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Oaxaca #2, El dia de las banderas

I am grateful that Adam and Dulce are early risers just like me, although 6:00 am its technically sleeping in compared to my regular schedule. A cold shower, a cup of starbucks VIA ready brew and peanut butter toast and we where out the door. We brought the plate of cantolope for the road. And the road is exactly where it ended up. It only took a few seconds on their bumpy dirt road to vibrate it off the roof.

Oaxaca has rush hour just like everywhere else, but the route Adam and Dulce always take is extra busy because there are 4 schools along the way. To my surprise this is also an issue on our way home. Apparently because of over population kids either go to school in the morning, or at night. Those same schools are letting out kids around 8pm while we are trying to get home.

I started todays adventure from roughly the same spot as yesterday. Yesterday I ventured north. This morning Adam advised me to avoid a market that would be southwest of me. So I headed east. This would be a quick excursion for a few hours before accompanying Adam on a site visit with a couple of his co-workers.

I was a little south of Oaxaca's colonial area but the neighborhood had a similar feel. Small sidewalks really only big enough for one Nathaniel run along both sides of the street. There are no empty lots. The one story building run the length of the streets wall to wall. Occasionally a two story building pops up. The city is colorful, each property a different bright color. The colorful facades are interrupted by even more colorful doors windows and garage doors.

I've notice over that last couple of days that 1 in 12 cars is a VW Beetle. A little know fact is that VW Beetles were made and sold in Mexico up until the first model year of the VW Bug. They are everywhere, and usually painted in a bright primary color. So I spent this morning looking for Beetle and photographing them against Oaxaca's colorful facades.

That was a fun project to start off the morning but the afternoon was a bit more serious. I had my first experience with the poverty in Oaxaca.

From the headquarters of Manos de Vida Adam and I hopped into a little 4 door nissan pick-up with three of Adams co-workers and headed out towards the city dump.

There are roughly 15,000 people living around the city dump. Years ago many people began squating on this undesirable land and unregulated land. Apparently now the land is being sold very cheaply, however there are little to no services. Its very expensive for the tenants to get electricity installed. There is also no water available so they spend the majority of their income on water delivered by a truck, which isn't really suitable for drinking and is then stored in an oil drum on their property. Few can afford a larger receptacle designed for water. There is also no sueage and Manos de Vida helps provide ecological latrines for the people.

Todays site visit was with the coordinator of the education project named Boni. We started at a school checking enrollment and attendance. Manos de vidas did a survey and the results said that about 35-40 percent of kids in the area where attending school. The goal of this project is to increase these number as well as to build larger and sturdiers school houses with cleans water sources and ecological latrines.

Next we went on a few home visits with locals in the Adult education program. The government makes resources like books available to adult and uses volunteers to help them study to pass primary and secondary certificate exams. The certificates are important for jobs at places like grocery stores. Its also obviously improves their childrens education allowing then to help them with their homework. Manos de Vida works with some of the volunteers and helps to encourages these adults.

Our day ended with homework club at the new community center. The center doesn't have electricity yet, but once it does, Manos de Vida has computers for the student and the adult to use. It is important for the community to buy into the project. The community donated the building, but now Manos de Vida's is waiting for them to raise the money to install electricity.

For homework club I taught a routy groups of 3rd and Fourth graders how to say and spell the part of the body in english as well as the numbers.
I didn't get this blog done in time before I lost my reception heading into the mountains. It is being poster two days late. The Mountains of Oaxaca blog will be poster tomorrow.