Thursday, July 3, 2008


So, our volunteers arrived. We had a few days of training and then shipped them off to their respective communities. I just got back the other day from visiting my volunteers during their first week. It was really nice to have a break from La Piedad and hang out with them -- I attended one of the daily classes they're doing with children in Zaragoza. The topic was trash, so they had planned some activities and games that centered around what is organic and what isn't and what can be recycled -- super cute. They're also already getting ideas from kids about what project they should enter in the Ecological Fair that will be on July 28 in La Piedad.

Mostly I have a lot of pictures that I downloaded from someone else's camera because I haven't been taking enough.

This is most of our staff with paletas. There is an AMAZING paletería just 3 blocks from our house and we are addicted en masse. Anyone who's going to be walking by the paletería when they leave the house automatically has to take orders for the rest of the group.

Before the volunteers arrived, we had a "capacitación de contrapartes jóvenes." Supervisors invited two youth from each community to attend a training workshop to teach them more about AMIGOS, our mission, what resources we have, and how they can act as counterparts to volunteers in their communities. I think that getting local youth involved is one of the most exciting aspects of the project -- we discussed how they'll be facilitating classes with volunteers and working closely with them to write grants for community projects. I met several jóvenes who were asking how they too could be AMIGOS volunteers... (Chema, who's looking directly at the camera is wonderful!!!!)

Lyndsay and me at the "mirador" that overlooks La Piedad

Welcoming our volunteers in Mexico City...

One our partner agencies, UNIVA (a private university in La Piedad) threw us a giant bienvenida complete with my favorite... MARIACHIS! Everyone got up and danced, thus creating an even bigger spectacle than we were to begin with as the only gringos in the entire city. We were even featured in the local paper :)

The day after we dropped volunteers off in community, we had an workshop about amaranth. I worked with amaranth when I was a volunteer in Oaxaca in 2002. It's a grain indigenous to Mexico that is promoted by health workers because of its incredibly high nutritional value. It's specifically used to combat under-nourishment in children. Pregnant and lactating women are also encouraged to include amaranth in their diet to promote the healthy development of their children. A health worker from Oaxaca ran this workshop, teaching community members about the value of amaranth and the consequences of malnutrition and conducting a sowing and cooking demonstration to encourage people to start their own gardens and begin to incorporate amaranth into familiar recipes. It was an amazing day, and incidentally the kind of work I'd really like to be doing post-AMIGOS....

Here, Liliana (from Oaxaca) is doing an activity about the process of growing amaranth.

Me washing quelite leaves for our cooking demonstration.

That's it for now!