A Solstice Miracle in Mexico

Sunday June 22, 2008 we firmed up the rental contract for a new home in Mexico for Summerland Monastery, Inc, ATC and later tierra de verano, A.C. (Monastery land of summer: a Mexico non-profit service-only corporation having no assets in Mexico). Our new home is in the center of Mexico about 10 miles outside of the fantastic city of Guanajuato, Guanajuato (GTO), Mexico. GTO is the most colonial city in Mexico; the Spanish influence is absolutely amazing. The barrio (a Mexican rural community) where we are relocating is called Cajones, Guanajuato, Mexico (town, state, country). We will live in the original Rancho Cajones; a very tiny quiet community a few feet from the tiniest church I have ever seen.

It is a town of subsistence farmers, still plowing the rocky soil with horses and living with almost no cash income. There is the biggest body of water in the State of Guanajuato down the road; the Presa la Purisima Dam. The climate is called "The Eternal Spring";the winter average gets close to freezing, but rarely and almost never over 85 degrees in the hottest months. The economy is one of generational poverty. The need is overwhelming, but the children are smiling children below their coal black eyes and the adults are warm and accepting. Don, Jolene and I know that we have been divinely called to this place, to serve this community and that we will do that to the best of our abilities.

The property owner (Javier) wanted to help us to help the community, so we will pay only token rent a month for 5 years. We have the option to stay as long as we want. He and our attorney (the only prudent way to conduct business in Mexico) are working out the details of the contract that we will sign Sunday. We are all unable to imagine a better miracle!

The L-shaped house has been empty for 10 years, before that Javier and his wife and children lived there, before that Javier with his 13 siblings and his parents resided there. His Mom (actually his step mother; first mom died after 10 children) lives next door in a yellow house; his uncle, Mario, has a home next to ours, but he lives predominately in Texas with his family and just visits from time to time. He was the first person we met from the community.

The family matriarch is about 4'3" tall, is 87 years old and had just walked 5 miles the day we met her. She lives alone and cares for herself. Although she is very old, she has no known health problems. Her smile is so very warm.

The park-like setting of our new home is amazing. There is a swimming pool and very large trampoline for the children. The empty red-brick tiny space (was to be a bathroom) will probably become an Art room for the children or we will create a similar space. The garage will become a studio for Jolene.

The owner and his family have already begun the big job of cleaning it up (three bedrooms and two baths; all far smaller than USA standards). Next weekend there will be a big yard sale and in the evening a fiesta: our first fiesta at the place.

We will continue the clean up job and repair jobs for some time as we have to replace electrical wiring, do some plumbing repairs, buy a "green" refrigerator, get the stove from Arizona, buy a "green" washer, put up a clothes line, get a "green" water heater and add a great deal of paint! We are going to do our very best to make it a living "green" community so that the children and their parents will learn how to better serve themselves. The front patio has to come down before it falls on one of our heads (it is concrete!), the one exterior and all the interior doors all need to be raised as they are too low for Don or even Javier in boots and a hat to walk under. There is a lifetime of stuff in the yards to clean up and a collection of plants that Javier calls his "children". He is an agricultural engineer and a professional landscaper. He has agreed to put them into my care; I am so thrilled!!

We have made 15 trips by vehicle moving items and therapy horses; traveling back and forth in an attempt to move all that we can to Mexico without a big tariff. We have made many trips also by air or bus.

 


Visiting disabled children at an orphanage in Mexico.

Dr. Helena Todd, my dear friend and teacher, a neuropsychologist from Chile, went with us to see the house and extensive grounds. She was so thrilled that Dr. Todd Fletcher, my PhD advisor (and my EdS advisor) was by to talk to us last night. We plan a total immersion program with this space. My dream is to have graduate students stay in tiny dorms in the barrio and help with the children staying with us. The college students will learn about life in this tiny community and what real poverty is like. The graduate students will learn to walk to the bus (just over a mile) and pass homes where people live in generational poverty; that would be a great post-doctoral program for me and an immersion experience for them. We need to do fundraising to build dorms for the children and the visiting students. Plan a visit to our part of the world! (www.spanishimmersioneducation.org).




Tierra de Verano A. C.
The Mackenzie's
Rancho Cajones
Cajones, Guanajuato, Mexico 36262

Snail mail here is truly SNAIL Mail, very slow!
Please use email if you can for primary contact

jzm@email.arizona.edu