Year THREE in Zacango here we come...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maria's Quinceanera

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In Mexico, and other Latin American countries I believe, there is a special coming of age celebration when a girl turns 15. It’s called a “Quinceanera” and recently we were able to celebrate with our good friend Maria at her quinceanera. The celebration involves a mass at church with a special meal and cake afterwards. Hizee was absolutely thrilled to celebrate with Maria and to present her with her gift. Here is a collage of Maria’s quinceanera.

Birthday for Bruce

Bruce turned that big monumental age at the end of are some photos from his big day!

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Working Towards Internet Access

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One of the things that Bruce has been working particularly hard at, is trying to facilitate a process to help the community of Zacango get internet access. There is no phone line in Zacango and the abundance of hills in the area make it hard to bounce satellite signals from areas that already have internet, so the process is a bit more complicated than originally thought. However, Bruce has been in contact with a NGO (non governmental organization) out of Mexico City led by a lawyer who is passionate about human rights involving equal access to communication. There is a “digital divide” here in Mexico that sees wealthy people and communities having great access to things like telephone and internet, and less wealthy, small, rural communities having no access at all.
The group out of Mexico City is working to document this “digital divide” through film documentaries and recently the group from Zacango had a chance to be a part of this movie making process. Bruce travelled together with the delegate from Zacango to a community that currently has internet access through the Mexico City group and along with learning about the process of getting internet, the group also had a chance to express themselves on camera.


One of the things I love about the Mexican landscape is the abundance of different varieties of cacti that can be found. John and Pat, I thought you might appreciate this picture because here is the cactus that some Zacango girls picked for me when we went on that prayer procession for rain last year at this time. For those of you who weren't here in Mexico last August, you may remember from the blog posts during this time that there was little to no rain. People in Zacango were extremely concerned as their whole livelyhood is attached to the planting and harvesting of maize. This year, however, the rains have been abundant and the maize crops are looking beautifully green.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when my cactus bloomed despite it now being in "captivity." I see it as a sign of the hope and trust that people have in God to provide for them.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lindsay, Megan, Auntie Sonia, Unlce Dion, and Auntie Celina Come to Visit!!

In the beginning of July our family came for a visit and here are a few pics of our time in Zacango. We spent the first few days of our time together in Acapulco (pics on another computer, unfortunately) and had some great times at the beach and in the hotel pool before everyone came down with a wicked flu. Fortunately we were all feeling better by the time we reached Zacango. The kids enjoyed just being together and had fun caring for the animals; the summer kids group was treated to a crafts and snacks night courtesy of Sonia (pics on other computer too). Thanks for the visit guys...we had an awesome time!
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Cooking Exchange

One of the highlights of the visit was a cooking exchange between the baking group and Sonia and Celina. We spent a day making the Mexican delicacy, mole and a couple of days later Celina treated us to bread baking lessons. We had an amazing time laughing and cooking together.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kids Program

We've been super busy with the kids program this summer. What started out as a kids garden group last summer has evolved to include excursions, movie making, crafts, and reading along with the gardening. The kids had a good radish harvest this and were successful in selling their produce. They have now planted their second round of radishes. See collages of the other parts of the program below.
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Excursions and Movie Making...

...another key component of this year's summer program in Zacango. As mentioned in earlier posts, the kids have recently gotten into making movies. We just finished filming a movie about garbage and littering.

Our latest (and greatest) excursion to date involved tackling "Cerro de Gallo" (Hill of the Rooster) - a 3 hour hike up and a 2 and a half hour hike down. We limited the hike to kids who were over eight (aside from our kids who Bruce was prepared to carry). The kids were amazing...even little Ziko trudged most of the way up on his own.
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Crafting never gets old for this crew!
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When the summer program ended last year we did a survey to see what the kids enjoyed and what they whould like more of. Many of the kids said they would like to do more reading. The kids are nuts about reading and listening to stories!
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Cirilo's Pig

We said good-bye to our first piglet last month when we gifted him to our friend Cirilo. Bruce and I were "padrinos" (sponsors) for Cirilo for his graduation from the kindergarten and the pig was part of his graduation gift.
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Farming Season

Farming season began a little late in Zacango this year due to the late arrival of the rains (end of June/early July instead of mid June). We planted a small plot of maize once again and here are some pictures of the first weeding of our plot. Last year the maize we planted (and later harvested in November) fed our animals (two donkeys, a pig, chickens, and rabbits) until May. We planted very quickly this year before heading out to Honduras and hence don't have any pictures of the intial ploughing and seeding process.
The kids love helping with the maize... especially Hizee, she is a hardcore worker who can weed for an hour straight withour complaint.

Bruce and Miguel applying a fertilizer mixture of worm compost and commercial fertilizer.
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Second and Last Weeding

Our field 2 weeks ago.

Mounding up the soil around the plants and burrying the fertilizer.

It's somewhat of a nerve wraking experience to watch the donkeys plough between the rows of corn and see their hooves nearly trample the beautiful growing corn.
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Retreat in Honduras

In early July we had an MCC regional retreat in Honduras. Our MCC Mexico team was quite small at this time (our family, Natalie, and Elizabeth) but what we lacked in team size we made up for in strength and spirit. We had a hoot traveling together...we "powered up" on some Honduran Power Chicken, laughed our guts out, and performed a knock-out Mexican Luchador skit at the retreat talent show!
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The retreat took place at an ecotourist lodge situated in a rain forest park. It was breathtaking and we went for amazing hikes during our free time.
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Life as a Model Child

Ziko has entered the posing phase of his picture taking career.

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Good-Bye Natialie!

We recently bid farewell to our good friend and fellow MCCer Natalie who finished up her year with the SALT program. Natalie is such a gem...the kids adored her and she leaves us with loads of happy memories! Thanks so much for your friendship Natalie; you brought such a fresh and welcoming perspective to our MCC team...we love you and will miss you dearly! All the best as you embark on your time with MVS.

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