Monday, March 14, 2011

From Guadalajara Art Store ... to an Orphanage

These pages cover a wide range of experiences in the Lake Chapala area. All the way from what we thought would be a fun trip to Guadalajara to check out art stores back down to nearby orphanages. Sit back and I'll give you guided tour.

I'd asked around local artists to check out available art supplies and was told the two best sources were two art stores in Guadalajara. Now we should have gotten a clue about how the search would go when we found neither of the stores had street addresses, only one street name. We'd also been given the "last resort" suggestion to get to the big city and hire a cab to take us to both stores. Ro had an address on the same street and attempted to follow the street around to the art store, but the street ended, abruptly. We tried running the shopping center location of one art store in the GPS "Points of Interest" and - WHELLAH - it took us there!!! This store, of the two suggested, was said to have everything. So, I was jazzed, hoping to find quality watercolor materials . . . but, nope. Still only student grade Winsor-Newton pigments, a WC paper of "acid-free" quality (those of us who have experienced "100% rag" can never go back), and brushes that don't even come to a point (and that was the very best brush they had). By the time we'd found the store, gotten something to eat and had a toasty warm coffee, we surely had no time nor energy to look for the second store. As quickly as possible we exited the big city . . . and beat feet quick, back to Ajijic!

As Christmas day approached, Roland and I were percolating into what or to whom we would dedicate our "annual holiday gifting" this year. Usually we invest in an animal or group of animals from Heifer International. And if you aren't familiar with this fantastic group, I strongly suggest you check it out:

But this year we wanted our gift to go somewhere in Mexico, local, here. We'd talked about selecting one of the native peoples who consistently ask for donations in the streets or the neighboring people on our street. But I wondered how we could explain to them what/why we were doing what we wanted to do. These are a very proud people and I surely didn't want to offend anyone!

I had noticed an ad in the local English-speaking monthly magazine that requested that the five orphanages not be forgotten in everyone's holiday giving. I offered up the page for Ro to examine, and we narrowed it down to the closest facility, and one we could easily find to visit in person. The "Centro Amor En Accion" won out!! We used our trusty GPS with the address, and yes, that got us to the street. We stopped the car where the street number should have been. But, as we've learned . . . street numbers do not go in sequence here in Mexico. Oh my.

Well, once again we are blessed with the kindness of the Mexican people. This lovely woman walking home detects were are looking for something we're not finding and looks at our magazine page for the address. She points us down the street "by that blue car there" and there we found the orphanage. We were greeted at the gate by a gentleman who got in touch with the director. This bi-lingual lady chattered with us as we asked about her children, how many, how long may they live here (up to when they are children and even some may stay past when they are out in the working world). There were beautifully kept grounds, numerous buildings and smiling children sprinkled around.

I yearned to take photos, but wanted to honor the dignity of these special children, so didn't. The smiling faces I've used in my journal are from the magazine page ad . . . and it well represents those precious young spirits. We left there smiling too ~ knowing how blessed we really are.

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