When my friend Harvey wrote to ask if I was ready to return to La Zapotera, and that we were being accompanied by Dr. Todd Stong, I jumped at the opportunity.
First stop...Poncitlan to say hello to our friend Victor.
We quickly continued our trip to La Zapotera. The backroads and alternate paths that I was being shown were beautiful. Traveling through our Mexico is spectacular.
Our mission was to take a physical inventory of the building that has been tagged for the Centro Comunitario. We were there to make a list of detailed work needed and approximate costs for a preliminary budget.
Centro Comunitario Roof Top
One of the Center's main activities will be to function as a community kitchen, feeding the hungry. For this reason we entertained the idea of a mirador dining room, half covered, on the building rooftop. The Center will also act as a meeting area, community service area, possible bazar or token store and official office space.
After our initial assessment, it was time for a town meeting. The townsfolk started to arrive and we settled in for an informative exchange.
The design and plan for the community center were discussed and approved by all.
I had gone to assist with the community center work and also to personally invite the women of the La Zapotera Medicinal Plant Garden to visit our garden in Ajijic. We brought a few plants to share....Ruda (rue) y Ajenjo (Absinthe Wormwood)
I was especially hoping that the women of the medicinal plant garden would show me their "farmacia" or pharmacy. I was in luck. We discovered a covered basket type fryer in the corner that contained a plastic laundry basket inside. This indeed was the women's farmacia!
Each tincture or remedy is carefully labeled and stored in a dark, dry place. The women reuse glass jars or bottles, and especially seek dark glass to store their remedies properly. As I read my way through the farmacia, I had a zillion questions. Lucy was able to answer all of them...and then some. I asked if she was the most knowledgeable of the women healers. She simply stated that they all have this information and they share it freely.
"Are you Santa Claus?"
As the meeting and gathering was winding down, it was time for some casual conversation. One of the young women of the town approached Todd and asked in Spanish "Tu eres Santa Claus?" Todd toke it in stride and started singing Christmas carols for her. I'm not sure she understood the words or the melody, but she smiled all the same.
Town Meeting Notes
Artists In Residency - Opening
After a few more stops in La Cuesta, San Pedro Itzican and Mezcala to work with my Poco A Poco crew on our projects there, it was time to return to Ajijic. My dear friends Jennifer and Thom were holding an opening for their latest project - an artist in residency program, housing 3 or 4 artists at a time.
Everything that Jennifer and Thom do is extraordinary, and this place and its purpose is wonderful.
The afternoon was full of supportive friends and family, fantastic jazz and yummy eats.
As a special treat the work of Maestro Antonio Lopez Vegas was on display. Always a feast for the eyes and soul, I fell in love with the following painting.
Amtonio Lopez Vega
If all our days could be this wonderful and magical I would dub this existence heaven.