Day 8- Friday March 11, 2016

Today we got up at 7:00 as usual and quickly did our yoga, granola, and chores before heading off on a walk. We walked about four miles into downtown Huatusco, where we spent our morning. We ate breakfast in a restaurant owned by Guermina, a professional chef. We exchanged footwear at the shoe store, and Sam, Dahoon, Mekhi and I set off across the town to visit notable places.

We visited the central park, which had trees with very interesting shapes. There were topiaries shaped like hearts, houses, stars, and rectangles, as well as many palm trees. We visited the murals at city hall and walked up to the second floor of the building, which had an extremely beautiful view of the city, countryside, mountains, and massive volcano. We also visited the historical museum and viewed artifacts from ancient civilizations. There were stone tools, obsidian arrowheads, and heads made of rock. After the museum we visited the market, an enclosed space filled with vendors selling meats, vegetables, clothing, shoes and many other goods. The others visited a hat store while I wandered around in the farm implements/hardware store. I eventually bought a version of the multi-use farm tool used by many of our campesino friends, and I cannot wait to use it on the Minifarm. We visited a bakery, bought coffee and pastries, and then sat on a wall to wait for Teacher Alan. While we were waiting, Mekhi greeted almost everyone in the city of Huatusco as they walked and drove by.

After a visit to our neighbor’s yoga studio and lunch at a restaurant, we took taxis back to the ecovillage with all of our food for the next week. It turns out we ate everything Teacher Alan bought for two weeks in one week, so we definitely needed to stock up.

In the afternoon, we headed down to the field to plant a buckwheat cover crop with Angel, Eduardo, and Mauricio. We planted about 5040 buckwheat seeds! We then switched rooms, did our afternoon chores, and are currently waiting to go to dinner at our neighbor’s houses. I will be eating with Hector and Pati, two yoga gurus who live in a Hindu-style inspired house. We are currently tired and content from our activities today and looking forward to building a tire staircase tomorrow! Thanks for reading and good wishes from Mexico,

-Leif

Reports on our evening with a Mexican neighbor

Paco’s House

Paco and Connie’s house was a very beautiful one. As I approached the house with Alan, three dogs welcomed us very warmly. The dog’s excitement prompted Paco to come out and he welcomed both of us with a hearty handshake. Inside, I met Connie, Paco’s wife, and their two kids Jose and Sofia. Jose is 16, while Sofia is 13. Before dinner, we talked about my stay here in Mexico so far and I began to realize how nice this family truly was. I helped prepare for dinner by cutting lemons for some natural sugar lemonade. Dinner was a very delicious cheese lasagna accompanied with a great lemonade. As we ate dinner, we talked about many things such as Jose’s hobbies. Quite surprisingly, although this family lived a very sustainable lifestyle in a neighborhood where the nearest house was a five minute walk away, Juan had many hobbies that aligned with mine. He enjoyed playing video games and talked about how he loved creating art through stop motion animation videos. Although I had never had the opportunity to create one of these videos, I was immensely amazed at how his hobbies were very similar to people I live with back home. Being a musically talented family, Paco asked me if I played any instruments. As soon as I said, “I play the violin”, he pulled a violin out of a back room and asked me if I would be willing to play a bit. So, after I tuned it up for a while, I started playing off the top of my head. I enjoyed being able to share my music and occupy such a beautiful moment with a family so far away from my own. When Alan came around to pick me up, I was very full and enjoyed spending my evening with such a welcoming family.

– Dahoon

Anja, Karim, and Alex’s House

On Friday evening, we headed to a neighbor’s house for dinner and the opportunity to connect with a new family. I chose to go to Anja and Alex’s house. They had a nice cozy little place, with a soccer field out front, a chicken and duck coop in the back, a garden, and lot of open land full of fruit trees and grass. They also have a son, Karim, who is 15 and seemed to be a really cool dude. He is really into soccer and actually wanted to go to a school in Denmark to play soccer. Throughout the night, I got to learn a lot about the family. Anja is Danish and speaks Spanish, English, and of course Danish, really well. Alex, her husband, who was not there much of the night because we was sitting in on courses about carbon farming, is from Mexico and speaks Spanish and a bit of English. And then there is Karim whose first language was Danish and also speaks Spanish and can understand, but not speak, English. Luckily for me, I was able to communicate with the family in Spanish and it ended up being an enjoyable time. We ate some pork sandwiches with an assortment of toppings, as well as lamb soup and salad. Everything was delicious, and it was nice to be able to eat some meat in a while! Then we had some time to play some Dominos, but the Cuban version, with a little variation from the Dominos that we are used to. The Dominos was accompanied with some brownies, cookies, tea, and watermelon. All in all, I really enjoyed my stay with the family and hope to see them again.

Hector and Pati’s House

Hector and Pati are some of the nicest people I have met in my whole life. I met them by the tire stairs and then walked to their house with Pati, while their daughter Aisha and her friend Gabo ran on ahead. Pati told me about their family history, including their reasons for being vegetarians, moving to Las Cañadas, and their history as yoga gurus. When we arrived at the house, I met Hector, Pati’s husband and their two dogs Clarisse and Zuka. Hector gave me a tour of their house, and explained its beautiful domed architecture. The house was incredible, with a tunnel for Aisha to play in, beautiful spacious rooms, and a garden. Hector took me up on the roof to look at the surrounding fruit and avocado trees. Our conversation was very enjoyable and gave me a chance to practice speaking Spanish as well as encourage Hector in his English skills. (He speaks English much, much better than he would have you believe). After eating some ripe watermelon, we descended to the kitchen where Hector and Pati taught me some tricks to Mexican cooking. Together we harvested vegetables from the garden and made a salad, talking about our backgrounds the entire time. It turns out Hector and I both have Italian heritage! They also introduced me to an amazing Aztec drink made of cacao, raw sugar cane, and maize. I even got to make my own Mexican pizza with the mushrooms I brought from Las Bellotas, though of course it did not turn out nearly as well as Hector’s expert tortillas. Before eating, I got a chance to help Aisha with her English homework and finally sat down with the family for a delicious meal. Just as we started eating, Teacher Alan showed up to take me home! This was terrible luck, but it turned out for the best as the six of us sat down to talk about Aisha’s hobbies, Pati’s herbal medicine, and Teacher Alan’s response to the Aztec drink. Finally, it was time to leave for an exciting car ride up the hill. I truly did not want to leave Hector and Pati’s house. The family had an amazing energy of openness, acceptance, and kindness that was unlike any I have encountered before. I will not forget their welcoming nature and the time I spent talking with them. It seems that as much as the fruit trees and gardens make Las Cañadas a little paradise, the people do as well.

 

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