I am going to take some time to review the weekend with author Francisco Jimenez ("Panchito") and the project called "Libros sin Fronteras". Many of you already know a bit about this as you have been supporters, volunteers or donors. It all began about one year ago when a few of us in our Spanish conversation class who had been reading the three books by this author decided that it would be a great idea to start a project of literacy in Mexico and invite Panchito to come to SMA. I decided to write immediately and he quickly responded that he would love to come. That began our project and many of us have worked very hard to involve Mexicans, and especially to attempt to get young Mexican children to read (and own) a book. The program morphed over the last year from circles of reading with adults, more to working with children.
Over the summer we did a crowd funding program online (indiegogo) and thanks to many of our friends and family we raised sufficient money for much of the expenses and then also sold books to some, and gave over 200 books to children in SMA and several surrounding communities.
|The angels at La Palma|
Thursday, Nov 14. At the moment that Francisco and Laura arrived, we whisked them away to a small community in the campo (outskirts) of SMA called La Palma. There is an organization called The Rural Education Institute of Mexico, Inc. (www.ruralmex.org) which runs several programs in this community for children who are provided life skills to better their future. These 25 children had all read the book "Cajas de Carton" and had individually prepared questions to ask Francisco. As he arrived, he went around the room and shook the hands of each of the young people with a few words for each of them.
|At Los Milagros - eating Mocajates|
|Listening intently in Sala Quetzal|
|Before the class|
|Jose's conversation class at Juan's Cafe|
Afterwards he went to Juan's Cafe to attend a small conversation class with Jose.
|Jose and I introducing Panchito|
The following, from a friend, sums up the night for her, and I am sure for many others:
It was one of the most interesting forums we have attended. Like a number of people in the audience, I grew up in CA and had contact with migrant families both in childhood and (much later), adulthood. Consequently, it was utterly fascinating to hear his story and reflections, especially in light of learning more about Mexican culture by living here.
And the BONUS was we got to practice Spanish comprehension!
|A tour of the library after the talk|
|Sandra and Eduardo of the Biblioteca present a plaque to Francisco|
|Walking across the river|
|Lucha and her brother|
|On the bus to cross the river again.|
|Ready for a fiesta|
|The breakfast gang|
|Celebrating SMA style|
So, all in all, a fantastic weekend. THANKS to all our supporters, sponsors, family and friends. We think that there were close to 500 who attended the various events, we purchased about 335 books and gave away 225. AND, thanks to everyone we covered all our expenses and we have an extra $200 to go towards next year's Libros sin Fronteras events. We are already thinking about what is next....anyone with thoughts or ideas - send them along.
Most thanks go to Francisco and Laura for a wonderful weekend.