Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Libros sin Fronteras weekend in San Miguel de Allende

Viola Canales touches the hearts of young and old

Viola Canales

I want to share with you some highlights and photos from the visit of Libros sin Fronteras' invited author, Viola Canales to the community of San Miguel de Allende, MX.  She arrived late Wednesday and then began a whirlwind tour reaching well over 400 people during the weekend. 

The children reading in unison with Viola
Thursday morning at 11 was an appearance at the school at Las Clavallinas in the campo. This community is approximately 45 minutes outside SMA with very limited public transportation. Several of the Libros sin Fronteras team carpooled to this community and then to the rural community of Estancia de San Antonio for an afternoon event. All the students were well prepared with questions about the book and there was a wall display at Estancia with artwork, questions, reviews of the book, etc. 
Outside the classroom at Las Clavallinas
Art are writing projects based on
the book "El Gusano de Tequila"

After each of the talks, Viola spent time signing each book with a few kind words of encouragement to each of the children.
Signing each book with a few words for
each child of encouragement
signing books in Estancia de San Antonio
Some of the children in Estancia de San Antonio
Thursday night was the Literary Sala talk "Bridging Two Worlds, as a Storyteller" and Viola here touched the hearts of the adult expat community of San Miguel. These attendees did not need to be convinced of the need for literacy and Viola took the opportunity to speak about her several books and her connection to the stories and rituals of her childhood Mexican experiences, encouraging everyone to find their "don" (inner light or gift to share with their community and world).

On Friday morning the Libros sin Fronteras team headed to the community of Cruz del Palmar. As we headed out, there was a bus sent to pick up children from La Palma and Los Ricos to bring them to Cruz del Palmar and an opportunity for the children to be together from several rural communities. This event was attended by several mamas and abuelitas (grandmothers) and often Viola referred directly to them when talking about her life and her book. It was the memory of her family and the childhood memories that are so very much a part of her life.

The children of one of the visiting schools had all made drawings for Viola, and are seen here showing them off before presenting them to her.  Viola wound up with quite a sizable  pile to take home and some will be displayed here in SMA in the future.
Displaying the art work by the students from Los Ricos
Consejo Turistico in SMA
Introducing LsF in Spanish
Saturday morning was a very well attended event for the local community - mostly children. Here again there was transportation arranged to bring the rural communities of San Miguel Viejo (Ojala-Ninos) and the community of El Huizachal to San Miguel. I introduced Viola in Spanish for this event and after talking to the enthusiastic crowd, reading from her novel and her latest publication, a book of poems, Viola invited Hortensia (Horte) to the microphone to share her success story and the success of Libros sin Fronteras. Horte, from El Huitzachal, started reading Cajas de Cartón, the book from last year's author, Francisco Jimenez, along with her children and then with the encouragement of some of the LsF team members, she finished her high school equivalency and then with the help of LsF and Mujeres en Cambio, she received a 4 year scholarship to the University Allende to study nursing. She is now in her first year of study. She shared with the audience how hard she works, how education and reading are so important in her life and how each person can go on to study as she has. She was so comfortable with a mic in her hands and really touched us all. 

Horte shares her experience with the audience
Viola reading from her new book of poetry

Walking through the crowd

Viola's 4 books
Sunday morning was the last event of the weekend at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of SMA where Viola once again had an overflow crowd to hear her talk entitled "Living Life with Ritual, Sparking the Spiritual". She shared again stories from her book and how she connects rituals of Mexican culture into her life and encouraged all, once again, to find their "don" or gift to the world.

These 4 days were the culmination of our 2014 program and the success was tremendous. We exceeded our fundraising goal (and so money is being saved for the next year's program) and we purchased 380 books which were disbursed to children in very rural communities. We know that we have touched the hearts of so many children and also connected with many adults, both Mexican and foreigners. We thank ALL of you reading this weekend review for your support, both as volunteers and especially as financial donors. It is with your help that this project happens. Please stay in touch for news of our next year's author and book.