Today was another incredible day. We went to Macheros, to revisit the kids whom last year we taught to paint the MexiRocks that Save Our Monarchs has been selling on their website. (saveourmonarchs.org). We started of with a challenging hike to get a glimpse of the insides of some of the houses. What an eye opening experience! One of the students, Octavio, was proud to show us his home on the hill. His farm has four ‘bunkies’, which were not more than shacks. Some had a proper roof, the others, hard plastic. None had electricity, windows, or any kind of light other than candles. Makes it hard to do homework at night! There was no central place for the family of 11 to gather. The two eating areas could seat only 5 or 6 at a time. Yet it was all well kept and pretty. The only two men worked as labourers in a nearby town. There were lambs, and chickens which were slaughtered by Octavio’s mother for food. One of his aunts was washing clothes by hand, as most people do, including our guide Estela.
After lunch many of us went to watch the kids painting, while the others walked down to the trout farm. There have been many times where the group has split up according to their interests. How far the kids have come! Their work is gorgeous: I can’t wait to post it when I get home with better internet. And they have a beautiful display case for their work; we were practically fighting over the rocks.
We made it back to our hotel to teach a new group of kids and adults how to make and sell their art to tourists. I have a fantastic team with me who got everyone started with a craft while Audrey and I brought up loads and loads of art supplies. When we got there, our friends were teaching Christmas ornaments with punched out monarchs, pom pom caterpillars, and completing the most stunning canvas bags! That gave us time to set up the painting of rocks, which first had to be washed and dried by our team. We covered the tables with plastic and laid out all the materials. We were shocked by the quality of the work. Wait till you see what the five year old did!
The hotel owner’s daughter-in-law, a talented crafter herself, agreed to take all the supplies, and make opportunities for the kids to come back and paint more. I suspect she even has a way to sell them, although Save Our Monarchs has already agreed to help get them started by selling them on their saveourmonarchs.org website.
While the painting was going on, team members outfitted at least 10 ecstatic people in prescription eye glasses! Once again, this is the highlight of the trip. Especially thrilling was the 80 year old woman who looked around, back and forth, in sheer delight! But most of the prescription glasses went to younger people who will really use the glasses to function and earn their living. Thanks to Eyes on Sheppard for their help with the eyeglasses, and their gifts of eye glasses cleaning supplies.
At the end, though we almost forgot, we took out gifts for everyone. The adults went most wild over the shoes, donated by Running Free. The kids loved the colouring books, paints, crayons, pencil crayons, and especially the stuffed animals, which my mother picked up (and washed if necessary), from the flea market in Ft. Lauderdale.
Truly a most successful day!