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The Adventures of the Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico!
Travel with Estela as she delivers your Ambassador Butterflies

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Making Your Own Piñata

 

Elaborating your own piñata is lots of fun for the whole family. Before Christmastime, moms come with their kindergarten children to collaborate in making their children's own piñatas. Take a look and try on your own!

 

Making your own pinata Making your own pinata Making your own pinata
     

Making your own pinata

How to Make a Piñata

  1. Start with a clay pot, or wrap layers of paper around a blown-up ballon. Let it dry to get a paper pot for a base.
  2. Get some firm cardboard to make seven cones around the pot. These represent the seven capital sins in the Christian religion - greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath and lust.
  3. Lots of color paper, glue and scissors and your own creativity will do the rest!!!
 
"Redención del Campesino" School, San Cristóbal Community, Ejido Ocampo, Michoacán

 

This is a school where groups are enormous. We all got together at the auditorium of the school. Children would leave soon after Journey North's presentation, because their community were in big festivity. I have presented the photos of this group in progressive segments, since, besides being it necessary, it started to rain and there was no way to take the group out for a general impression.

 

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies

Arriving to the school.

Grades 5th and 6th grades

 
Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies
     
Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies
     
Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies
 
Rendering Honor to San Cristóbal

 

December 10, 2012
Dear Friends: I've had a splendid day today, since after distributing your ambassador butterflies at "Redención del Campesino" School, I was invited by children and teachers to attend the festivities already taking place at the main square of the little community. Today, they are honoring the image of their Patron Saint San Cristóbal. The way this community celebrate is a genuine and clear proof of the mixture of the indigenous customs and beliefs of our ancestors before the Spanish Conquest, and the adoption of Christianity, once the conquest took place in our land. I really wish you could have seen this live today!

 

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies
Children from our region are mostly too shy, but, to my surprise, this time I was astonished at hearing their little hands clapping in chorus. They loved Journey North's visit, receiving US and Canadian childrens' letters and writing their own letter as response. Rendering honor to San Cristóbal means that the whole community gets together at the main square, everyone assigned with a different task for the big meal and celebration. Tasks go from rude ones, like cutting the enormous meat pieces into smaller for their preparation, while women cook enormous pots with beans-soup...
Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies
...elaborating beautiful crafted flowers from plants grown in the area. ...cutting woods to feed the fire for cooking... ..while grandpa's bake the bread.
Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Monarch Butterflies
No Mexican traditional festivity can go without lots of supreme pirotecnia!!! While all these activities take place, youngsters from all families in the community take turns at performing indigenous music and dancing.
 
Amado Nervo Elementary, Ocampo, Michoacán

 

Break time at school ranges from a small snack to a dining room where mothes prepare delicious Mexican dishes, such as is the case at this school.

 

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies

5th grade

Moms assigned for the week to organize and assist at the daily kermess for their children.

A Soja-Tuna tostada, addressed with cream, mexican salsa and sparkled cheese.

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies

Fried Tacos, Quesadillas, Chilaquiles and a Sope ready to go,dressed with lettuce, cream, sauce and shredded cheese. These dishes cost 5 pesos each.

Girl with "soft" tacos. Soft tacos mean the tortilla is filled, rolled and heated, but not fried in boiling oil.

Ice cream, the best dessert after lunch at breaktime. Children will pay 2, 3 and 5 pesos for a strawberry, vanilla or lemon ice cream.

Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies Students in Mexico receiving Ambassador Butterflies

6th grade

6th grade

5th grade


 

Adolfo López Mateos Elementary Cerro Prieto Community, Ejido El Rosario, Michoacán

 

In many schools in our communities, children under 4th grade are hardly able to read and write, which reflects a big problem of academic progress.

 

Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs

Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs

Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs

The school.

Children recognize me and run to meet me to help carry the box containing their ambassador butterflies.

Last children hurry to reach school on time

Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs

Group photo.
5th. and 6th. grades

 


Ignacio López Rayón Rancho Escondido Ejido El Rosario Michoacán

 

Today, 12th. December, I was lucky to find this school open. Most schools today are in Holiday because it is the day of Virgin of Guadalupe, and small communities in our region render big honor.

 

Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico

The school.

In most elementary schools children line up, grade by grade, before going into their classrooms in the morning and after breaktime.

Estela speaking to children about Monarch's life, the uniqueness of the Oyamel tree and the importance of preserving our forests.

Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico
  Children writing their letter to US and Canadian children  
Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs delivered in Mexico
 
"Lázaro Cárdenas Secondary "Cerro Prieto" Community, Ejido El Rosario Michoacán

 

Maybe this is the only school Journey North visits which counts on a library for its own students.

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
Journey North arriving to the school. Students eating some snacks available at breaktime and play football.
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico The school's library.

 

Lazaro Cardenas Elementary, La Salud Community, Ejido Angangueo, Michoacán

 

Up to now Journey Norh has been around the nearest schools to El Rosario sanctuary, Ejido Ocampo. Now I turn northwards, to the other side of the Sanctuary itself and a little bit farther from it, to continue visiting schools belonging to Ejido Angangueo.

 

Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs
Group photo Children asking for a ride at leaving the school. Other children, having left school already, walking around with their "resortera.
Students in Mexico receiving Symbolic Monarchs The resortera is perhaps one of the oldest hand-made tool-toy Mexican children know. It is used for hunting small animals.  
 
La Salud Telesecondaria La Salud Community, Ejido Angangueo Michoacán

 

This is the only school visited by Journey North over the region which has not electric service. They hope the mining company starting to work in the region will provide it. While visiting Telesecundaria "La Salud", I was invited to stay and share with students and teachers the Posada they organized for Christmas in their last class day right before their vacation started. I lived such a nice experience at photographing their moments together. I hope you can enjoy the so many photos I took for you!!!

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
1st, 2nd. and 3rd. grades   Arriving to the school.
 
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
At the classroom, getting ready with gifts for classmates and delicious Mexican dishes to enjoy together, mainly Tacos with Pozole. Having delcious Pozole and exchanging gifts.

 

While sharing together at the classroom, children behaved mostly very shy, specially at the moment of exchanging their gifts and hugs wishing happy Christmas and New Year to each other. However, once it was time to go into the forest to break the Piñatas, their faces changed to a more confident expression and lots of fun came then!!!

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
Making for the forest, to a good point where to hang the Piñatas, very near to the point where Monarchs are settling right now at the Sanctuaries!. Deciding which Piñata to hang and break first. Every group/grade made from 1 to 2 Piñatas each with their own hands and creativity for decoration!. Hitting the Piñata with the wooden stick results not so easy, since, it HAS GOT TO BE WITH EYES COVERED all the time!
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

 

As soon as everyone realizes that a Piñata is about to break, everybody gets ready to jump up and land on over the bunches of candies and snacks contained at the Piñata. Once, landing on, the the quicker you are to open your arms wide at the ground and closing them in, the more candies and fruits you will trap!. It was necessary to alternate a Piñata for boys and another one for girls, since, at the moment the Piñata breaks and children jump up over the ground to catch the candies and fruits, it can be even dangerous because they all are fierce to get as much as they can!. While the Piñata is being broken, everyone around should be singing typical Mexican songs for Christmas and clapping their hands at the one who finallhy manages to breaks the Piñata.

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
Since the Piñata breaks down into pieces some of these pieces falling down may serve as big containers to store what is being gained little by little. The last piñata to be broken

Teachers organize the cleaning up of the place so that the forest.

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Group photo, with Estela (who couldn't look happier at that moment!) as guest in the Posada this year and thanking the teachers and students for allowing Journey North to be with them one more year!  
 
"Valentín Gómez Farías", Elementary "Aporo" town, Ejido Aporo, Michoacán

 

Aporo is a neighboring Ejido to Angangueo and Ocampo Ejidos, which takes perhaps better care of the exploitation of its forests. On the other hand, Aporo and its communities have the gratest number of native men migrating to work in the United States in the region, so many families here make their living from the money sent by relatives living and working in the USA.

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
4th. grade 5th. grade  
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
6th. grade A general impression of the school.  
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
  At lunch time, some children choose buying some snacks, or others choose going to the dining room to get a more nutritious lunch.  
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
After "The Three Kings" day (January 6), some children carry their toys to school, like dolls in case of girls and nintendos, in case of these boys in the photo In all public schools in our region, when the class time is over, boys and girls at the group have to take turns day by day to clean up the classroom for next day, and this way, to acquire their own responsibility in keeping the classroom space in order. Besides, public schools do not count on cleaning personnel service. Tacheres and students have to arrange themselves with it.
 
Colegio Vasco de Quiroga School Aporo Downtown, Ejido Aporo, Michoacán

 

There are two private schools in the region, both Catholic Schools. This is a San Franciscan school, and, regardless their religious profile,--which, could be said, is driven in a very gentle way in all aspects--, they represent a much too far better option of education for our children regarding academical teaching, which includes English and Computers --which public schools do not teach--, values, discipline, athmosphere, facilities, etc. The fee for each child at this school is $480 pesos per month!. They pay for their nutritious lunch only $5 pesos!. However, a considerable percentage of parents in the region are not able to afford this kind of education for their children.

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Children love to receive stamps and postal cards with the letters from US and Canadian children.

4th Grade

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
Children sharing the letters from US and Canadian children. Group photo. 5th Grade

6th Grade

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Teachers and students express their gratitude to Journey North and Estela for visiting the school this one more year. The queue for buying the nutritious lunch, consisting today of Soja Tostadas, Hibicus Flower Water, Hot Chocolate and Jelly. All for only $5 pesos.
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
  ONLY AFTER A NUTRITIOUS LUNCH, children are allowed to buy some candies. Enjoying lunch and playing. Breaktime-Lunch time at all private and public schools take place at 11:00-11:30 hrs., and it last only 30 minutes; seldom lunch time will take longer than this.
 
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