Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update and Cenotes

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello! In the midst of all the international press Mexico is getting these days, I wanted to let you know how things are going at the mission in Mérida.

Classes at all schools were suspended last Monday afternoon until next Wednesday, May 6, as a preventative measure against the spread of the flu virus. We sent the girls from the shelter home on Tuesday. As far as I know, there are reports of only one or two cases of flu in Yucatan. Most businesses are open and most people are going to work. Surgical mask are used by a few.

Today is Children's Day, which is usually very celebrated in Mexico. Unfortunately, all major events that would draw large groups of people have been canceled or postponed, so no big parties for the kids today. We were happy that we were able to celebrate Children's Day early (on Tuesday) before the girls went home. I'll post a picture of the party.

I'll also post a couple of pictures of our collection of plastic bottles for recycling. In half an hour, 15 girls and three adults collected 1004 plastic bottles in a four or five block radius of the shelter. I'm trying to emphasize the need to use returnable bottles, too. The girls have already asked when we can do another collection day, and they're bringing bottles from home.

The final picture is of one of the three cenotes I visited near the village of Cuzama. Cenotes are subterranean lakes, or sinkholes, and are very common on the Yucatan Peninsula since it is formed by a highly permeable limestone shelf that rainwater quickly seeps through. The water system is underground here, almost no lakes and rivers above ground. Some cenotes are more spectacular than others. I felt lucky to see and swim in the ones near Cuzama.

Please keep the people of Mexico in your prayers, for a quick end to the spread off the flu and for recovery of the economy which has been hard it by the decrease in regular business and tourism..



Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter

I pray that you have a sense of hope and joy this Easter Season, and are enjoying the new life of spring.

I was glad to be able to participate in Holy Week and Easter liturgies, and the Stations of the Cross at one of the neighborhood parishes. My Easter gift showed up on the mission's back patio last Tuesday. The kitten pictured above has been keeping me company, along with a few other cats, since Cari and Marilyn's departure on Palm Sunday.

The Nueva Vida girls have a two week school break, so things have been very quiet for me. I've been doing some preparation for classes, some site-seeing around Merida and reading more than usual. I was happy to invited to the beach by Silvia, the director of the mission's child care center, for a family party on Easter Day.

Before Easter break, the Nueva Vida staff and I started to talk with the girls about environmental conservation, and to do projects related to the theme. When the girls return, we hope to continue by beginning a plastic bottle recycling project. I hope that this will further instill in us our responsibility as stewards of the environment. Posted above is a picture of the mural they created.

I am still trying to discern my path for the coming school year. Please keep me in your prayers.