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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not nescafe

I have now met several of the men of the pueblo and a couple of the boys and only one of the womyn. The womyn are scarce to be seen, although I glimpse them in doorways and here their laughter floating over fences.

The scarey underworld figure turns out to be a 14 year old caught up in teen angst I’m sure, because he lives in the u.s. for the school year.

He is tall for his age (about as tall as most of the grown men here) and hides behind really dark sunglasses and I can’t really say he has no affect when he speaks, he speaks in a monotone, with no expression, imitating some bad old movie star whose name I can’t remember.

The one womon I meet and hang out a little with is Celia. She is the youngest of 9 children. Since growing up, all of her sisters and brothers, and then her parents, have migrated to the u.s. She is the only one left behind.

I don’t know if she stays here because she wants to but she has never traveled outside the pueblo, except to go to Villanueva. Her face looks terribly sad, and even when I try to make her laugh, her smile doesn’t seem to reach her eyes.

I try to figure out what her eyes are trying to communicate to me: her hard life, her contented life, her happy life, her lonely life?

She has three children, 14, 8 and 3 years old. Celia helps me enunciate my Spanish. She tells me her girls study english in school but she doesn’t speak english although she understands several words I tell her and translates them into Spanish for me.

I try to find out if Celia misses her family. She tells me she cannot get a visa or a green card so she has not gone to the u.s.

She tells me she doesn’t want to go anyway. She loves it here and she has three children to care for – as well as the park. She helps her brother-in-law, Jose, maintain the grounds.

Celia joins me for coffee after she finishes her work but it is too strong for her. She expected nescafe instant coffee, the corporation that has a stronghold in México.   


As I head to the spring, Sabino comes over to talk with me. “Sabino” he says with a huge smile and twinkling eyes, pointing to the tall trees lining the river, “like the name of these trees”.

Sabino points in another direction to the side of the mountain away from the pueblo, telling me he was born there, raised there. He practices his english and allows me to practice Spanish.

Then he sweeps his arms to this side, behind that mountain, over to the other mountain, that side – pointing out the land his grandfather used to own.

And apparently his grandfather owned him too. He tells me three months before he was born, his father was killed in an attempt to cross the border, hidden, trapped inside the belly of a truck that overturned and caught fire.

His grandfather took him from his daughter-in-law when he was less than a year old and raised him. He doesn’t know his mother but thinks she lives in Hermosillo.

He is 64 and retired. He tells me for many, many years he used to spend 6 months in the u.s., 6 months here – long enough to impregnate Maria and leave again. I wonder if he was here for the birth of any of his children.

All 11 of his children live in the u.s. now – Idaho, Oklahoma, Las Vegas, mostly Las Vegas. He is finally retired and able to stay home.

He has done all kinds of work – farm work, laboring work, factory work, whatever he could find – mostly in Oregon, Oklahoma, and Idaho. He was not part of the brasero crime but he knew of men from the pueblo who were, and who were never paid to this day.

Sabino finally was able to get his green card in 1983 or so. The relief erases years off his face as he tells me he no longer has to work illegally in the u.s.

He tells me he lives in town now, with Maria – she no longer wants to live in the mountains with no children and no electricity.

She raised 11 children without electricity??? And with her husband being gone more than here? Maybe his absence made things easier for her. I wonder if Sabino helped with the children when he was home, or if he saw that as her burden, as he sees her keeping the house clean as her burden.

He tells me Maria works all day now, really hard, cleaning the house. They are building another house for a son, I think, maybe for all the children.

I think he tells me he has 60 grandchildren. I can’t fathom that. But I can’t fathom having 11 children either.

Sabino makes me feel so welcome and tells me I should stay as long as I want.

Exploring El Saltre

I’m in heaven for sure! I jog up the road that I came in on. When I drove across the river – without getting stuck, thank you – the road deadened into another road that I turned right on to enter the park. Now I see as I jog down that road, if I had gone to the left there is a little, sweet pueblo.

There are children hanging out at the beginning of the pueblo. I hear them speaking english but I address them in Spanish.  They respond in Spanish and english.

As I enter the pueblo is see it is merely a single row of homes on either side of the road. On my left side, the homes all face the little river so the backs of the homes face the street.

On my right side the homes face the street but tend to be set back from the street and snuggled under the mountain.

Where there is no wall of a building, there is a continuous brick, rock, or cement wall on both sides of the street, either marking the edge of the properties or adjoining the houses together. Through gates and on tippy-toes I can see lovely open dirt spaces with vegetation, horses, chickens, some children and dogs.

And of course, the road empties into a large, empty plaza with a tall lone tree growing just off center. Across the way, there is also the omnipresent but tiny church and a larger tienda with another omnipresent beer sign welcoming you!

There are two little roads off the plaza, both continue to be lined with a few houses and one road leads to the 3 tiny school buildings and another meadow in front of the school where children can play.

Now I understand Hector’s words saying there are 60 people who live here. I thought he meant on the ranches that I saw driving in, but he meant this sweet, little town.

My run from the park to village and back takes me 30 minutes. Time to soak in the hot spring and read a little more!

Balneario: El Saltre

I make it through yet another night in México! Unmolested, unbothered, unattacted. And I’m sure everyone in the area, all 60 people, sin (without) internet and cell phones, knows of my existence here, even the negative energy estadounidense guy with the black sunglasses.

After a sunrise soak and a quick jog around the park, I am deciding to spend the day in bed today! Or at the very least, to ‘sleep in’. There doesn’t seem to be another human being here.

I have come to a beautiful little hot spring snuggled between mountains (that look like those around palm springs but the valley is not as deep) about 5 miles off the main road, I’m guessing. It seemed to take a long time to get here last night, but then I was trying to enjoy the amazing sunset and rushing to make sure I landed before total dark.

Someone has cleared a large grassy area, or maybe it’s a natural meadow, with scattered large shade trees. The tables and fireplaces are certainly manmade and placed beneath the trees.

There is a simple white fence with 2 railings and posts every 6 feet around the property, marking the boundaries, maybe keeping out cattle.

When you first enter through the gates, there are a couple of grey cement buildings on the left up against a mountain side; one is pretty large and could be a home, it’s hard to tell.

The next building is the small store with bottles and bottles of drinks, and maybe some nasty snacks and candies, I don’t know. I was too busy when I first got here, trying to understand the grumpy old man and get him to understand me, so I could park securely and in the correct place.

At the end, a little further down, are bathrooms, with the womyn’s side unlocked – yeah! – and a swimming playland that I’ve been seeing in places all over México. They must be built exclusively for the children, and not for swimming laps or any distances.

For it is not a pool per se, although there are several small pool areas where flying bodies are deposited, as they slip and slither down the many slides and water toy structures.

Opposite the pool area, outside the white fence, and down a small hill is the agua caliente. It is almost rectangular in shape, sectioned off from the rest of the water with a low stone wall, and appears to be at the edge of the same stream/river I had to drive over to get here.

The desert sun is shining so brightly, the wind blowing on occasion fiercely, and now I hear the sound of a cow bellowing, and then an engine starting. Birds cawing but that is it. I hope it is as tranquil here as it seems to be.

I use the bathroom with flushing toilets and hope it is not going into the river, bush my teeth, make coffee, and write. Maybe I’ll really take the day off and read today instead of studying Spanish!

When I warm up, I will go exploring.