(Photos by E. Robinson and F. Nava)
We've been planning for an Artisanal Paper Making Workshop in the Vivero
for a while now...and the Saturday had finally arrived.
Squash Blossom (behind anti-gallina protection) is growing nicely.
Being that our Vivero has no source of electricity, Maestro Brad Mowers prepared the pulp needed
beforehand...all week he boiled Banana, Agave, Grass and Lirio leaves, blendered them to pulp
and put them in plastic bottles for transport.
The problem was that when we arrived at the Vivero, the town of San Juan Tecomatlan
had not had any municipal water for 3 days, and our reserves for watering
had run dry.
How to have a Vivero and a paper making workshop without any running water? Our volunteers were challenged with a dilema. We met around the issue and an apparent solution was reached.
If we needed we could purchase drinking water to use for the workshop.
So off we went in search of garafones of drinking water. We found enough water in 2 abarrote
stores to supply our workshop need.
Ready to start the workshop a few of our adult volunteers posed the question "Is this the correct
message to be giving the youth?" We pondered the pros and cons of the solution and felt that although we had money and vehicles to be able to bring drinking water to the Vivero, it was not a good solution. We could use the drinking water in better ways. So we gathered as a group...youth, adults, community and voted to distribute the drinking water to needy community members and postpone the workshop until the municipal water returned.
Just then, Anita Torres Guerrero and the Brigadistas appeared as if by magic. We discussed our point of view and Anita, in all her resourceful magnificence said "Why don't we go down to the lake for water for the workshop?" Next thing you know the Brigadista truck had all the Brigadistas and Vivero youth piled into the truck. They took our empty barrels and were off!
In a short while they returned with barrels full of lake water.
Like magic we had enough water for the paper making workshop to begin.
Brad showed us how to mix the pulp with water to reach the right dilution for paper making.
He also showed us from where the Maguey fiber came and how it was harvested.
And also what products can be made with the fiber...case in point rope.
Soon everyone was trying their hand at paper making.
The finer points of paper making were discussed and taught.
Brad showed us how to replenish the pulp once it was used up.
Soon paper was materializing.
Creativity took hold and the youth were adding natural elements to the wet paper.
Brad also brought samples of his hand made paper and projects that can be made with the paper.
Once everyone got the hang of it, the production line kept going.
The sun was all we needed to dry our paper.
Having had the epiphany of how difficult life can be without water,
our cleanup also included saving the left over pulp and used water.
The pulp will be used for next week's 2nd paper making class and the left over water
was used to water the very thirsty Vivero plants.
Our friend Mino, along with the Vivero youth, then took all the garafones of drinking water and distributed the water to needy community members...a woman just out of hospital, some of
the elderly, some of the poorest members. With the help of our Vivero youth all
the bottles were given away.
Tune in next week for class # 2 of hand made, Artisanal Paper Making in
Vivero La Esperanza, San Juan Tecomatlan.
I want to thank you all for your continued support of our Vivero project, and especially the wise souls
who edited our actions this past Saturday, making us take a step back and ask, with sensitivity, if the plan was the correct action for the community....our community...the community of San Juan Teco and the world.
Water...so vital to all life...and yet, we forget sometimes the value of this amazing entity,
especially when we do not have it available.
And yet, we live on the shores of this large lake.
I'm happy that she was able to provide what we needed
exactly at the perfect time.
We are 'germinators'...of seeds, of young lives and yet we rarely get to see
where our actions take hold and how they effect our world.
I believe at the Vivero La Esperanza we get a glimpse of this...such a rare thing.