Category Archives: Family

My Holiday Trip

Not being employed full time (yet) has given me the chance to visit family for the holidays. Not saying that food is my favorite part of holidays and family…but it might be!

Christmas Eve dinner: Ricotta and Spinach Cannoli and Shrimp...all homemade!

Chocolate yule log cake with cookie mushrooms

Inside of the yule log cake

Holidays have come and gone now..next comes New Years resolutions…

ProWorld and Hijos de la Luna

“¡Ayuda me!” Three young children yelled as they pulled me by the hand to the tire swing and then again to help them ride a bike without training wheels. I should have learned how to say “share” in Spanish before my project visit. It’s “compartir” for future reference.

Last week, through my internship with ProWorld, an adventure travel company that offers volunteer, internship, and study abroad opportunities for individuals and faculty-led groups with community projects in developing countries, I was lucky enough to visit one of the organizations that ProWorld works with in Oaxaca: Casa Hogar Hijos de la Luna de Oaxaca. Casa Hogar Hijos de la Luna, which translates to “Home for Children of the Moon of Oaxaca”, is a nonprofit organization that is taking a stand for children’s rights. The organization serves as an orphanage run by María Socorro Ramirez González.

In 2001, Doña Coco, as the children call María González, saw the need for a solution to Oaxaca’s rise in impoverished women and children. In those past ten years, Hijos has cared for more than 100 children.  The first children she took in were a 17-month-old girl and her seven-year-old brother. Their mother, single, without the support of a family, had little financial resources and had to work at night. Since then, more and more mothers in similar situations brought their children to Doña Coco.

Doña Coco, along with a small group of family and friends who support her and the orphanage, is currently caring for 50 children from 3 weeks to 12 years old. Most of the mothers that bring their children here have had very hard lives themselves and struggle to make a living by working nights. (The night work of the mothers is the reason for the name of the organization.) After their mothers drop them off, they sometimes visit once a month or once a year if ever, making Hijos de la Luna more like an orphanage than the day care setting that I first pictured it to be.

With the help of donors, friends and family, Hijos de la Luna has been transformed from an apartment to a large renovated building on the property. The home has two baths, two dormitories, a kitchen, a large space for play and work, an office, a laundry and a garden.

I admire Doña Coco for her commitment to creating an environment of respect, love and safety in such a tough situation. Such a warm and giving person deserves all the help and support she can get to improve and further all of the amazing work she does.

Hijos de la Luna does everything from feeding, bathing and clothing the children to taking them to school and helping them with homework. The more positive interactions and support the children can get, the better their future will be.

ProWorld has been working with Hijos de la Luna for almost seven years. ProWorld provides support for Hijos de la Luna and over 20 other nonprofits in Oaxaca by sending volunteers and donations. This partnership furthers ProWorld’s goal of creating global citizens who can make a difference, one volunteer at a time. To get more information on volunteering at Hijos de la Luna with ProWorld, visit www.proworldvolunteers.org.

Two other volunteers there for the day, one a ProWorld employee from California living in Oaxaca for the past year and the other a volunteer from Austria traveling around Latin America. The Austrian volunteer is caring for 3 month old Luis.

These desks outside are where the children eat and play everyday.

This and the next picture are the only ones I got of myself with kids.

(Not a great picture but the girls are cute)

ProMexico employee, Teresa, playing jump rope with some girls. She went to a jump rope camp when she was young!

A local girl volunteers with the kids too.

most of the kids were so happy to have us there as you can see

This little girl I was playing with for a while walked me over to the baby seat and I rocked her as she fell asleep. Muy preciosa! I just wanted to watch her sleep all afternoon!

Pre-departure Post 2: La familia

People are always surprised to hear that I only have one cousin. I am used to my small family. Holiday gatherings usually consist of my sister, my mom, my grandparents, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and myself.

My Mexican home stay family is quite different though. Magda and Pedro are in their fifties with 3 children. Their 19-year-old daughter lives at home with them; their son, 23, likes to spend time with their guests practicing English and showing them around; and their 28-year-old daughter has brought them 6 (I think) grandchildren.

I hear their neighborhood, Colonia Reforma, is a great one- filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars on many shady, flower-filled streets.

I am so excited to meet them! I really want to take advantage of having a family in Mexico by appreciating them opening their home to me, asking them questions about their lives, spending time with them, learning from them, and more.

I still have to get them a gift before I leave Thursday night!

Graduation photos

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Pictures from my mom, graduation June 11, 2011. Cal Poly Journalism.