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Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Troncones and Barra de Potosí on the Costa Grande of Guerrero, Mexico

Zihuatanejo Mexico

Posts Tagged ‘children’

Helping Zihuatanejo’s Schools – La Escuela del Basurero

La Escuela del Basurero - click to enlarge

La Escuela del Basurero – click to enlarge

My wife, Lupita, and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary, but since we were both ill with colds we didn’t go out to celebrate. Nevertheless, my saint of a wife also had another commitment for the day of our anniversary that she wouldn’t allow herself to miss: delivering donations from generous visitors to needy students at one of our region’s many overlooked and forgotten schools, this time the school for the children of the families who inhabit Zihuatanejo’s garbage dump who essentially live off the recycled and salvaged refuse of our community.

Lupita and Sra. Sandoval - click to enlarge

Lupita and Sra. Sandoval – click to enlarge

Barrels for the school's water supply - click to enlarge

The school’s water supply – click to enlarge

The school's water supply - click to enlarge

The school’s water supply – click to enlarge

Homes at the basurero - click to enlarge

Homes at the basurero – click to enlarge

Thanks to the generosity of a lot of people this school is able to provide educational opportunities to children who otherwise might not be able to attend school since children and parents at other schools might not receive them with the respect they deserve. In particular a huge debt of gratitude goes to the teacher Sra. Olga Sandoval Blanquel and her assistants. The small school has 40 students in all including 2 children with autism and one child mother who is barely a teen.

A home at the basurero - click to enlarge

A home at the basurero – click to enlarge

Also, a huge debt of gratitude goes to Mr. Sidney Reimer who works at the hotel Azul Ixtapa and who donates 4 liters of bottled water a day per student to be sure they at least have proper drinking water. Such exemplary selfless generosity is quite moving when you see the conditions of this school, a place essentially forgotten by most of the rest of the Zihuatanejo community including the government at all levels.

My wife Lupita along with our daughter Valeria and our assistant Vero made up packages of school supplies along with toothbrushes and toothpaste to deliver to all of the students at this school. While some of the students seemed a little embarrassed and shy, others expressed their gratitude with their huge warm smiles. The supplies including the toothpaste and toothbrushes were all donated by readers of my Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa Message Board. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity.

Valeria and Vero distributes packages to the little kids - click to enlarge

Valeria and Vero distribute packages to the little kids – click to enlarge

We try to save up donated items until we have enough to make packages for an entire school so that no one feels left out. This year we didn’t receive as many donations as in past years, and the outbreak of Chikungunya earlier in the year made visiting rural areas risky, so it took us longer to get the packages together and then to get them to the school we wished to help. But it is an endeavor our family is committed to because we strongly believe that after family, a community is the most valuable component of society, and the members of a community should help one another in their time of need.

Middle grade kids - click to enlarge

Middle grade kids – click to enlarge

Middle grade kids – click to enlarge

Middle grade kids – click to enlarge

Middle grade kids – click to enlarge

Middle grade kids – click to enlarge

Upper grade kids - click to enlarge

Upper grade kids – click to enlarge

Road to the school - click to enlarge

Road to the school – click to enlarge

One of the classrooms - click to enlarge

One of the classrooms – click to enlarge

The school playground - click to enlarge

The school playground – click to enlarge

View from the school's playground - click to enlarge

View from the school’s playground – click to enlarge

Sra. Sandoval with her volunteer assistants and kindergarten students - click to enlarge

Sra. Sandoval with her volunteer assistants and kindergarten students – click to enlarge

If you would like to help us with your donations of school supplies for our region’s neediest children please leave a comment here or contact me via my Facebook page or simply stop by my wife’s boutique, Lupita’s Boutique, in downtown Zihuatanejo where my wife and our daughter will gladly receive them.

Seeing Zihuatanejo through the Eyes of Gene “Cri Cri” Lysaker

Attendees at the exhibition (click to enlarge)

Attendees at the exhibition (click to enlarge)

A magical rainbow arched over the Bay of Zihuatanejo as the exhibition of images by Gene “Cri Cri” Lysaker got underway around 7 p.m. at the Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande last Friday evening. The exhibition consisted mostly of photographs as well as watercolor scenes and 8mm movies. Hundreds of images were displayed on easels set around the courtyard of the museum, but the highlight of the evening was a video showing more photos, watercolor scenes and the 8mm movies. The images covered the history of Zihuatanejo during the decades of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. The great majority of portraits were of the children of Zihuatanejo, thus the title of the exhibition was “Los Niños de Zihuatanejo de Antaño” (Zihuatanejo’s Children of Yesteryear).

The turnout was excellent! Members of many of Zihuatanejo’s oldest families were present, representing several generations, including the now-grown subjects of many of the portraits.  They wandered through the galleries of photos set up on easels around the courtyard of the museum. Many of the photos had the names of the children written under them, making identification easier.

A very slight drizzle made for a perfect evening providing relief from the heat of the day while not actually getting anyone wet.

Lupita, Rob and Judith (click to enlarge)

Lupita, Rob and Judith (click to enlarge)

As I already mentioned, the highlight of the exhibition was a video made by Cri Cri of still photos accompanied by music of the era. At the end of the video was  some 8mm movie footage, also made by Cri Cri, showing scenes of Zihuatanejo and the Catalina Hotel from the early 1950’s.

The crowd at the exhibition awaits the video presentation (click to enlarge)

The crowd at the exhibition awaits the video presentation (click to enlarge)

The entire video was narrated by Doro Tellechéa, who knew the names of most of the people and children as well as the locations of the photos. He did an excellent job, and whenever he needed help with a name there were plenty of members in the audience who shouted them out.

My wife, Lupita Bravo, had been planning and working on this exhibition for months. She had intended to hold the event a few weeks ago at the Zócalo, but rain caused her to postpone the event. She used the time to prepare even more photos and to organize the event even better: having a carpenter friend build dozens of easels to display the photos, as well as having water, wine and snack foods available for the attendees.

Lupita, Doro and Irma (click to enlarge)

Lupita, Doro and Irma (click to enlarge)

Lupita also received invaluable assistance from Irma López Ibarra, the Coordinadora de Eventos Culturales y Especiales for the Casa de Cultura.

 

People were fascinated by the photos (click to enlarge)

People were fascinated by the photos (click to enlarge)

 

Awaiting the video at the museum (click to enlarge)

Awaiting the video at the museum (click to enlarge)

 

A full house at the museum (click to enlarge)

A full house at the museum (click to enlarge)

The exhibition not only served to remember bygone friends and family members, but also to remember the lifestyle of Zihuatanejo based on the closeness its inhabitants had with the gifts of nature. Residents from those times enjoyed a healthy ecosystem, a pristine bay, clean beaches, an abundance of fresh water,  and clean lagoons, especially the beautiful lagoon next to the school, now a problematic canal and source of pollution.

Photos by Gene Lysaker aka Cri Cri (click to enlarge)

Photos by Gene Lysaker aka Cri Cri (click to enlarge)

Folks also remembered the healthy lifestyle they enjoyed just a few decades ago. There was no television, and most families and friends met and walked and played on the beaches daily. One thing that several folks commented upon was that there were almost NO overweight people in Zihuatanejo back then.

Everyone who attended the exhibition expressed their gratitude to Cri Cri for the effort he put into his photos and especially for sharing them with us.

Gene -Cri Cri- Lysaker (click to enlarge)

Gene -Cri Cri- Lysaker (click to enlarge)

For those who have never heard of Gene Lysaker, Gene is  native of Twin Valley, Minnesota who visited Zihuatanejo frequently during the decades of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. He befriended many local families during his visits, and the children gave him his nickname of Cri Cri from the click-click sound of his camera. Many of the photos he took of locals and their children still hang in local family homes.

I was fortunate to meet Gene through my website. He last visited Zihuatanejo in 1998, but he still keeps up with local goings on through my Zihuatanejo Message Board.

A big thanks goes to my wife Lupita who worked harder than anyone will ever know to bring about this event in honor of her beloved Zihuatanejo and especially in honor of Cri Cri. Also to Irma López and the folks in charge of the museum for providing the venue and all the little details that helped make the event a success. And also to Doro who spent time with us trying to get all the names right and who provided the audio-visual equipment to allow everyone to view Cri Cri’s two-and-a-half hour video. Also to my ahijado Jaime and the two Julian’s from Tlamacazapa as well as to Ricardo for helping prepare all the photos as well as to our young ahijada Ana Karen for her assistance in labeling them.

But most of all thanks go to Cri Cri without whose photos, watercolors, home movies and videos none of this would have been possible.

We hope to have another exhibition in the near future in order to show the second video of photos that Cri Cri put together.

Helping Young and Old in La Chole

Apart from the much appreciated donations by readers of my Message Board that my wife and I recently delivered to the children of the elementary school “Benito Juárez” in La Soledad de Maciel (La Chole), we also received cash gifts, baby clothing and knitting yarn to distribute at our discretion. It wasn’t hard locating needy and expectant mothers to deliver the baby clothes and yarn to.  Here they are as they received their gifts.

Happy Mother and Baby Receive Clothing

Happy Mother and Baby Receive Clothing

Expectant Mother Receives Clothing

An Expectant Mother Receives Clothing

Another Expectant Mother Receives Clothing

Another Receives Baby Clothes

Another Expectant Mother Receives Yarn

Another Expectant Mother Gets Yarn

We also sought out the neediest man and the neediest woman in the village to give them cash donations we had received from some very generous people. Our friend Adán had no trouble finding the two people who most needed this kind of help.

Elderly Woman Receives Donation

An Elderly Woman Receives Donation

Elderly Man Receives Donation

An Elderly Man Receives Donation

Every little bit helps, and all of these recipients of your generosity were genuinely grateful that folks like you took the time and made the effort to help them. Although most folks in La Chole have never seen a computer or the internet and have very little idea what the World Wide Web is, they understood your selfless gesture and took it in the right spirit. Lupita and I were truly humbled to be able to distribute such gifts to such needy yet noble people. The recipients of your donations in La Chole thank you, and so do Lupita and I. The folks who make things like this possible make this world a better place for all of us.

Helping the Children of La Chole

I posted a couple of years ago on another blog of mine about helping the children in the schools of Cayacal, and I have also posted on my Message Board about where donations go that my wife, Lupita, and I receive from the many generous visitors who frequent my website. On January 7th of this year Lupita and I delivered school supplies, clothing and money that was again donated by many generous readers of my website to a small remote village in the neighboring municipio of Petatlán called La Soledad de Maciel, also known as La Chole.

Lupita and our daughter, Valeria, worked late into the previous night sorting donations and putting together bags of school supplies for the younger and older children of the escuela primaria “Benito Juárez” in La Chole.

Escuela Benito Juárez

Escuela Benito Juárez

The School Grounds

The School Grounds

Our friends Adán and José Guadalupe Veléz, who are also La Chole residents and attended this school in their youth, picked us up at 10:00 a.m. in their pick-up to carry all the supplies to the school. When we arrived at the school the children were all milling about, but word quickly spread as they saw us coming and the atmosphere changed dramatically as the children ran to their classrooms.

As we carried the boxes and bags of supplies from the truck, the teachers had all the children form lines in front of the classrooms. One of the teachers was shouting out marching-style orders that had the kids face this way and that like Gomer Pyle’s drill sargeant, apparently showing their parade marching skills, but which also meant that some were standing in the sun. While this was helpful as we distributed packages to the children in different grades, I could tell by the looks on the children’s faces that things were a little too formal for them to relax and enjoy the moment. After realizing that my little pep talk about the importance of education was about as helpful as tossing a handful of dust into the wind, to break the ice I whipped out my camera and had the kids break ranks so they could be in the shade while I walked around joking with them and snapping some photos.

Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice

Smiles to Fall in Love With

Heartwarming Smiles

Cute Little Guy

Cute Little Guy

Happy Students

Happy Students

More Happy Students

More Happy Students

More Happy Students

More Happy Students

The teachers, the children and the parents who were present were ecstatic that so many people whom they’ve never met had taken the time to think about them and send them much-needed school supplies. The appreciation was evident on every face and in every smile.

From the children of the Benito Juárez school in La Chole, Guerrero… a BIG THANK YOU to the folks who made this day possible!

Thank You from the Benito Juárez Schoolchildren
Thank You from the Benito Juárez Schoolchildren