Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Days 26-27

On Monday Kyla and I went to Tuxtla, the big city about 45 minutes from here, to buy books and boardgames for the kids. I had never been to Tuxtla before, other than when I arrived at the bus station. This is a big, bustling city of about half a million people. It is the capital of the state of Chiapas.
We took the bus, which was very easy and cheap. Not entirely sure where to get off, I saw the sign for the Chedraui ( a big Mexican superstore) and knew we might find boardgames there. We got off the bus and found ourselves walking into a little America. Liverpool is a mall with expensive stores in it, coffee shops, and at one end the Chedraui. We bought Yatzee and Trouble at the store, along with a pair of long white dress socks for Hugo (because he wants to be Michael Jackson) and some bread, repeat BREAD for a snack. The bread is a real treat since we eat tortillas three times a day. Don't get me wrong, I love tortillas and am happy to eat them with every meal. It's just that Kyla and I are both bread girls at heart. And this bread was herb bread and olive bread. We literally tore into it as soon as we got out of the store. We found a table and had a picnic. Cheese from Oaxaca and our bread. The two of us ate two whole loaves - they were small loaves, but still!
We found a bookstore and sat on the floor and looked through all the children's books. We only ended up buying about 7, but I figure that's a good start and they are just for the younger kids. Both Kyla and I have really been wanting to read to them, but there just aren't a lot of Spanish language children's story books around Hogar. Hopefully, we can continue to add to their library on progressive trips.
On a whim we hopped a packed colectivo (public transport minivan) headed toward what we hoped was the center of town. The colectivo was full of high school kids who thought we were pretty ridiculous, two confused gringas with their bags and no idea where they're going. We kept getting amused looks. Colecitvos are great ways to see towns because they go everywhere and frequently through neighborhoods. We got a little tour of Tuxtla and eventually were in a part of town that was all little stores and bustling outdoor markets. We got off the bus and started to wander around. It was a really hot day, but beautiful and every one was out and about. Tuxtla is a busy place. There were stores selling every container imaginable, and paper goods and clothes, and bakeries and meat and live birds and electronics. Open meat stalls had huge slabs of beef sitting on the counter, strips of meat hanging from rafters and yellowed chicken ready to be sold. Which reminds me….the other day in Coita I saw an entire cow head, skinned except for its soft nose and eyelids sitting on a butcher's counter. That was fascinating and bizarre. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of that! Anyway, in Tuxtla there are people selling buckets of mangoes and guayas and green mangoes for 10 pesos a pile. That's about .80 cents for 5 big mangoes. Needless to say I stocked up on fruit for the week.
We found a great little restaurant for lunch. It's a popular lunch spot for all types of tacos; tripe, pork, beef, smoked fat, and al pastor (a type of bbq). The cook was cooking up a storm in a cart in the front and we took a little table with a big plate of radishes right behind him. A knife sharpener was out front peddling away on something that looked like a stationary bike and sharpening all the chef knives. Our tacos were great, though we accidentally got one with the smoked fat…that just reminded me of growing up in Hungary. Fat in all forms is a pretty popular thing there. The proprietress of the restaurant was really happy that we ate there and we walked out promising ourselves that next time in Tuxtla we would try to find this place again for a tasty lunch.
We easily found our bus back to Coita and made it back to Hogar by 4pm. I had just enough time to take a shower and prepare for my art class at 6pm. We made puppets out of paper bags I found in Tuxtla. We used the multi-colored pom palms I had bought in the States for eyes and noses and the puppets turned out silly and great.
After dinner I had rented a movie for the older girls, "27 Dresses". It was really fun sitting around on the sofas in the girls dorm watching a chick flick and eating snacks. I'm so glad I brought my laptop because besides the obvious use of writing on this blog and doing email, etc. I've been able to show movies on it if I borrow speakers from one of the boys. So far we've watched "Slumdog Millionare", "A Night at the Museum", and "27 Dresses". I'm thinking about buying "Where the Wild Things Are" from the video store for the kids. Don't ask me how that's available on DVD here already and it only costs 25 pesos and comes in a white unlabeled sleeve… I think the primary school kids would love it.
Yesterday was a weird day that just flew buy and I felt like I had a million things to do and only got about 3 of them done. All's well. The news of the day is that the main director of Hogar, the director of the U.S. non-profit in the States, Captain David, as he is called here, arrived for a visit. There was a lot of hustle and bustle to get ready for him and everything in tip top shape. He and his wife are well loved by the kids and it was great seeing the little ones running up to him for hugs and all the kids really happy to see him. He has been involved with Hogar since the 1970's. It was a very different place back then. He's made a lot of positive changes. I'm excited to talk to him, hear his stories, and learn more about Hogar. I'm really looking forward to discussing with him how I can be of more help to Hogar, not just short term with the fundraising for the boys' cabana, but hopefully long term as well. I've found my passion here and I know that my involvement will be lifelong in some way shape or form.

1 comment:

Capi said...

MarcĂ­: It has been wonderful to see what you did for Hogar and what Hogar did for you. May God be with you in all you do and may you come back to Hogar someday, Capi aka David Guinn