Thursday, October 25, 2018

Wow! English Classes in San Francisco!

This past winter some of our "graduates" in Rancho San Francisco asked whether we might be able to provide English classes for them. We looked far and wide for a competent, experienced, motivated teacher and were fortunate to find Jordan Saturen, a young man from Ashland, Oregon who is married to Maythé, a woman from San Miguel. They are now living in San Miguel with their two boys, Mariano and Marcelo. Jordan taught Spanish in middle school in Oregon, and now teaches English in San Miguel. 

He has been giving classes to 10-20 middle and high school students weekly in the pavilion that we built last year. The students love his enthusiastic teaching style.

They even get homework!

 Not all the kids are old enough to attend the English classes!

We hope to have the resources to continue our English classes during 2018-2019. With your help we will do so.

Another project we started this year was an after school enrichment program. In Mexico, school ends at about 12:30, and the teachers leave quickly, often to second jobs. We decided to offer a free after school program for both advanced and remedial students. The teachers enthusiastically took ownership of the program, and started using the advanced students to work with the students who needed extra help. Both groups of students benefited, and the teachers had an opportunity to make some extra money. Pay for teachers in Mexico is woefully low (about $5000 annually).

Finally, we decided to create a free lending library in San Francisco. We have ordered bookcases, and have begun to collect books on a variety of subjects for all age groups. The books will be available for the use by the entire community!

Please consider subsidizing our program by making a small donation via Paypal, Pledgeling or check.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Daniela's Quinceañera in San Francisco

It's been a while since I posted, so here goes. This week I attended a quinceana for Daniela, a girl from the village of San Francisco, who now lives in Texas (legally, by the way).

A quinceana is a "coming of age" event for a 15 year old girl. It is typically a big event, as fancy as the family can afford. In this case, the entire village was invited (and attended) to both the mass, lunch and dancing well into the night. 

The young men in their matching outfits are called "chambelanes". Sometimes they perform choreographed dance routines at the event. In larger cities, a chambelanes group can even be rented for the quinceañera!

Linda was not feeling well, and was unable to attend, so I went alone and attended the mass and the lunch (comida). I didn't stay for the dancing, which I'm sure would have been great.

I made an album for Daniela, and also downloaded all the photos to a USB drive for her as a keepsake.

Following is a selection of the photos. Although most are in normal color, some are in black & white, others use the "toy camera" mode of my camera, and still others are in black & white, except for anything red, which shows in full color.

Daniela takes the wafer during communion

This is a similar photo taken straight and in "toy camera" mode. Which do you prefer and why?

Daniela embraces her friends and family after the mass

A procession from the chapel to the lunch (comida) with her chambelanes

Daniela at the head table

A professional photographer in attendance used a frame to take pictures of guests.

I love these photos of the "guys"! They appear to be trying to look casually cool for the ladies. Boys will be boys!

 Daniela's mom, Marisela, did the cooking with her friends and family.

The chapel prior to the mass

Since there wasn't enough room in the chapel for everyone (the entire village of about 200 people), some people had to listen outside the small church

One of my young students in the sacristy

The sacristy

                                      This boy wasn't too happy to be there for the long mass service

               She was very well behaved, in contrast to her brother above

The professional photographer arrived late - a faux pas

Other villages sat outside listening to the service

And each of these well dressed young girls carried her cell phone!

After the service, Daniela posed for photos by her family and friends (note the multitude of cell phones)

I even was asked to pose with Daniela - the only gringo in attendance!

Exiting the chapel

The fiesta begins!

The cooks!