November 19, 2009

* Home made cookies with Mexico May

Earth laughs in flowers. ~ Henry David Thoreau

I've enjoyed my flowers so much this week.  I wanted to share them with you.  The weather has been very grey for a few days now.  Terribly heavy rains have caused many problems including power outages and flooding up island.  A night drive to the airport in torrential rain to pick up a friend was a thrill a minute.  Huge pools of water appeared out of the night and threw my car from side to side, even at a cautious speed.  People were driving like there was a full moon.  I had a close call when a driver failed to yield and nearly smooshed me.  Even pedestrians were wandering aimlessly across dimly lit streets seemingly with no concern for their bodily health!  I was glad to be home.

It was home made cookies with May for me today. She is a lovely lady.  Twenty five years ago she began to winter in San Miguel de Allende.  Witness to the many changes which have ocurred in Mexico during those years, May has wonderful stories to share.  Over the years, as her photo albums attest to, she has made many dear friends, had many adventures, and above all as she told me with great excitement, "We have FUN down there.".  Isn't that what life is all about???

We discussed the education of young women and its importance.  For years May has been an active volunteer in an organization whose mandate is to educate young women.  Their focus is raising money for scholarships which enable further education. Rural children attend school locally from grades one to six.  After grade six, they must come into the city to be educated.  This naturally creates great financial challenges for families with lower incomes. Traditionally, the male children are sent to town for further schooling.  Young girls stay at home, learning the traditional domestic role.  In many cases they are are married or become pregnant as early as 14.  The organization May works with encourages the education of these young women.  It raises money for bus fares, school uniforms, shoes, hair cuts, school books and supplies.  It all costs money.  The scholarship recipients are determined by the teachers in these rural areas.  It must be a difficult decision to make.

During her years in SMA, May has seen amazing changes.  Young women return to Mexico from Harvard and other top American Universities with degrees in many disciplines.  The knowledge and experience they gain is automatically passed on to their families and community.  We both agreed the education of young women is of utmost importance in any society.  Men, traditionally are still the 'providers' in so many countries.   Once a woman is educated, everything she has learned and experienced will become part of her life.  She will pass it on to all members of her family.  As a mother, she will want the same for her children and her grandchildren.  A domino affect begins and positive changes occur.  I truly believe it is absolutely mandatory for young women to have these opportunites.  It changes the world.  I could get involved in an organization like this!

May has an interesting collection of Mexican art.  I have always loved Huichal Tribal bead work and May has some gorgeous pieces.  Intricate patterns are made with miniscule glass beads; an amazing feat.  Yarn work, paintings, pottery, and her own hand made wacky nichos are all part of the delight.  It all made me smile and I am sharing it with you.

Mays' Nichos are pure whimsy.  I particuarly loved the Elvis one where he is portrayed in the after life as a skeleton fully dressed to celebrate "The day of the Dead".  The inscription says "Elvis has left the Building".  May has a keen sense of humour.

The beaded gourds are exquisite examples of Huichal ingenuity and tradition. The Huichol Indians of the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico are well known for their beautifully intricate yarn paintings and bead work.  The Huichols express their feelings through their art, which is made not from the standpoint of decoration, but to give profound expression to deep spiritual beliefs. This makes traditional Huichol art, whether it be meticulous beadwork, yarn paintings, wooden masks, or striking embroidered and woven personal adornments, beautiful not only from its aesthetic standpoint but from the psychological as well.

fabulous beaded gourds

The two wooden carvings below are special to May.  She thinks they are absolutely fabulous and I agree.  May refers to them fondly as "The Boys".     The next piece is an wonderful example of yarn art.

May is going to be in SMA when I am there.  How lucky can I get?  I'm very much looking forward to getting to know her a little better.  She's a wonderfully intelligent, interesting woman who loves life and knows how to make the most of it.

Thanks for a wonderful afternoon, May.

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