It has been a cool and rainy week here in San Miguel, unusual for this time of year, but delightful nonetheless. Late night fiestas on rooftop terraces are on hold as are most of the fireworks which makes for better sleeping. And more importantly the parched landscape is coming alive before my eyes. Each visit to the Botanical Garden reveals new baby shoots of greens on the ground and in nooks and crannies of the many cacti.
On Wednesday I spent a day with CASA, (http://www.casa.org.mx/) an organization here in San Miguel that provides a wide array of services to folks here in town and all over the state. Started originally to address issues of reproductive health and domestic violence, it now offers health, nutrition, midwifery, sex education, day care and a library and literacy program. I went with the theater group and folks from the health and education program to a small community about an hour away from here.
My job was to take photographs that could be used on their website and in their promotional materials. In many respects, it was like returning to my social service roots at Berkeley Children’s Services, where we provided many of the same services.
As the vans drove down the dusty road, we were greeted by women carrying rakes and machetes. The activities for the day included cleaning up the children’s playground, weight and blood pressure checks, a theater performance about domestic violence, zumba class, cooking a healthy communal meal of “vegetarian ceviche.” Mexico has the highest rate in the world for infant obesity and extremely high rates of diabetes and heart disease. Changing eating habits is a major educational effort. The day concluded with gifts of hats for the adults and toothbrushes for the kids.