Wednesday, March 21, 2007

TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2007 I am writing to you in English instead of French and Spanish because it is my “free” day and after speaking Spanish all day I need a rest.

Natalia, the liaison person from the local educational cooperative, Ms. Krol and myself and Natalia’s three daughters, Olivia (6), Valentina (3), and Angela (2) drove to Melaque to exchange money and then to Cihuatlán to purchase sports equipment for the primary school in La Manzanilla. Guess what? I had $500 to spend….and worked out a deal so that the total price would have been $600. The stuff will not be in until Saturday because the store did not have ample in stock, but it will be delivered to the school on Monday. With all the donations from Walsh students and staff I bought: 8 volleyballs, 8 soccer balls, 8 basketballs, 15 jumpropes, 5 humongous boxes of sidewalk chalk, regulation size soccer nets, basket ball nets, ball storage bags, and an air pump. I also bought 150 pencils, 50 erasers and 50 pencil sharpeners. When I called the director of La Catalina Foundation, which helps with transport and delivery of the supplies, he was surprised and thrilled that the school would be receiving our gift. He told me never had they received so much recreational equipment and the Principal and the students would be psyched. Believe it or not, the travel to the two towns, the negociations, telephone calls back to La Manzanilla, the calls between the sales clerk and her boss to finalize a discount, all this took hours. The director couldn’t come on Saturday to pick up the stuff because his car broke down so he had to arrange for the delivery through another party. The store itself is about the size of 5 cafeteria tables…we’re not talking Dick’s or Sports Authority folks! Check out the pics. You’ll see what I mean.

Mexican time here is different than U.S. time. It is a rural community where simple things like a hammer or tape are not in a teacher’s desk drawer. Pick you up at 11 means pick you up at 11 or 11:20. The sewerage exploded in an apartment below us and it took a critical amount of time, by American standards, for the problem to be fixed. People simply do not rush and frankly, why should they? Car seats, seatbelts, shoes, are often omitted, a throwback in time to my childhood days at the beach. I am sure this will all change to some significant degree as development infiltrates this coastline. Development can have a very positive effect when students’ education and economic lifestyle are improved. The fear and concern is that the natural resources and beauty of this ecosystem will be negatively impacted without a strong grassroots intervention to maintain and preserve it. The EarthWatch staff are phenomenal at educating the public, launching community outreach programs and working with the local authorities and agencies. Tonight we will be meeting with graduate students and professors from the University of Guadalajara to further collaboration on the ecosystem projects underway in this region. Time runs at a slower pace here yet it is imperative that awareness of unconscious development comes at an irreversible cost. EarthWatch totally realizes that the time to raise consciousness is now. Using scientific empirical data and statistics from the field supports EarthWatch’ mission to preserve ecosystems around the world. It’s so cool working with these scientists!

So, in addition to our shopping foray, Ms. Krol y yo went to Barra de Navedad which is a very wonderful town situated on a sand bar. Thewaves are bad so surfers go nuts here….so apparently does Mick Jagger who stays at the resort just a water ferry ride from La Barra. Okay. Go figure. The French..FRENCH coffee (Allez les francopnones!) shop was the bomb and the haven for Ms. Krol and me! I would venture to nsay that it surpassed the best of Dunkin and Starbucks! (The croissants were hot and made with pure butter!)

Okay. Eighth graders….the people profiles will arrive with me .Sale vale? OMG