Wednesday, February 24, 2010






Feliz Compleanos! We celebrated La Cambalachas 7th birthday on Friday with a guest musician from the city coming to help celebrate. Using a make-shift altar from one of the flat stones in the garden everyone brought gifts to offer and lit candles to mark the day. What an accomplishment, delighted to be part of this occasion and know that this organisation that celebrates the arts with local youths will flourish even more in time to come. 7 cakes helps the celebration!

Friday, February 12, 2010

A daily taste...!

According to the Mayan calendar posted near this computer today is NO´J KumkÚ ´Wayeb´ or the 12th February (but the new year starts on the 22nd Feb…I´ll have to find out more about that!). I woke up at seven am today to find that the San Pedro Volcano that casts a remarkably imposing view (a mere 3020 metres elevation) had disappeared in the haze of the morning. I crave some of the delicious fresh fruit that is in abundance here, pineapple, melon, bananas (and mini bananas!), watermelon, papaya. I head down from the grounds of La Cambalacha on the rocky dirt track into ´town´ for some yoga to start me off today. San Marcos La Laguna is one of the most beautiful spots there is to visit on the lake here and as many people come for a time of relaxation there is a constant source of places to do yoga! My flexibility can definitely do with much improvement but it is a great way to start my day! I came back up the hill to see that the mountain that we are on is starting to clear up and I know it is going to be another warm one.

Luckily here on the grounds we have plenty of coverage from the heat of the day from the bamboo and corrugated plastic roofs and many tropical trees. So the youth group that come here four times a week is usually split up into different groups JAIH and JAI according to age and experience and suitability to the activities.
They arrive here at 8am either from here in San Marcos or on a pick-up or tuc-tuc from San Pablo the next town over and start off with some chores, everyone has their designated area to look after-sweeping and clearing areas and putting all the organic waste in its proper area for dumping. There is a very organized area for all recycling that is maintained on a daily basis; paper, plastic, cans are ordered into different sections.
Charlie is our onsite botanist and tree-lover (amongst many of his expertise) and he shares his knowledge on maintaining a good garden with all the youngsters-the herb garden is used for nearly every meal and the avocado tree that grows over my room has avocados the size of a small child´s head but they let out an alarmingly loud thump everytime one falls that you would swear you were under attack! I can spot some banana trees, papayas and trees with beautiful flowers that attract hummingbirds throughout the day.
Classes throughout the day include warm-up activities, dance, theater and social awareness, gymnastics, acrobatics, arts and crafts, guitar and drumming. We have constantly changing different workshops from people of all walks of life. Today the poet Rosa Chavez is doing a workshop on Mayan culture with the whole group and I can hear many laughs from them as they do different activities.

Lunch is massive and soo tasty here made with the talent of Angela who uses every pot and pan in the kitchen and loves to taste it all with her fingers as she goes. We have also noticed that whether she is cooking for one or for 100 there is the same catastrophic pile-up of crockery, vegetables and their remains, boiling pots and containers of sauces and chilies scattered around the kitchen!

I have just finished a cuppa organic coffee (that I ground down this morn in a grinder that looks similar to one you would make to squeeze out sausages!). We have a younger group coming this afternoon that I must prepare for. They come twice a week and have energy to burn! My organisational skills are being tested here but they are very talented with their hands---lanterns are the way to go today!
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