Our adventurous team of four students, two moms and our spanish teacher/group leader left San Jose, CA early on Saturday morning, Feb 18 and arrived in Mexico City airport. We were greeted by our hosts from Community Links and taken to the house in Cholula, Puebla, that was to be our home for the coming days.
On Sunday we started our week with a lovely breakfast at home which is the traditional Sunday morning food, tortillas, huevos, chicken, beans and cheese. Following that, our orientation to the area included some shopping in town, lots of sightseeing and walking. We were able to see the square in the town center, the Eagle Warrior House Museum, showing fascinating artifacts and paintings of the saints including Saint Teresa of Avila, Miguel the ArchAngel, and San Bernardo. There were many examples of ornate pottery. We continued on to the Church built high on a hill above the pyramid. We climbed up to and visited the very ornate Nuestra Seniora de las Remedios, or our Lady of the Remedies. This is the oldest Catholic church in the Americas! The Church was beautiful and the views from there were breathtaking.
Monday morning we got down to work. Our visit to Ina´s very charming house was a real eye-opener and very educational … the rainwater is accumulated in a big bin high above the house and the yard. The water used in the house and the laundry is then put through several natural filtering steps, grey water is collected and filtered through plant beds where the plants do the work of cleaning the water. A specially designed watering system then fills both spigots and hoses for nourishing all the vegetables, fruits and flowers that are growing there. Ina and her husband Manuel have truly become a part of the cycle of life.
Our project is building a wall which will serve as the side of an herb garden. The first wall was the contribution of a group that preceded us here. We were to build the other wall needed to make an herb garden. First we had to break up the ground so that we could pound in the stakes. Between large bamboo posts, we filled in with reeds from the river, supporting those in place with lava rocks from the volcano. Once the rocks were securely supporting the reeds and bamboo posts, we needed to ¨glue¨ everything together with a mixture of dirt, water and straw. The kids had a great time mixing that with their feet, mud·dancing was a blast! Think grape crushing. That mixture was packed in between the reeds and rocks to form our wall. Too fun! We could now visualize what would be the wall and the herb garden.