has a good friend named Selene. She runs a little store across from our house and everday when she sees him walk by she asks him for a hug and a kiss. Ziko usually refuses her request and she proceeds to ask him "quieres chicheron, Ziko?" (real chicheron is fried pig skin -- this is the fake stuff made out of flour, I think). When Selene asks Ziko if he wants chicheron he whips himself around and runs to give her a huge hug and kiss. Here's Ziko receiving his almost daily ration of chicheron and dosing it with hot sauce.
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Below are a few random pictures from around Zacongo.
Edger, Cirilo, Anna Patricia, Aniesia, Rosalinda, and Gabriel.
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Here’s where we are. If you look at the words “Oceano Pacifico” on the lower left hand side of the map and follow straight to your right you will find Guerrero state (long, slanted and yellow on the map). We’re not anywhere near the ocean though…well relatively speaking anyways. We’re about 300 km, or so, inland from Alcapulco in a very hot and dry mountainous (hilly) region.

As a part of his home school Zam wrote this acrostic about life in Guerrero:

G is for good times
U is for under the moon
E is for exciting
R is for riding donkeys
R is for running down hills
E is for Enrique
R is for rapid running
O is for October festivals


Here are Zam and Hizee (together with Herminio, Enrique, Augustine, Reyna and Miguel) at the youth English class.
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After two months of settling in to life in Zacongo, Bruce and I have started to do some “work.” As part of our “settling in” we spent a lot of time talking to people in the community and seeing what their interests were. A lot of people talked about a keen interest in learning English and many people talked about education in general. There is no high school here in Zacongo and if people want their children to attend school past grade six they have to send them to Olinala. Although Olinala is only about a 10 minute drive from here, many families cannot afford to send their children to school past grade six.
Prior to leaving for the MCC retreat in Nicaragua in January Bruce and I spoke at a community meeting, asking people if they would be interested in classes for adults and youth. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. During this meeting we posed the question of where the community would like the classes to be held (building wise). There were some suggestions but no decisions were made. We then left for Nicaragua and came back 2 weeks later to find a group a 20 or so people working to convert an old church building into a classroom. It was beautiful to see everyone working together and the aura of excitement that accompanied the process of getting the classroom ready. Bruce and I always talk about how ironic it is that we’re supposed to be here doing “community development” work but it’s the community that’s showing us how to do community development.
So, on January 19 I began teaching English to three very eager groups of students: one group of youth, one group of young adults, and one group of adults. Later on that week Bruce offered his first workshop in a series of workshops involving water science. Bruce hopes to offer this water workshop in other communities if it works well here in Zacongo. More on our work later.
Click on older posts below for description and more pics.
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Zam’s has really found a home here in Zacongo. His home schooling is going well, also. He is usually able to get all of his school work done in the morning and spends the afternoon playing outside with his friends. Sometimes his friend Miguel joins him for school, working on Spanish workbooks while Zam works on his stuff. Zam recently got a bike and he and his friends spend hours biking around and around the community. Recent highlights for Zam also include attending the youth English class everyday where he helps his friends with English and attending Bruce’s water workshops. I think Zam really misses the school atmosphere, and until he feels comfortable going to the school here in Zacongo, it is really great that he has the chance to be a part of a larger class together with some of his best friends.
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Hizee continues to enjoy life to the fullest on our growing “farm”. She takes great joy in caring for her animals and isn’t shy when it comes to disciplining Flo. She seems to have opted for the “tough love” approach when it comes to caring for Flo and isn’t afraid to give her a little tap on the nose or yell “no” when she feels that Flo is getting out of line. We just recently got a pig (whom the kids named “Pig Pig” after a book of the same name by David McPhail) and Hizee and I really enjoy feeding her. Pig Pig wasn’t all that “tame” when we got her, however, Hizee and I have won her over with food. Every time we go into her corral to feed her we scratch her behind her ears and now she literally starts singing when she hears us coming. (I have great pig memories from my Uncle John and Aunt Rose’s farm and it is totally a dream come true for me to have a pig of my own to share with Hizee.) I know that our neighbors probably think that we are totally insane (a pig is solely a form of future food around here, and quite naturally anything BUT a pet) so we try to go out to feed her early in the morning and after dark. Having said that, I think that our friends and neighbors get quite a kick out of our love for our pig. The other day my friends Verna and Bardormiana told me that they thought that we had a very beautiful pig but that we should take care not to feed her too much if we want her to have babies. They said that they thought she was getting a little too fat, a little too soon. Our friend Zoilo advised us that we should be feeding her dried maize instead of the processed food from the vet because then her meat will taste better. There was no way I could tell him that our intention was not to have her slaughtered but to simply enjoy having her around. I said I’d look into getting her some maize.
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Ziko is turning into quite the little man! His attitude, coupled with his overall jovial nature, result in him attracting attention everywhere he goes. This is how he usually looks at the end of each day. He is Mr. Out-and-About, strutting around the community constantly being questioned by people “estas enojado o estas contento Ziko?” – “are you angry or are you happy Ziko?” He can usually flip between these two states quite quickly. Ziko’s talking has also come a long way and he often mixes Spanish and English. When he’s in full English mode, he is very articulate and never uses conjunctions. For example, if Bruce teases him by calling him a nick name or some other crazy form of a name he will say “No Daddy, I am Ziko.” Ziko’s also started coming up with some great three-year-old “one-liners.” Here’s a couple to tickle your eardrums:
Bruce was about to put some cheese sauce on Ziko’s noodles when Ziko stopped him saying: “No Daddy, I don’t want any icing on my noodles”
Hizee gave Ziko a feather from his chicken and he showed it to Bruce saying: “Look daddy, Hizee gave me a leaf from my chicken.” Hizee corrected him immediately telling him it was a feather but he was insistent: “It is not a feather Hizee, it is a leaf…a chicken leaf.”


Bruce uses a lot of visuals in his water workshops. Here Ziko, Zam and Hizee pose for some visuals.
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