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!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Teaching English to 6th Grade Mexican Kids

It ain't easy to teach English, even if it is my native language. And sixth graders aren't the most attentive students. But my friend Judy Jagdfeld, gave me some tips, as demonstrated in this video. The kids are really enthusiastic, as you can tell. They are having a blast!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Our local market....

We are fortunate to have a large local food market only five minutes from our house in San Miguel. If we need an onion or a tomato at the last minute, we can run out to this market, which is call Mercado San Juan de Dios. Check out the link for pictures of this interesting market.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Linda has been very busy....

Those of you who aren't Facebook friends with me or Linda may not be aware of what has been going on with her art.

Last month she had an opening at Bellas Artes (the premier museum in San Miguel). It is still up until April 23. The subject is women and architecture.

It was very well reviewed in the Atencion, our local English language newspaper. 

Linda was interviewed and a short video is showing in the entry to the gallery. The video can be viewed on Youtube.

Then, Linda was also interviewed by Sheila Sabine, who interviews artists who live in interesting homes. See the interview by clicking on this link.

Finally, this week Linda is one of the prime movers of a show called Nasty Women, where works by many San Miguel artists are being sold for $100 each, with proceeds going to several local charities - CASA and Mujeres en Cambio.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Long Time No Blog

Dear Readers (i.e., Dear Mom),

You may not have noticed that it has been a long time since I have published a new blog entry. As in about 2 years. A lot has happened during that time, and it's not likely that I'll ever fill in all the blanks. Instead, I'll let you know what's happening now.

Some of you read the blog because you had donated to the computing center in Rancho San Francisco outside of San Miguel. The update to that subject is that things are going very well indeed. The Computing Center is open six days a week and is generating sufficient income to pay the salaries of the young women who supervise the facility. The building is clean, neat and well maintained, and most of the computers are working well. The internet connection has proven to be reliable, and we have been given an increase in connection speed at no cost.

This week we finally finished construction of a pavilion under which about 50 of the students will be able to eat their lunches, and whether the school can conduct classes, meetings, etc. Moreover, the pavilion will also be available for the use of the entire community.

This is the way the pavilion now looks. The picnic tables have not yet been put together, but should be installed in the next week or so.

San Francisco Pavilion with Computing Center to left

My eternal thanks to those of my friends and family who have donated to make this project possible.

The pavilion will be decorated with artwork - possibly mosaics - by the schoolchildren. Linda will be spearheading this project.

In the course of completing the pavilion, I learned about another organization in San Miguel dedicated to providing clean water to the San Miguel area - Caminos de Agua. I found out that most of the drinking water in San Miguel is contaminated with, among other things, arsenic and fluoride. While a little fluoride is a good thing - it protects teeth from decay - excessive fluoride can severely stain teeth.


Caminos de Agua has designed inexpensive systems to collect and filter rainwater into cisterns and provide clean, safe drinking water. All that is needed is a roof and a cistern. And guess what? The new pavilion and Computing Center both have roofs of sufficient size to provide drinking water for the entire school!

We are in the process of working with Caminos de Agua and a committee of parents to determine whether the community would like to put a drinking water system in the schoolyard. As with the construction of the Computing Center and the pavilion, we (my friends and family) will provide the funds for the cistern itself, and the community will pay for or provide the labor for installation. I will keep you posted.

Dear Readers.
I will endeavor to update this blog with some regularity, and let you know about what is going on in our lives and especially in San Miguel.

Your blogster,

Carlos (Chuck) Soberman