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

Gallery 4
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School Life
School Life School Life School Life
On arriving in the mornings, children wait for the school to be opened. An old fashioned wooden-made classroom.
Only a few remain in schools in the whole region.
School Life School Life

No classes today. Cold mornings cause coughing and flu, so playing around the house makes the day.

A typical store to buy candies and sometimes toys at our communities.

 

 

 
Miguel Hidalgo Primary School, San Jerónimo Pilitas, State of México

 

This should be the second Uni-grade school Journey North visits during the season. Families in this community have much fewer children in contrast with the communities around el Rosario. It would be difficult to really know the reasons for this difference at family planning from one community to the other if the region's culture is practically the same.

 

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An impression of the school. Children receiving their symbolic monarchs
and working on their letters of response.
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Car Trouble!

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Another exciting moment in my days delivering Ambassador Butterflies!!!

While visiting a school near the Chincua Sanctuary, I stopped the car to shoot some photos. The moment I returned the car wouldn't start. I was stuck way, way up a steep hill. All around was lonesome as if people did not live in the little houses. I shouted for help in a couple of homes, but nobody responded. At one house, the dogs were loose in the yard and came running towards me! I was a little scared taking some rocks in my hands to throw to them just in case they reached me. Fortunately, as I ran away and threw some rocks to the ground, they stopped. After awhile a man riding a horse appeared, and he and I were able to start the car. Only a momentary failure of the battery. I couldn't take more photos because I had to help push the car! I would have so wished to have someone filming a video.

 
Miguel Hidalgo Secondary School, San Jerónimo Pilitas, State of México

 

This is the only Uni-grade secondary school in the community with only 6 students in the class. The teacher teaches all subjects to the three grades in the same classroom everyday. This kind of school is somewhat at risk to disappear, since keeping a school open at state expense requires keeping a certain minimum number of students in the school (25). If this should happen, these students would have trouble completing their Secondary Instruction, since the nearest school for them is in Palo Amarillo Community, --5 km. average from the community. There is no public transportation to get there, and there is a main part of forest they would have to walk accross to reach the main road for transportation.

 

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An impression of the school. The group responding the letter to U.S. and Canadian counterparts.
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Emiliano Zapata School, Pancho Maya Community, State of México

 

Both in the "Pancho Maya" and "San Jerónimo" (above) communities, teachers working at these schools are hosted by the families in the community during the five weekdays with meals and lodging. They come from far away assigned to teach here. A teacher in our communities is, in general, a highly respected person. On Friday afternoons, when school is over, they travel to their original towns and cities for the weekend.

 

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Children writing and sharing their responses to American and Canadian children.
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Vicente Guerrero Elementary Cevati Community, Cevati Ejido, State of México

 

This school, as all schools around the Chincua Monarch Sanctuary, has a very reduced population. Teachers are assigned to come teacher here by the state. They have to ask for meals and lodging with the families in the community, which they are given promptly with an extremely warm welcoming from parents.

 

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An impression of the school.
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Children receiving their Ambassador butterflies and excited to think about each response they will send back to their northern counterparts.  
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An impression of the school. In this school, 1st - 6th grade students are all in the same classroom.
 
Benito Juárez Elementary Las Jaras Community, Ejido Angangueo, Michoacán

 

This community belonging to the Ejido Angangueo, is very small, and, its school has now such a reduced population, that it represents a special case for the state to keep it open as a uni-grade school. One of the strongest arguments to keep it open is the long distance children would have to walk and travel to reach the nearest school located either in Angangueo or in the bordering community belonging to the state of México.

 

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An impression of the school, which is at a considerable high altitude in the mountains surrounding Angangueo. We have had a very dry winter. The moisture levels are lower than in previous years. See how dry the earth already is. It is still a very long time before the rainy season begins at the end of May- June.

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico

 

Children attentive to the explanation of Estela about Monarchs' life cycle, opening their letters sent by North American and Canadian children. The oldest children, on answering their letters, offer their assistance to assist the youngest classmates in the group.

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No matter how few students at a school surrounding the Monarch butterflies, Journey North reaches the farthest points possible where childrens' lives are linked to Monarch.

 

Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Children receiving their little Oyamel tree this year and waving good bye to Journey North. This season I came to visit them a little later, causing wondering in the children who were asking why Journey North was not arriving to them yet!!! Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
 


Emliano Zapata Elementary San Antonio Community, Ejido Angangueo, Michoacán

 

I cannot remember whether Journey North has ever visited this school before. If so, it was not within the last 6 years. The last three years I came to the school, it was closed because there was not teacher assigned to it and children from the community had to attend school at La Salud community, a long distance from home. This school is located within the Ejido Angangueo. It has only a few students as you can see (although three were absent today). The problem here is that teachers assigned here have problems reaching the school, since the road is in really bad condition, very steep and very much into the mountain, so the absentism from teachers is very high. The school is located near "El Rosario" Sanctuary. I was really happy to have been, I am almost sure, for the first time, this year!

 

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An impression of the view to Angangueo. An impression of the school.
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Children receiving their symbolic Monarchs and working on their letters. They were really excited about our visit guessing what we were bringing for them.

 

Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary Angangueo, Michoacán

 

This school is the biggest Elementary school in Angangueo. Many children attending this school come from the surrounding communities and the southern part of town. Angangueo is a rather big town, with around 15,000 inhabitants, so the density of population at schools is considerable.

 

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6th Grade

6th Grade

5th Grade

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6th Grade

Children opening their letters from their friends in the United States and Canada and responding to them.

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Children attentive to our talk about Monarchs' life cycle and many raising their finger to express their knowledge about it.

Many wear the daily uniform, but others, because of economics limitations or because of the very cold days we have, and not having their uniforms dry enough that day after washing, do not wear it. Washing is done by hand for many families and when having a washing machine, it will rarely include a tumbling system for drying.

Children getting together with their own group/grade, in line, to get instructed by their teachers to go into their classrooms.

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An impression of the school.

 

 
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5th grade working on their letters of response.

Children opening their letters from their friends in the United States and Canada and responding to them.

5th grade working on responding their letter speaking about their family and community life.

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Children attentive and participating in reinforcing their knowledge on the migration of the Monarch butterflies.

 

José Maria Morelos Elementary Angangueo, Michoacán

 

This school has been working normally for one year after the affectations of the floods in 2010, when it was terribly affected. Teacher Martha Loa, an exemplary teacher at the way she knocks doors at every institution looking for support for her school in all senses, including her great interest that Journey North visit them every year.

 

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An impression of the school.   Children getting ordered to go into their classrooms to start the day.
Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico
Among one of our last beautiful faces for the camera this season. Children attentive to Estela reminding of the Monarchs' life cycle daring on them to test how much they have learned on it during the last seasons' talks; some of the children are impressive at asking Estela questions to remember in the future, like the above mentioned!.
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Grade 5
Children showing their ambassador Monarchs anxious to continue seeing where this paper Monarch comes from and who it was sent by.
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Grade 4

Students in this 5th. grade are attentive to Estela daring them to answer a short testing on Monarchs' life cycle without supporting images at all and their teacher Yolanda concerned about the possibility that they might fail and feel dissapointed.

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Barrio Monarca Angangueo, Michoacán

Dear Friends:
Imagine this! I finished my last visit to the last school and discovered ONE SINGLE BUTTERFLY WAS LEFT! It was made by E.L. Bouie School in Lithonia, Georgia and I immediatly knew where I wanted this butterfly to go: The Barrio Monarca

About Barrio Monarca ("Monarch Neighborhood")
This neighborhood will have a new school for a very special population of children for our local society: After the floods in 2010, around 600 families remained homeless in Angangueo. A new neighborhood was build up over the last three years and is almost finished. The Barrio "Monarca" -- the officially given name to this new part of our town by the State authorities and the local society itself-- is located at the western surroundings of Angangueo. Parents have had a hard time getting their children to attend school, since there is no regular, public transportation service, only taxi service which is somewhat expensive.

Now a kindergarten and an elementary school have been constructed by the state, and children are jumping with happiness that the long distances to walk, specially during the winter time early in the morning, will now be over. Journey North dropped the last buttefly of the season at the doors of this new school at the Barrio Monarca, which has not even got a name yet and is still closed waiting for inauguration.

Several children arrived at the moment they saw me getting off my VW, with the flags, the map and some typical toys as a small present for them, at being the first time I step into their little new world and life over there. I gave the group of children the talk about Monarchs' life cycle, about the importance of our region due to their forests and how vital for Monarchs it is that we preserve this, about the vital role the Oyamel trees play for Monarchs' survival, etc.

At first they were somewhat hesitating at wheather listening to me or not. At the end, it was so touching to see them happy about my visit, the small four presents we had to raffle, and their lamentation that I should be back to them until some months later and not within the next days.....Let me then introduce to you the Barrio Monarca, new point of visiting for Journey North for the time to come, opened just today by Ambassador Butterfly from E.L. Bouie School.

It has been, one more season, one more year, full of all kinds of moments, from the laughing to the blocking in my throat, to the tears, but in the end, always to the feeling of being fortune to be part of this project touching the minds and hearts of our hundredths of children, and teachers. Thank you, North American and Canadian Children, Teachers, and Seniors Coordinating and making this project possible this one more year. It has been an honor to have been trusted with this beautiful responsibility.

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My VW approaching Barrio Monarca, to the west of Angangueo.

The Barrio Monarca, where homes were constructed for 600 families whose homes were devastated by the floods in 2010.
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Children listening to Estela to the talk about the Monarch's life cycle. Children writing a letter comparing their former life to their new life in the Barrio "Monarca."
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I brought toys to be raffled as a small present--jump ropes for girls and "trompos" (the most typical old Mexican toys). On the right side, the Ambassador butterfly from E.L. Bouie School awaiting to be read.

 

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A mobile, typical ice-cream car approached and I considered it was the right thing to have for each of the children just finishing their letter.

 
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Life at Barrio Monarca.

A family enjoying the sunny day and their little boy running his beautiful kite.

Estela and the children at Barrio Monarca closing the 2012 - 2013 Journey North season.

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