Being our busiest month in terms of guests and reservations in the Casa, January flew by and so did February, leaving us all wondering how it could possibly be March already! We had the opportunity to see familiar faces and bring some new friends into the community. Groups of all ages pass through the Casa, but January is often filled with student groups like Bethel College, a Mennonite school from Kansas. We hosted the students at the Casa and coordinated two educational visits for them, visiting the migrant shelter Tochan and Barrio Activo, an organization working with at-risk youth.We also had the pleasure of having the volunteers from the Lutheran Young Adults in Global Mission stay with us once again and Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship, who also visited Tochan and were here training their new international team. The Casa often attracts spiritually minded folk who are interested in service, social justice and internationalism. January was an example of a part of the that diversity we experience here at the Casa.The Casa also provided space to several workshops and visiting groups such the Formational Course on Economies of Solidarity, a year – long course for individuals across the country to learn about the basics of alternative economics in Mexico. We’re hosting all four weekend long sessions at the Casa. We also welcomed for the fourth time the Network of Freelance Journalists. Ten independent journalists and ten photographers spent three days at the Casa in a workshop hosted by groups like Sin Fronteras and Fundar on issues of immigration in Mexico to better communicate the history and context of this critical issue in the press.
In February we also hosted a group of middle school students from Cuernavaca and hosted our annual Board of Directors (Asamblea) meeting. Right now we’re thrilled to have so many Quakers in the Casa thanks to FWCC’s Section of the America’s gathering.
Thanks to our friends and team for giving us a hand in making it through the wonderful and bustling beginning of 2015!
EDUCATION: QUAKER SOCIAL ACTION IN MEXICO LEARNING TOUR
In January the Casa hosted the very first Quaker Social Action in Mexico Learning Tour! The tour lasted nine days with seven participants of Friends from California, Nevada, New Mexico and New York.
We’re happy to say that it was a success for the Casa and for the folks on the tour. Through different visits, speakers, and excursions and conversations, our Friends learned about the work of the Casa de los Amigos, our partner organizations and more about the social context of Mexico. It was a big step for us, representing several years of educational work and a desire to strengthen ties with Friends abroad.
We visited organizations like Huerto Romita, a small urban organic farm here in Mexico City, and the migrant shelter Tochan. Many expressed interest in migration issues, so we also organized a talk and presentation with Los Otros Dreamers. We took a trip to the rural community of Vicente Guerrero, Tlaxcala where we learned about local farming techniques and their activism against GMO corn. We also visited historic sites and the pyramids of Teotihuacán and of course ate great food.
We’re now getting ready to host another visit with eleven Friends from the United States after the Section of the Americas taking place this week in Mexico State. Maybe you can come on the next trip!
En los meses de diciembre y enero tuvimos el placer de dar la bienvenida a dos voluntarios nuevos en la Casa, ¡Solomon y Shinnah! Aquí pueden leer un poco más sobre los nuevos miembros del equipo:
In December and January we welcomed two new volunteers to the Casa team, Solomon and Shinnah! Here you can read more about their interests and intention for their volunteer term.
My name is Solomon and I’ve been a full-time volunteer here in the Casa since December 2014. I’m a teacher from Canada and I’m very interested in alternative education, also concerns of migration, environmental issues, globalization, food and just economics. I’ll be here in the Casa for a year to learn many things concerning said themes and continue the work of our peace programs and hospitality in the Casa. I have a lot of different interests right now, but specifically traditional food and oral history and story-telling. I would like to start a new project to make a recipe book of food and social action that shows a kind of work that we have here in the Casa.
My name is Shinnah Bola and I was a guest in the Casa a year ago for three and a half months. I left for five months to help my sister who is sick with cancer, then returned in October of last year when I decided to send my application to be a volunteer and I now have the honor to participate for a year as a volunteer. I will be working and offering my services to the Casa in reception, breakfasts and participating in meetings. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to work here in the Casa.