Thursday, January 30, 2020

+++++++++++ Abastos Visit for FoodShare Program ++++++++++

FoodShare at Mercado Abastos Guadalajara

Our FoodShare program has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Recently we went from supporting 40 families in the San Pedro Itzican area to
50 families, plus the families of the renal disease patients in the town.

We are always looking for resources/donations (food, $, etc.) to continue to
support this food giveaway/exchange program.  The families work in the town 
and, in exchange, they are allowed to take food from our food pantry.

 Central de Abastos

While most visitors are told to visit Mercado Libertad in Guadalajara, more commonly known as San Juan de Dios, el Central de Abastos is the regional wholesale market that supplies all the other markets with produce. The market is the size of a neighborhood with the vast majority dedicated to wholesalers. However there are several retail sections that have the freshest produce you will find in Guadalajara at a fraction of the price of the supermarket. Big Rig trucks arrive 24 hours a day with treasures from the provinces. This is where the price of staples of the Mexican diet are set based on supply and demand. Seasonal changes are marked by the arrival of the mandarin or the pitaya and you can find excellent examples of the local culinary traditions.

Always trying to maximize our resources, we ventured to Mercado de Abastos in Guadalajara to
purchase foodstuffs at wholesale prices, thereby being able to help more families.

Staples such as rice, beans, lentils were available at great prices.  The produce was wonderful too!

100 kilos of this, 50 kilos of that and soon our car was full!

We plan a monthly shopping trip to replenish our food pantry.

Join us!

Vivero La Esperanza

Another Saturday at the Vivero, another set of projects worked or completed...all done with
smiles, laughs, dirty hands and warm hearts.

Bamboo "Anti-Gallina" Structures

We continue with our "anti-gallina" structures, improving and refining the building process.

 Dr. Lalo and the kids jumped right on it and created 3 new estructuras 
to protect our newly planted beds.

Harvest and New Bed

Sonia was back to harvest the arugula and kale from her bed and to plant new seeds.

Metal Structure

Raising our 2nd metal structure was one of our goals this Saturday.
I brought cement, sand and gravel to anchor the structure's post, but first we needed to raise
and set the structure.

Looking good!


When considering how to anchor the metal structure I mentioned that we could hire some local people to mix and set the cement.  Our Brigadista leader Juliana said "we don't need them...we can do it ourselves!"  And so we did.

Both youth and adult volunteers got into the "mix".

Just like magic the structure was raised and the anchor holes filled.  
Next the walls and roof will be placed for our new greenhouse.


Priscilla brought coleus cuttings to transplant and worked with our "hormigitas" or youngest
Brigadistas, teaching them proper transplant techniques.


Carlos Alfredo found a book of interest and brought it to Dr. Lalo, who graciously
asked Carlos if he wanted to read.

China joined the impromptu reading circle.  The book...The Wizard of Oz.


We always make time for watering....

...and for admiring and appreciating our work.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

++++++++ Helping Propel Our Youth Into The Future ++++++++++

Trash Collection

Any good rocket foundation needs solid ground, so today (in honor of our dear, recovering-from-a-cold volunteer Barb) we started our Vivero work by cleaning up trash.  I know Barb is smiling as she reads this as she is a weekly champion of our clean up efforts.

The kids have been educated as to why trash is so disrupting to our community's improvement efforts, yet somehow, trash shows up in our Vivero.

We collected 4 costales/bags worth of trash this morning.

No corner of our garden plot was left unturned.


As luck would have it China (Polet) found a wonderful
ice shaver in mint condition.  Obviously she was thrilled with her find.  
Dark cloud-silver lining?


Our compost pile needed turning so Mino, Priscilla and Dr. Lalo got to work.

What we found was another treasure....beautiful, rich, dark compost!

We decided to take this moment as an opportunity to review composting with the youth
and so began another optimal moment of learning....from the removal of plants 
not needed in the garden to green compostable waste to the Vivero compost pile
to compost....magic.

Pole Digging

The older youth got to work on completing the hard work of digging in our Vivero
hard clay soil, preparing for the 2nd metal structure's raising.

A hot house of sorts is expected as a use for this second metal structure.

New Bed Making

 I noticed that the younger youth had completed their trash collection chores and were
hanging around in need of some snacks and direction.  So after a snack of apples and mandarinas (their favorite fruits) we got to work preparing the recent Jamaica bed.  We harvested the Jamaica last week so the bed was ready for preparation and planting.


I called this group Hormiguitas, because they worked like little ants.  Likety split the 
bed was cleared, soil prepped and was ready for amendment.  Remember the compost?


Azul waters our plantulas 

This Saturday brought 4 new youth volunteers:  Isis, Azul, Jesus (Chuy) and Jade.

Isis tending to our cuttings

Banana Bowls

Maestra Priscilla brought banana leaves to make natural, recyclable, sustainable bowls.

The kids took to the project like ducks to water and soon we had our bowls, ready for use.

Today was a special day as we were celebrating Job's 12th birthday with cake and agua de jamaica
from our jamaica plants.

As we sat enjoying a Dulce de Leche cake, we went around the table and said what we admired most about Job.  He was stalwart, constant, true to his word and a dedicated worker.   I think Job was touched by the testimonials.

 Banana Bowls

A few of the kids and I read "Yo Soy El Chico Rinko Dinko".  The story is about a boy who can change his size and flies on the back of a butterfly to Mexico.  There he communes with the Monarca butterflies and feels free.


One of our longest standing Brigadistas is Fco.  Fco. is one of our scholarship recipients, 
attending the University of Guadalajara, majoring in Engineering.

Fco. does not have a computer at home, so he needed to do all his work at school, using
the school computers.  When we heard this some of our adult volunteers gathered together
their pesos to buy Fco. a laptop.

Fco. had no idea that the gift/surprise was happening today.

Felipe showed Fco. how to configure the new laptop.

And Mino told Fco. how proud we all are of he and his accomplishments, to never give up 
on his dreams and to continue flying toward the future.

Needless to say, Fco. was surprised and touched by the gesture.

After the initial surprise, Fco. ran home with the laptop so that it would
be tucked away safely.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible,
especially Mino, Felipe, Dr. Lalo and Priscilla.


After our work day is done, we gather to regroup and plan the future.

I'd say that the future looks bright.

Gracias to all the generous souls who help make our efforts a reality.