Saturday, January 24, 2009


The noise factor is high on this Sat evening. The random fireworks have begun, set off by groups of fun-seeking teens who have spent the day throwing buckets of water on one another. This is their method of flirting—chasing one another around with balloons. The water tossing gets more prominent everyday and a walk through the town becomes a paranoid stroll, looking up at rooftops and in doorways for the young kids seeking to soak you.

I hopped in a taxi today in the plaza de armas, this is the center of town as I told you, and on the weekends, one of the coolest places you can be to be part of the town “vibe.” My taxi driver must have been somewhat inspired because he cranked up John Mellencamp’s can’t-help-but-sing-along-tune “Hurts so Good.” Not only did he turn the volume to maximum level, but with the windows open we continued on to “dar vueltas” around the plaza. Essentially, this means driving around in circles around the “drag.” I have to admit, I felt pretty cheesy at first, but his love for Mr. Mellencamp was so intoxicating that I soon began singing as loud as I could those passionate words: “Sink your teeth right through my bones baby, let’s see what we can do come on and make it…hurt so good!” As he was dropping me off, he asked me politely in Spanish what the words of this song meant…I told him it was a much longer discussion to be had!

Nora and I spent this morning packaging all of our women’s goods that we bought this week. We label each item with the name of the woman who made it along with the name of her village bank as a way of connecting the products of our women to the people who purchase them in the U.S. This task if fairly laborious, but requires little mental capacity…so it was a very nice change of pace for us to get some rest over the weekend. The women are improving with each purchasing day and I was really proud to package their items and see the fruits of their labor and learning from all of our jewelry classes.

Nora and I continued on to a local favorite restaurant here, Cascanuez, with desserts that rival any I’ve tasted in the U.S. We spoke further about partnership with G&C in terms of creating health education for some of our village banks with upcoming grant money. We developed a fairly high level proposal to give to G&C next week in order for them to submit a full proposal to us for my return home.

We finished the evening at a local folk music gathering place, “Usha Usha” where 3 guitarists jammed along with bongo drums and a caja (the wooden box) over dim lit cigarette filled air. The music was speckled with storytelling by Jaime, who introduced himself as “James Bond” to me. What an amazing place to experience history and culture framed by music, where the walls were scribbled full of poetry shared from passer by’s and a large wall size frame of Ernesto “Che" Guevara framed the kerosene lit walls. My most prominent lesson perhaps was that people were celebrating music as their vehicle for joy and heart, present and fulfilled in the moment.

Reverence is in

the contented glaze of happy eyes
warm skin sharing a knowing embrace
the innocent power of a young child’s ideas
the bloom that always grows from the melting snow
breathing windy air deep into your chest
emotions falling inside crystal tears
dancing your inside out to life
laughter birthing more bliss
the humility in emptying what is full
the growth in filling what is empty
light reflecting against radiant eyes
a child dreaming in a warm blanket
the love that is wrapped within a kiss
fulfillment born from random acts of kindness
counting on the rising sun and the watchful moon
shared stories recounted in circles of comfort
music that speaks the words for you
the wet renewal of a fresh rain
the brilliant light gifted from a smile
shared LIFE with your family
meant to continue on in every new soul.

To letting your actions be your most stunning art, MM

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