Salsa Picante (Sept. 30, 2004) – Page 2
Sept. 16 is Independence Day in Mexico. Students entered into this celebration by painting their faces the colors of the Mexican flag, kind of looking like zeolous fans at an NFL game. The eve of this celebration was a festive time for speeches from public officials, singing the national anthem (which has way too many verses to remember), shouting "Viva Mexico," and watching fireworks. Now this is no ordinary firework show. No, it’s not as grand as many of have seen in the states, but it is intimate in a kind of "in-your-face" sort of way. They explode over your head (not very high up) and keep everyone crammed into the town center dancing, not because of the music, but to avoid the rainfall of hot cinders. What fun! Independence day was a time for all the local schools to show their colors in the parade. Students said goodbye to Dr. Tom as he returned to Tucson and we all headed back over the mountains to the ranch.
The following day as a means of preparing for the upcoming trek (first week in November), we all did a long day-hike including summiting the peak of La Aguja (the needle), the steepest mountain on the east side of the ranch. Determination, encouragement and perseverance were the necessary ingredients for the day’s challenge. The students did well helping each other through streambeds and steep boulder fields to reach the summit and return home within an eight hour span. A stronger team emerged despite fatigue and blisters.
Vaccas & Caballos
More time has been spent in the saddle over the past two weeks with horse (caballo) practices and adventures. This past Monday we also assisted with working the cattle (vaccas). The cowboys were branding and castrating, a somewhat squeamish job to observe initially for those that have not been around livestock. Within a short period of time however, the students were involved with the process. Guys practiced roping the young bulls and wrestled them down to the ground and the gals well, uh ... collected the parts. Later on students were given the option to sample some of this delicacy cooked up with peppers and onions. Not bad – doesn’t taste like chicken!
Journal entry from Marcus Corey: “The proving of manhood and losing of it happens in the same area for the Mexican ranch folk. As the castration of a young bull is performed, the courage of a man is tested. The slice of the knife takes the bull’s future and the wrestling of it to the ground is a cultural passage to manhood. The excitement of the air takes me back to football on homecoming night my senior year. The butterflies I had on the sidelines during the national anthem have followed me here and are at work while the cowboys get ready to let lose another yearling. Realizing it is my turn, my heart skips a beat as all sounds fade except for the slamming of the opening gate, and here he comes. The cowboys skillfully rope his neck and back legs. Like the first snap of a game, my palms are sweaty as I bolt for my opponent. We lock eyes just before contact. Like jumping off a cliff into water, there is no turning back. As I struggle to get him into a headlock, the rope around his neck burns across my left elbow and his head plants into my chest like a bolting linebacker. The next moments are a blur of flying mud, ropes, hooves, and fence posts. The chanting of my name from the cowboys causes me to dig deep as I plant my heels. The twisting of his neck and dropping my weight causes us both to come crashing down like a QB sacked in the backfield. The next move is a rush as I land my knee on his neck and reach for his swinging front foot. Once the front leg closest to me is secured in a flexed position, the fight is over and I am left to look into the facemask of my opponent. Knowing the battle is won, I let him up at the cowboy’s signal, knowing I will see him again the next down – or in this case, the next roundup!
Last weekend was a start to the homestays. Students were paired up and sent off the live with various families in Madera to experience Mexican culture. They will return to these families for a two-week period in mid-November to further develop these relationships and learn about the culture. This upcoming weekend we all travel to a town two hours north of Madera, called El Largo. We will have another weekend of homestays with families from Ricardo and Marina’s church. These people struggle much more economically than those in Madera. Poverty and oppression is more rampant in El Largo. Some of the principles they have been learning about poverty and community development will come to life as they live with these people. EduVenture has been invited to attend a Quincenera on Saturday. This is a huge fiesta (as big as a wedding) for a daughter celebrating her 15th birthday. They pull out all the stops with food, music, gifts, etc. Homestays are perhaps the most difficult but rewarding experience the students face during their semester with EduVenture. Pray that our students dive in and get past their insecurities to learn from our Mexican brothers and sisters. After El Largo we head out to an indigenous Pima village, Mesa Blanca, to learn of Ricardo and Marina’s missionary work there. EV is partnering with Ricardo and Marina in assisting their work in El Largo and Mesa Blanca.
Here is a sampling of Kevin and Rebecca Morrow’s Homestay Report: “There we were, two English speakers, two Spanish speakers and a one-year old girl. We had already gotten the 'hola, buenos dias' and 'muy biens' out of the way, so there was silence. None of us knew what to do or say for that matter, then I saw a wedding photo album on the table. We love looking at pictures and so did Yudith and Rogelio. From that point on Kevin and I were able to sit around and talk to them for four hours straight. When 9:30 p.m. finally rolled around and Kevin had resolved himself to the fact that we would not be getting dinner that night, Yudith offered us some coffee. We thought, 'Hey it’s almost 10 and we are tired and hungry, why not be wired, too?' However, she went on to cook us an amazing meal of tortillas, beans, and chilis fried in egg and stuffed with cheese. The following morning, we had the opportunity to help them at their Tortillaria. We mad deliveries to all the grocery stores and small shops in Madera, then went back to the house to make lunch for their nephew’s birthday party. We then met all their family, including Rogelios’ eight married siblings and all their children! All of the family members kept stopping by the rest of the weekend to talk or to eat, which I didn’t mind at all. Actually, that is mostly what our time consisted of: eating and talking. Overall, we had a wonderful learning experience, and made wonderful friends. In the end, Kevin remarked, 'I can’t believe I went a whole day without speaking any English ... well I guess we didn’t speak much Spanish either.' We can’t wait for the long homestay in November to impress them with all the Spanish we are learning.
Please be Praying for:
Good health for everyone down here. All is well, although a few students have some digestive ailments. The staff are taking their knocks with some orthopedic injuries: Kathy (sprained ankle from a mountain run), Tim (sprained hand from wrecking on his bike), Daphne (sprained wrist, possible slight fracture from being thrown from a horse). Maybe we will have to stop these adventures and take up knitting and reciting poetry). Marcus has an injured knee, but is holding up well and Martha has muscle pain in her back. Looks like we may have to open a sports medicine clinic down here and I will have to return to my previous occupation. It’s much easier if God heals.
God to reveal the best thing to do in the interests of the local communities and EduVenture.
Stronger relationships and interest at the sponsoring universities and colleges
Paul and Jill Inge, our new staff members who will be joining us in January, as they prepare for the move to México.
Alex and Becki Ashe as they are visiting various colleges and recruiting students for upcoming semestres.
Our previous students who are studying back at their colleges or have graduated. Pray that the students will be able to press on in their faith and continue being intentional about living out some of the truths and principles learned.
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