Alas, due to a double-whammy of unforeseen circumstances, Annie could not make this trip. However, instead of focusing on her own loss, Annie spent hours kitting adorable scarves which she asked be donated to children in Oaxaca who would most benefit from them. Well Annie, here are the three grateful recipients!
Meet Estefania (7 years), Joaquín (5 years) and Gabriel (7 years). They are originally from the Sierra Norte (also known as the Sierra Juarez). When they visit their home village it gets very cold, so these cozy scarves will get lots of good use!
Their mom Eva works in a clothing shop in the Flower Market run by her uncle and they also have a shoe repair shop. It is from the shoe repair shop where our friend and local CX facilitator Pati knows the children and their family.
We hope these photos bring a big smile to your day, just as your unexpected and generous gift brought a smile to these wonderful kids in Oaxaca!
Time slows down to encourage savoring the delights of Guatemala
Arrived as strangers left as friends
You would never know Guatemala is the second most improvised country in the Western Hemisphere. Certainly there are signs of poverty, however the generosity of spirit and welcoming smiles overcome the initial heartache
The Arch of Santa Catalina was originally built as a bridge so the nuns could cross the street without leaving their cloistered life. One of the most recognizable monuments in Guatemala and it frames volcanoes.
Reenactments of the last days of Jesus through on-going processions carrying life-like images of his last days. Roman centurions riding horses and on foot. Theatrical dramatization of Jesus’ last days, with up to 7,000 male and female float procession carriers, some caring more than once during the day or week. People attend every church procession. Power of the brotherhood.
A land of contrasts, people filled with warmth, humor and lots of family interactions filled with love. The top 44 families are have most of the wealth … Hope at some point there is better distribution.
MEMORIES OF HEARTH BAKED BREAD WITH LUCIANO THE BAKER (VALDIGEM, PORTUGAL)
– By Lee Stubis, CX Traveler
“The aroma of baking bread greeted us as our Culture Xplorers group entered the small room where Luciano was already busy pulling paddles of golden, round loaves of bread from the large wood-burning stove into baskets. Once all these hand-crafted loaves were in baskets, Luciano would deliver them to restaurants in the Douro Valley region of Portugal.
While Luciano continued to remove bread from the oven, his wife set out cheese, butter and, of course, a loaf of the hearth baked bread for us to try. As I looked on the round loaves, heard the crunch as the knife sliced into the warm bread, and then tasted the bread’s outer crustiness and inner soft center slathered with butter, I knew one slice would not be enough.
Once all the loaves had been removed from the oven, Luciano told us of his baking process, of his old oven, and about the firewood he used. I greedily ate more with butter and cheese while listening to Luciano and his wife tell us of the family tradition of passing the bread baking from generation to generation. I was reluctant to leave, but it was time for Luciano to make his deliveries. We were already walking down the road when he called us back for …the port!
He wanted to share a glass of his personal stock of port wine, of which he was very proud. We were happy to do so. It was as wonderful and his delicious bread. Will I ever be lucky enough to start another day with breakfast of delicious hearth baked, crusty yet moist bread with cheese and port wine? I hope so.”
Thank you to Lee Stubis, CX Traveler, for sharing this great experience!]]>
LOCATION: Hoi An (Vietnam), 2010
STORY: Meet my friend Mai. We met while he was participating in a workshop I was teaching on behalf of the Lifestart Foundation. I was in Vietnam to teach handmade books, but somehow about halfway through it became evident that Mai was actually an amazing painter. Once discovered, we created a new project and since then he has been making beautiful hand painted hats. Mai’s life, like mine, was forever changed by that encounter. Each time I travel I learn just how much I don’t know about everything and how exciting it is to gather new information.]]>