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Posts Tagged ‘mexico’

Photo: Bobby Bascomb.
Gabions are baskets of rocks that Valer Clark places in stream beds to hold onto infrequent and precious rainfall at her ranch in Agua Prieta, Mexico.

Today I’m passing along some ideas for conserving water in dry areas. They come from a rancher in Mexico but could work elsewhere.

At the environmental radio show Living on Earth, “Bobby Bascomb visits acclaimed land preservationist Valer Clark at her ranch, Cahone Bonito, in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Valer has been a steward of dried-up lands in Mexico and the southwestern US since she purchased this property in the 1970’s, and she’s dedicated herself to finding ways to restore and maintain it. …

“BOBBY BASCOMB: For a couple months each year the region is awash with water from the seasonal monsoons. The normally dry river beds fill with flood water and swell to create habitat for all manner of water birds and amphibians. The watery paradise is short-lived though, and most of those streams dry up in a matter of weeks. But that wasn’t always the case. A network of streams, rivers and wetlands once crisscrossed the landscape. In fact, more than 150 years ago, around the time of the Civil War, people in the region struggled with malaria, a mosquito-born illness typically associated with tropical wet climates. Last year, I went to Mexico and I found a ranch owner that’s working on ways to keep some of that water on the land longer.

“My journey starts at the Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona. … The opulence of the hotel hints at an earlier time of prosperity and wealth. Valer says the whole region, north and south of the border, was made rich more than 100 years ago by the same things.

“VALER CLARK: This was copper, cotton, and cattle. The three Cs, you know, all in the early 1900s.

“BASCOMB: Those three Cs made a lot of money but heavily degraded the land. Before the arrival of settlers the region didn’t have much water but there were some dense grasslands. Forests grew alongside rivers that meandered across the open landscape. And wetlands popped up every 20 or 30 miles along those rivers. But when Valer first visited back in the 70s, decades of mining and agriculture left the arid soil dry and cracked, few trees remained and the river beds were deeply eroded.

“Valer [and] her husband at the time were traveling in Mexico and fell in love with the austere land. The wildness of the open parched landscape drew them in.

“CLARK: We just came across this ranch, by accident. And he said, Well, why don’t we bid on it, and I bid so low, I didn’t think we’d ever get it. … When I got here and started seeing the lack of water and seeing the situation, what it looked like, and the hills were bare, and there was no grass. And I thought I wonder if you could make a change. …

“BASCOMB: Valer eventually bought and rehabilitated some 150,000 acres of land in northern Mexico and the Southwest US. [Her] work here has been transformative, says Ron Pulliam.

“RON PULLIUM: There are four great geological forces: there’s volcanism, plate tectonics, there’s erosion. And there’s Valer. …

“BASCOMB: Ron is an ecologist, formerly with the US Department of Interior, and founder of the nonprofit Borderlands Restoration Network. … I pile into a pickup truck with Ron. Valer, in her own truck, leads the way out of Douglas, Arizona and across the border to Agua Prieta, … We leave behind the maquiladora factories in the duty-free trade zone of Agua Prieta and drive an hour southeast to Valer’s ranch. Pavement and two-story buildings give way to dusty soil and brittle pale green grass. To me, as a New Englander, the landscape looks rather inhospitable, but Ron says this is prime cattle grazing territory.

“PULLIAM: Generally speaking now, the stocking ratios are on the order of one cow to one hundred or two hundred acres in this area. And then think of around the turn of the century, 100 times that number of cows. … If you put hundreds of cows out on a small area here you basically reduce all the ground cover. So, when the rain comes it just runs off the land rather than being caught up in the vegetation.

“BASCOMB: And keeping that rainwater on the land is the fundamental key to what Valer is doing to rehabilitate her property. More water will mean more grass and trees, habitat for the wildlife that was once common here. … She takes me on a walk around her property. …

“CLARK: This is what we call a gabion, which is a wire basket that is filled with rocks. …

“BASCOMB: They’re about 3 feet tall, some just 5 or 6 feet wide, others more than a hundred feet across. Valer and her crew have built more than 20,000 of them on her property. They all sit in riverbeds which are dry most of the year until the monsoon rains come. That’s when the gabions get to work. They slow down the water rushing through the river bed so silt can accumulate behind them, like a sponge.

“CLARK: And that sponge holds the water. And so the water, instead of just whipping through fast, when it rains, 30% of it’s held back and goes into the ground. And so it filters down very slowly. …

“BASCOMB: Those pools of water are home to insects, birds, rare frogs, and endangered fish species.

“CLARK: And trees, all these trees coming up, they’re a result of having water here. … Some of them grow 10 feet a year. … We’ve seen ocelot, we’ve seen bobcats and lions and bears and coatimundis and javelinas, ring tailed cats.”

More at Living on Earth, here.

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Photo: Kendal Blust/KJZZ via Fronteras.
These eelgrass seeds are fresh from the sea.
Mexico’s indigenous Comcáac people have managed to protect 96% of the precious eelgrass that grows in their region.

I have long known about beach grass and how it can hold the dunes and protect the land in a hurricane. I know about how easily the roots die if you walk on beach grass and why, when “Keep Off the Dunes” signs aren’t obeyed, houses wash away.

But I’m learning there’s another fragile grass that helps the environment. This one lives in the sea and captures carbon.

Sam Schramski has the story at Public Radio International’s the World.

“At a two-day festival on the coast of northern Mexico [last] month, scientists, chefs and local residents gathered to celebrate eelgrass — a unique type of seagrass that grows in the Gulf of California. 

“Seagrass is on the decline in the world’s oceans, but the Indigenous Comcáac people who live in the region have managed to protect the eelgrass that grows in their waters. 

” ‘From my parents, I learned about medicinal plants and the songs of plants, as well as about traditional foods,’ said Laura Molina, who is Comcáac.

“She remembers how her mom made tortillas out of flour ground from eelgrass seeds known as xnois in Comcáac language, a mix between wild rice and nori seaweed. 

Seagrass is getting a lot of attention these days because of its capacity to store carbon, estimated to sequester up to half the so-called ‘blue carbon’ in the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems — putting it on par with global forests.

“Ángel León, a Spanish chef and owner of Aponiente restaurant, has made it his personal mission to protect threatened seagrass beds off the Spanish coast. He’s interested not only in the plant’s environmental benefits but also its culinary potential in the kitchen as a nutrient-rich superfood. …

“Seagrass is down about 30% globally since the late 1800s. Through León’s restaurant and related nongovernmental organizations, he has heavily financed seagrass restoration projects.” More at the World, here. Listen to the audio version there.

Kendal Blust at Fronteras also wrote about the festival: “In the small Comcaac village of Punta Chueca, on the Sonoran coast of the Gulf of California, a group of women gathered around a white sheet piled high with dried zostera marina, or eelgrass.

“One woman sang an ancestral song dedicated to the plant, known as hataam, as others beat the dried eelgrass and rubbed it between their palms to remove its small, green seeds. Xnois, as the seeds are known in the Comcaac language, cmiique iitom, are an ancestral food.

“ ‘The Comcaac are the only people, the only Indigenous group, that consumes the seed,’ said Erika Barnett, a Punta Chueca resident who has been heavily involved in restoration efforts.

“Eelgrass seed has been a part of their culture for millennia, she said. Traditionally, the flour was used to make tortillas and a hot drink combined with honey and sea turtle oil. And because it’s quite filling, it used to be carried by Comcaac during sea journeys. …

“Barnett said her great-grandparents were probably the last members of her family to collect and eat the xnois seeds. Her father, now 76, last tasted it when he was just 7.

” ‘That’s was the last time he ate it,’ she said. ‘It’s very ancient, but it’s no longer eaten like it used to be, and most younger people have never tasted it. So this effort is really rescuing our culture.’ …

“Now, Barnett is part of a team working to bring the tradition back to their community — both because of the plant’s nutritional value and its ecological benefits. Eelgrass creates habitat for sea turtles and fish, protects the coastline and captures carbon.

“ ‘It’s important for us to revive these traditions so they can be passed on to future generations,’ she said. ‘But I think we need to show the community that it can be done, first. That it’s hard, but we can harvest the seeds.’

“So for weeks in April, a group of women and girls harvested eelgrass the way their ancestors would have. They waded into the sea to collect plants floating near the shore, then dried, thrashed and winnowed them. …

“ ‘One of the missions of Aponiente is to look to the sea with hunger,’ said Greg Martinez, a chef and biologist. … Martinez said the restaurant is committed to discovering the gastronomic potential in the ocean, both for our health and for the planet.

“And eelgrass has a lot of potential. For one thing, it captures and holds carbon below the water’s surface. Known as blue carbon, it can help mitigate climate change.

“ ‘But it doesn’t only sequester carbon,’ Martinez said. ‘It also protects coastlines. It serves as a habitat for thousands of different species that come to breed in their protection. It buffers waves so if you have a tsunami or another storm it protects the coastline in that way as well.’

“Despite the swath of ecosystem services seagrasses provide, however, seagrass beds currently are disappearing from the world’s oceans, he said. And that makes it especially important to protect the abundant meadows in the Canal del Infiernillo, a channel between the coast and the massive Tiburon Island that is entirely within Comcaac territory.”

More at Fronteras, here. Nice pictures. Both news sites are free of firewalls.

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Photo: World Housing.
In a tiny village on the outskirts of Nacajuca, Mexico, builders are creating new homes using an oversize 3-D printer.

Pop-up temporary cabins, 3-D-printed buildings: whether such super-cheap housing is a good idea or not, it’s probably the wave of the future because we are so far behind providing shelter for all. Typhoons, floods, entrenched poverty, opioid devastation. All require new solutions to homelessness.

First, let’s take a look at 3-D homes in Mexico.

Debra Kamin reports at the New York Times, “Pedro García Hernández, 48, is a carpenter in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco, a rainforest-shrouded region of the country where about half of the residents live below the poverty line.

“He ekes out a living making about 2,500 pesos ($125.17) a month from a tiny workspace inside the home he shares with his wife, Patrona, and their daughter, Yareli. The home has dirt floors, and during Tabasco’s long rainy season, it’s prone to flooding. Dust from his construction projects coats nearly everything in the home, clinging to the bedroom walls, the pump toilet and the counters of his makeshift kitchen.

“But that will soon change. In a matter of months, Mr. Hernández and his family are moving to a new home on the outskirts of Nacajuca, Mexico: a sleek, 500-square-foot building with two bedrooms, a finished kitchen and bath, and indoor plumbing. What’s most unusual about the home is that it was made with an 11-foot-tall three-dimensional printer. …

“And now, the era of the 3-D printed community has arrived. Mr. Hernández’s home is one of 500 being built by New Story, a San Francisco nonprofit organization focused on providing housing solutions to communities in extreme poverty, in partnership with Échale, a social housing production company in Mexico, and Icon, a construction technology company in Austin, Texas.

“When New Story broke ground on the village in 2019, it was called the world’s first community of 3-D printed homes. Two years and a pandemic later, 200 homes either are under construction or have been completed, 10 of which were printed on site by Icon’s Vulcan II printer. Plans for roads, a soccer field, a school, a market and a library are in the works.

“Single-family homes are a good testing ground for the durability of 3-D printed construction because they are small and offer a repetitive design process without much height, said Henry D’Esposito, who leads construction research at JLL, a commercial real estate firm.

They can also be constructed to tolerate natural disasters: Nacajuca sits in a seismic zone, and the homes there have already withstood a magnitude 7.4 earthquake. …

“ ‘We know that being able to build more quickly, without sacrificing quality, is something that we have to make huge leaps on if we’re going to even make a dent on the issue of housing in our lifetime,’ said Brett Hagler, New Story’s chief executive and one of four founders.

“The organization was started in 2015, shortly after Mr. Hagler took a trip to Haiti and saw families still living in tents years after the 2010 earthquake there. Across the globe, 1.6 billion people live with inadequate housing, according to Habitat for Humanity. …

“Speed is only one factor in bringing a village to completion — New Story has teamed up with local officials in Tabasco to bring sewage services, electricity and water to the community.

“Mr. Hernández, who has plans to expand his construction business to a larger space in his new home, said he was not focused on a move-in date. He cares about the long-term impact the home will have for his daughter, who is studying to become a nurse.

“ ‘When we receive the house, my daughter will be able to rely on it,’ he said. ‘She won’t have to worry anymore.’ ”

Meanwhile in Boston, construction crews have been working on a pop-up, temporary community to relieve the pressure at a trouble spot known locally as Mass and Cass.

Milton J. Valencia reports at the Boston Globe, “The crews had already built new pop-up cabins over the last two weeks. And on this day, they were digging through concrete to connect to water and sewer lines, putting the finishing touches on a new, makeshift cottage community to house people who are homeless.

“The pop-up community — which could be fully operational by Monday — is just one piece of what state and city officials hope will be the solution to a sprawling tent encampment at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, what has become the epicenter of the region’s opioid crisis.

Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe.
An inside view of one of the temporary cottages on the grounds of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital campus.

“Seventeen sleeping cabins, ranging in size from 64 to 100 square feet, are lined up in two rows. At one end is a courtyard. And at the front of the village is a 500-square-foot structure that will serve as a common room, where those living there can gather for meals or counseling. Other services — to help treat addiction or mental illness — will be available at the site. And at the end of the day, those living there can retire to their own personal sleeping space. …

“As city officials and social workers push people to leave their tent encampments near the Mass. and Cass intersection, they invite them to the new cottage community, marketing it as a temporary but appealing option that could serve as a warmer, safer transition to long-term housing.”

Will there, in fact, be safer, long-term housing? That is the question.

More on 3-D homes at the Times, here, and on Boston’s pop-up community at the Globe, here.

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Photo: The Nature Conservancy
In a race against time, the “Brigade” works to save Mexico’s coral reefs and to spread the word on a new funding idea — a hurricane insurance policy.

I’ve been reading a compelling fantasy novel about travel to different worlds that, like other fantasies I’ve read recently, underscores something important about the real world. We are destroying it.

A New York Times article by Catrin Einhorn and Christopher Flavelle focuses on a group in Mexico saving one beautiful piece of our planet, using a different way of funding the work. It’s controversial, but see what you think.

“When Hurricane Delta hit Puerto Morelos, Mexico, in October, a team known as the Brigade waited anxiously for the sea to quiet. The group, an assortment of tour guides, diving instructors, park rangers, fishermen and researchers, needed to get in the water as soon as possible. The coral reef that protects their town — an undersea forest of living limestone branches that blunted the storm’s destructive power — had taken a beating. Now it was their turn to help the reef, and they didn’t have much time.

“ ‘We’re like paramedics,’ said María del Carmen García Rivas, director of the national park that manages the reef and a leader of the Brigade. When broken corals roll around and get buried in the sand, they soon die. But pieces can be saved if they are fastened back onto the reef. …

“The race to repair the reef is more than an ecological fight; it’s also a radical experiment in finance. The reef could be the first natural structure in the world with its own insurance policy, according to environmental groups and insurance companies. And Hurricane Delta’s force triggered the first payout — about $850,000 to be used for the reef’s repairs. …

“When the Brigade laid eyes on their reef, which runs 28 kilometers south of Cancún and is home to critically endangered elkhorn coral, it looked ransacked. Structures the size of bathtubs were flipped upside down. Coral stalks lay like felled trees. Countless smaller fragments of broken coral coated the seafloor.

“On the boat, cement mixers prepared a special paste that snorkelers ferried down to divers who spent hours underwater carefully fastening pieces back on the reef. They used inflatable bags to turn over large formations rolled by the storm and collected fragments to seed new colonies. …

“Back in 2015, Kathy Baughman McLeod, who was then director of climate risk and resilience at the Nature Conservancy, asked a profound question: Could you design an insurance policy for a coral reef?

“On its face, the idea might have seemed absurd. For starters, nobody owns a reef, so who would even buy the policy? And it’s not easy assessing the damage to something that’s underwater.

“But Ms. Baughman McLeod, along with Alex Kaplan, then a senior executive at Swiss Re, a leading insurance company, came up with workarounds. First, the policy could be purchased by those who benefit from the reef — in this case, the state of Quintana Roo, which is also home to Cancún and Tulum and has a tourism economy estimated at more than $9 billion. …

“Second, rather than basing the payout on reef damage, it could be triggered by something far easier to measure: The storm’s wind speed. The stronger the wind, the worse the assumed damage to the reef.

“The idea of putting a dollar value on a reef or ecosystem by identifying a ‘service’ that it provides has become increasingly popular. For example, coastal salt marshes protect from flooding — offering economic benefits on top of environmental ones. Peat bogs store vast amounts of carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere where it would worsen global warming. And coral reefs reduce the energy of waves by 97 percent, protecting coastal properties.

“But this notion of ‘ecosystem services’ is controversial in some circles.

“ ‘It’s a popular concept because it commodifies nature and it allows people to put a dollar value on nature,’ said Terry Hughes, who directs a center for coral reef studies at James Cook University in Australia. ‘But it’s very anthropocentric and it’s certainly not about protecting nature for nature’s worth. It’s almost kind of selfish.’

If you look at it from the reef’s perspective, Dr. Hughes said, hurricanes are the least of its problems. Climate change, coastal pollution and overfishing are far greater threats.

“But given the scale of the planet’s intertwined environmental emergencies — not only climate change but the collapse in biodiversity — conservationists say they must be pragmatic. More than a million species are at risk of extinction, including many coral species.

“And in Puerto Morelos, monetizing the reef had the almost ironic consequence of helping some in the community understand that it is actually invaluable. ‘My experience with the Brigade has changed my thinking so much,’ said Alejandro Chan, who takes tourists sport fishing and snorkeling. ‘I have to help the reef.’ …

“ ‘If the insurance money had been available in a timely manner,’ said Claudia Padilla, a researcher at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute in Mexico, which developed the Brigade’s hurricane response protocols and trained its members, ‘the results of the rescue effort could have been greatly multiplied.’

“Still, the money will be put to its intended purpose of restoration, funding longer-term projects like seeding of new colonies and replenishment of reef biodiversity. And Mr. Secaira of the Nature Conservancy believes that the rest of the world will use Quintana Roo as proof of concept.

“Indeed, as the Brigade was at work in Puerto Morelos, a bill in Guam’s Legislature sought to evaluate insuring a reef there. Training is underway in other locations in Mexico, Belize and Honduras.”

Hat tip: Hannah. More at the New York Times, here.

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ranching_gabions

Photo: Bobby Bascomb
Gabions are baskets of rocks that Valer Clark places in stream beds to slow the water as it rushes through in the rainy season. They’re part of her work to bring dried-up land back to life.

Having woken up today to more US nuttiness (our whole family could visit Erik’s mom in Sweden and bring back whatever germs might be there, but she herself will have to postpone her trip to visit grandchildren because she’s Swedish), I decided to focus on an American actually doing good in the world.

In this episode of Living on Earth, Bobby Bascomb visits land preservationist Valer Clark at her ranch in Agua Prieta, Mexico. …

“BOBBY BASCOMB: Today the lands of the Southwestern US and Northern Mexico are considered desert or semi-arid. But for a couple months each year the region is awash with water from the seasonal monsoons. The normally dry river beds fill with flood water and swell to create habitat for all manner of water birds and amphibians. The watery paradise is short lived though, and most of those streams dry up in a matter of weeks.

“But that wasn’t always the case. A network of streams, rivers and wetlands once crisscrossed the landscape. In fact, more than 150 years ago, around the time of the Civil War, people in the region struggled with malaria, a mosquito-born illness typically associated with tropical wet climates. In Mexico, I found a ranch owner that’s working on ways to keep some of that water on the land longer. … My journey starts at the Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona. ..

“The opulence of the hotel hints at an earlier time of prosperity and wealth. Valer says the whole region, north and south of the border, was made rich more than 100 years ago by the same things.

“VALER CLARK: This was copper, cotton, and cattle. The three Cs, you know, all in the early 1900s.

“BASCOMB: Those three Cs made a lot of money but heavily degraded the land. … When Valer first visited back in the 70s, decades of mining and agriculture left the arid soil dry and cracked, few trees remained and the river beds were deeply eroded. …

“CLARK: When I got here and started seeing the lack of water and seeing the situation, what it looked like, and the hills were bare, and there was no grass. And I thought I wonder if you could make a change. I wonder if there’s something you can do about this. …

“BASCOMB: Valer eventually bought and rehabilitated some 150,000 acres of land in northern Mexico and the Southwest US. That’s more than 10 times the size of Manhattan. And her work here has been transformative, says Ron Pulliam, … an ecologist, formerly with the US Department of Interior, and founder of the nonprofit Borderlands Restoration Network. …

“PULLIAM:  If you put hundreds of cows out on a small area here, you basically reduce all the ground cover. So, when the rain comes it just runs off the land rather than being caught up in the vegetation.

“BASCOMB: And keeping that rainwater on the land is the fundamental key to what Valer is doing to rehabilitate her property. More water will mean more grass and trees, habitat for the wildlife that was once common here. It’s sort of a build it and they will come philosophy. …

“CLARK: This is what we call a gabion, which is a wire basket that is filled with rocks.

“BASCOMB: That’s it, a wire basket full of rocks. They’re about 3 feet tall, some just 5 or 6 feet wide, others more than a hundred feet across. Valer and her crew have built more than 20,000 of them on her property. They all sit in riverbeds which are dry most of the year until the monsoon rains come.

[When] the gabions get to work, they slow down the water rushing through the river bed so silt can accumulate behind them, like a sponge.

“BASCOMB: Nearly all these trees have sprouted up since Valer began keeping more water on the land. Near the stream, a canopy of cottonwood trees towers over us and a lush green understory creates the feeling of a jungle that follows the narrow band of water. We continue our walk on the edge of the forest, which she says is a vital corridor for wildlife in the region.

“CLARK: We’ve seen ocelot, we’ve seen bobcats and lions and bears and coatimundis and javelinas, ring tailed cats. …

“BASCOMB: We drive past parched bare earth cracked into the shape of a hexagon and stop at a different ecosystem all together. …

“Instead of a riparian forest this is a wetland teeming with life. Reeds and cat tails poke up through the water. At least a dozen different species of brightly colored birds dart about, butterflies sun themselves, and bright blue dragon flies copulate in mid-air. Ron Pullium says this region is a hotbed for insect diversity, including some 450 different species of bees. …

“BASCOMB: [The next day] we walk alongside a small creek, craning our necks up, hoping to spot some birds.

“PULLIUM: This creek is interesting just in itself. It was protected by Valer because it was identified as the most intact fish stream in northern Mexico, and perhaps the most intact in all of Mexico. …

“BASCOMB: For all her ecological work, Valer is still mindful of serving as a model for other ranches in the region that depend on raising cattle for their livelihood. She removed most of the cows from her ranch when she bought the place. But she did keep a small herd and is very deliberate about where and when they graze. And it’s paid off. Her ranch manager recruited members of his family to enter three novio steers in a large cattle exposition.”

Read more at Living on Earth about Valer Clark and why preservation is so satisfying to her.

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2019-11-04-nest_51

Photo: Erin Siegal McIntyre/the World
Three-year-old Kevin, whose family fled cartel violence in Michoacán, Mexico, plays at the light table with magnetic blocks at the Nest Tijuana, an informal preschool set up by a California educator.

Speaking of migrant kids who can’t register for school at the border, here’s a related story about an informal preschool that kind hearts have set up in Tijuana. The story comes from a show I like called the World at Public Radio International (PRI).

Sasha Khokha reports, “Classical music plays, silk curtains blow in the wind, and comfy couches offer a place to curl up with a book. There are wooden toys, colorful magnetic blocks and crayons organized by color in glass jars. Children use light projectors to make patterns and shapes on the walls.

“It may sound like a high-end early childhood education center in California, but this is Tijuana.

“Most students and their parents come from other parts of Mexico where there have been recent surges in drug cartel violence. They are waiting for their numbers to be called to enter the United States at the San Ysidro port of entry and hope to lodge claims for asylum. For many, the wait can last several weeks or longer, during which children have little to do.

“Alise Shafer Ivey, a longtime early childhood director from Santa Monica, California, opened this informal preschool, the Nest, in September. It’s attached to a migrant shelter in this Mexican border city. Nothing else like it exists. …

“Patricia’s 2-year-old daughter is one of the new students at the Nest. On the journey to Tijuana, Patricia said her two girls kept asking where their dad was. But how could Patricia tell them? They couldn’t even go to the funeral. It was too dangerous to show up to bury her husband, she said. …

“‘These kids have seen things no child should see,’ Ivey said. ‘They’ve been stripped of their homelands, they’ve left their families behind. They’ve been stuffed in trunks of cars and crossed over borders. … To think we’re going to deliver them to a kindergarten in the US and think it’s going to go well? Not necessarily.’ …

“The idea for the Nest began with a trip Ivey took to Lesbos, Greece, after retiring from decades of directing the Evergreen Community School in Santa Monica. She met a relief worker who invited her to visit a refugee camp, which then housed mostly Syrian refugees.

“Children were ‘digging in the dirt, playing with nails in their pockets,’ Ivey said. ‘They had old cigarette lighters that they had found. There was nothing for children.’

“Ivey offered to set up a space for refugee kids to play. She returned to California and raised $10,000 through a nonprofit she helped found, the Pedagogical Institute of Los Angeles. She went on to set up Nests on another Greek island called Samos, then two more in the Congo. …

“The Tijuana Nest got its start after Ivey visited the shelter across the street, where Patricia and her girls sought refuge. Ivey said she instantly connected with Leticia Herrera Hernández, who runs the shelter. They’re both believers in prioritizing the needs of children, especially when parents are going through trauma, Ivey said. …

” ‘The kids would just spend their days playing on their parents’ phones, having tantrums, and we’d be trying to get them to play to entertain themselves,’ Herrera said in Spanish. …

“At parent orientation night at the Nest, Ivey did what she would do back at her former school in Santa Monica: She laid out a spread with wine and cheese. She talked to the parents about brain science and neural pathways, and explained why memorizing ABCs is not enough.

“ ‘The more we talk to children about their ideas and ask them “I wonder how that would work?” Not quizzing them, but just wondering with them, the more all of those parts of the brain are activated,’ Ivey told the parents, many of whom had never been able to send their kids to preschool in their hometowns. …

“Julieta and Kevin fled cartel violence in Michoacán. When they arrived in Tijuana in August, he had a really hard time accepting the shelter as home. He would hit other kids, yell at them. The Nest has helped him to adjust.

“ ‘Now he doesn’t fight. He plays with the other kids,’ Julieta said in Spanish (The World isn’t using her real name to protect her identity since she is fleeing violence). ‘I used to have to grab him so he would turn and listen to me. Now he turns and looks at me. He reaches for my hand.’ …

“Waiting, watching and letting kids problem-solve has been eye-opening for some parents.

“ ‘I’ve learned to be a better dad,’ said Alfredo, another asylum-seeker who has been volunteering at the Nest (The World isn’t using his real name to protect him from being located by a cartel he said had targeted his family). ‘I used to tell them, “No, do it this way. Because I said so.” And I learned that I was wrong. Having them do things on their own gives them more confidence in their decisions.’ ”

More at the World, here.

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0712-border

Photo: Henry Gass/Christian Science Monitor
Volunteers like Luis Guerrero, pictured above, reach out to migrants — after they are released from federal custody and their cases are proceeding — and help them to reunite with families around the country and get legal assistance.

At the end of 7th grade, after we had had a half year each of Spanish and French to get a taste, the Spanish teacher took me aside and begged me to take Spanish in 8th grade and not French. I spouted what my parents told me about French having more great literature, and the teacher was shocked at my ignorance. Still, I wasn’t one to go against my mother.

Today I think if only I could speak Spanish, maybe I could actually be some help as a volunteer at the border — like the people in this story.

The Christian Science Monitor writes, “At the U.S.-Mexico border, our reporter found an army of everyday citizens compelled to offer help where officials cannot.”

Henry Gass, the reporter, writes, “Luis Guerrero has been going to the central bus station here for six years now. He still hasn’t bought himself a ticket.

“It started when he saw a nun trying to help newly arrived migrants passing through the station and offered to translate for her. The migrants have kept coming, so he has kept making the ride to the station.

“Of course, migrants are crossing into this part of Texas in numbers not seen in over a decade. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has already apprehended more migrants in the Rio Grande Valley sector this fiscal year than any other year this century besides 2014. Mr. Guerrero has responded to this latest surge with the calm enthusiasm of a retired firefighter who rescued children from a submerged school bus three decades ago. …

“The zero tolerance policy is no more, but the flow of migrants – primarily families from the Northern Triangle of Central America – has only increased. News and government reports of migrant deaths, as well as ‘dangerous’ and ‘squalid’ conditions in government holding centers, have thrust the issues back into the national spotlight in recent weeks. …

“Immigration lawyers, local officials, and volunteers across the border [have] been feeling the strain.

“Bus stations have been a consistent area of need, and that is where Juanita Salazar Lamb found herself this week after driving down to McAllen from Benton County in northwest Arkansas. She had been following the news coverage of the border crisis, unsure of whom to believe – people who say the migrants need asylum, or people who say they’re exploiting loopholes in immigration law; people who say they’re being treated horribly, or people who say they’re being treated well. …

“Thirteen months ago [Joyce Hamilton] and four friends formed a group, Angry Tias and Abuelas, focused on helping migrants on international bridges and reuniting separated families. The group expanded to a core of eight regular volunteers, and six months ago got a fiscal sponsorship from an Austin-based nonprofit (so it can attract donors even though it’s not yet recognized as a tax-exempt organization).

“ ‘By August [2018] I just really, I didn’t feel like I had a center. I was just shaky a lot,’ she says of the toll her work has taken over the past year.

“As government policies have changed, the group has had to shift where it devotes resources. … In January the administration began implementing Migrant Protection Protocols, a policy also being challenged in court in which migrants may be returned to Mexico while their immigration case is proceeding.

“International bridges are now mostly empty, while shelters in Mexican border cities are overwhelmed with migrants. Ms. Hamilton’s group is now focused on helping at the bus stations and sending money and supplies to shelters in Mexico. …

“Things have slowed down recently in her hometown of Harlingen, Texas. When she arrived at the local bus station on Monday morning – a station so busy on some days this summer she couldn’t hear herself talk – there was only one Guatemalan girl. It was her 18th birthday, so she had been released from the Norma Linda child detention center nearby and dropped off there.

“The girl’s bus ticket – to Georgia, where she says her uncle lives – was for the next day, so Ms. Hamilton arranged for her to spend the night at Loaves & Fishes, a homeless shelter in Harlingen. The 18-year-old says she hopes to work in the U.S. and send back money to support her parents still living in rural Guatemala. After she had crossed the border into Arizona, she spent eight months in Norma Linda, an experience she had only a few complaints about.

“ ‘There were lots of rules,’ she said in Spanish, fidgeting with a bracelet she had made at Norma Linda bearing the names of her grandparents.

“ ‘I made a couple of friends,’ she added. ‘I’m going to miss them.’ ”

As a colleague at my last job used to say about migrants who had made the trek, “People who go through all that sound like the kind of people I would like to know.”

More at the Christian Science Monitor, here.

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Photo: Christian Chavez/AP
Children on the Mexican side play on a cross-border seesaw that two professors designed to highlight human connection.

The language of illegality has for many decades gotten in the way of our communal understanding that seeking asylum is a basic human right. Seeking asylum doesn’t necessarily mean being granted asylum — efficient processes have to be put in place to weigh individual circumstances — but it is not illegal to ask.

I get very discouraged about the way our country has long been treating human beings who have run for their lives. Then I see that not everyone is on board with the policies.

Lanre Bakare writes at the Guardian, “A set of fluorescent pink seesaws has been built across the US-Mexico border by a pair of professors seeking to bring a playful concept of unity to the two sides of the divide.

“Installed along the steel border fence on the outskirts of El Paso in Texas and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico, the seesaws are the invention of Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San José State University, who first came up with the concept 10 years ago.

“In an Instagram post that has received tens of thousands of likes [see @rrael ], children and adults can be seen playing and interacting on both sides of the fence using the seesaws, which provide ‘a literal fulcrum’ between the countries, according to Rael. He said the event was about bringing ‘joy, excitement and togetherness at the border wall.’

“He added that it was also about finding ‘meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.’ …

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Photo: Carolina Miranda/ LA Times
Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom is one of many groups to build art projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. This one is a tree house called USA Visitor Center.

“Other art projects have been planned for the border. Estudio 3.14, an architectural practice in Mexico, designed a pink interpretation … inspired by the 20th-century Mexican architect Luis Barragán, employing the pink pastel colour he often used in his designs.

“Dozens of artists have used the wall as a setting for projects, including the Japanese art collective Chim Pom, which created a treehouse in Tijuana with ‘USA Visitor Center’ written on the side.” More at the Guardian, here. And for the Carolina A. Miranda Los Angeles Times report on the treehouse, click here.

 

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Photo: Arcenio Lopez
Erika Hernandez, of the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project in California, is a Radio Indigena DJ.

As languages spoken by small communities disappear, overwhelmed by other languages, it’s encouraging to read that the digital media that’s part of the problem is also part of the solution. As is radio.

Ludwig Hurtado has the story at NBC News. “Josefino Alvarado, a California farm worker, describes his typical morning picking blueberries at a Ventura County farm.

“As the sun beats down on him and his fellow workers, a crackle of static hums at their feet. ‘Hola mi gente,’ (Hello, my people) a voice calls out from the radio’s speakers in Spanish. Then, ‘tanìndíí,’ which means ‘good morning’ in Mixteco.

“On this farm and most of the farms nearby, workers have their radios tuned into the same station: 94.1, Radio Indígena. … The community-run station boasts 40 hours of original programming every week, broadcasting music and talk shows in a handful of indigenous languages, as well as Spanish programming too.

“The station is a welcome cultural lifeline for thousands of farm workers who speak Mixteco or other indigenous Central American languages.

“ ‘Listening to it is a point of pride,’ Alvarado, who is a frequent listener, said. While he only understands Spanish and Mixteco, he often will listen to some of Radio Indígena’s shows in Zapoteco, Triqui, and Nahuatl. Even if he doesn’t understand them, he said he’s proud to hear the languages being kept alive on the airwaves.

“Alvarado, who moved to the U.S. in 1997, was born and raised in the city of Oaxaca in central Mexico, where he and his family learned Mixteco as their first language. Although Mixteco has come into the national spotlight thanks to the Academy Award-winning film, Roma, the language is still virtually unknown to the general population. …

“Due to economic and cultural pressure in Mexico, many Mixtec communities are shifting to Spanish. UNESCO considers almost half of Mixteco’s 50 dialects to be either severely endangered or at risk of endangerment.

“According to the 2010 census, over 685,000 Latinos in the U.S. identified themselves as American Indian, up from around 400,000 in 2000. But experts agree that the actual number of indigenous Latinos in the U.S. is much higher than estimated because many don’t report to the census due to stigma and immigration status. …

“ ‘There’s a lot of radio stations in Oxnard, but they just play music,’ said Roberto Jesús, who listens to the show every morning as he drives to work, getting informed about the news and about his legal rights as an immigrant. … In the U.S., Mixtecs face barriers because of their limited English and sometimes limited Spanish. This leaves many of them vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination.

“Radio Indígena is hosted and run by the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), a nonprofit organization formed to provide health outreach, humanitarian support and language interpretation to this underserved and often unnoticed community. …

“Radio Indígena started when organizers saw a void in the city of Oxnard, but [Arcenio Lopez, executive director of MICOP and Radio Indígena] said that the station has listeners from all over the country and world, since the episodes are available to stream online. …

“Delfina Santiago and Carmen Vasquez co-host a show on Radio Indígena every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Even though they don’t get paid for their work, the two spend lots of time during the week preparing for their program, ‘Al Ritmo De Chilena,’ which is an educational program that delves into the history of different indigenous cultures for each episode.

Santiago and Vazquez say that the digital age has played a role in keeping their language alive and keeping folks connected to one another, in a world where they might otherwise feel alone. Indigenous Mexican music can be found on YouTube and SoundCloud. …

“ ‘We’ve already lost three languages in Oaxaca,’ Santiago lamented. ‘They’re gone.’ ”

More here.

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Photo: Rose Franklin’s Perennials
A Monarch alights on Butterfly Weed. It also loves milkweed.

Sometimes I find the background for a post in a roundabout way. I heard about Mexico’s Monarch butterfly hero, Jose Luis Alvarez, recently on Public Radio International, which had borrowed his story from the BBC. But because I like to have text to work with, not just audio, I searched online for additional information.

I’m glad I did because practically in my own backyard there’s an organization that’s partnering with Alvarez and helping folks far from Mexico to plant the Butterfly Weed that Monarchs love. Here’s what I learned at Vermont Woods Studio.

According to Peggy Farabaugh, “Jose Luis Alvarez  … is a silviculturist in Mexico who has devoted his life to restoring the forested winter habitat of the Monarch.  [In March 2016] I traveled to Michoacan, Mexico, to meet Jose Luis & see his work. I love Monarchs & we’ve been conserving their summer habit here in Vermont for many years, so I thought maybe we should collaborate and get some Vermont-Mexico synergy going!

“In 1997, Jose Luis created a non-profit called ‘Forests For Monarchs,’ which came to be known as the La Cruz Habitat Protection Program (in the USA) and the Michoacan Restoration Fund (in Mexico).  With donations from people all across the USA, Canada and Mexico, ‘Forests for Monarchs’ has been able to plant nearly 6 million trees.  …

“During the winter Michoacan, Mexico, is home to the entire species of the Eastern Monarch Butterfly (which summers in Vermont). [Illegal] deforestation has devastated the area. … [Jose Luis has] made great progress, but much re-planting still needs to be done.

“Here in rural Vernon, Vermont, a number of friends, neighbors, customers, gardeners and Vernon Elementary School children have been planting milkweed. … We’ve been growing milkweed from seed and giving the seedlings away to fellow Monarch lovers.

“Monarchs summering in Vermont are programmed to migrate to Michoacan, Mexico, in the fall.  There they join the entire population of their species, huddled together in the shelter of the last few remaining acres of their wooded winter habitat.  Mind-boggling, right?  How can an insect (that only weighs as much as a raisin) fly 3,000 miles, to the exact same location its ancestor came from –- when it’s never even been there before? I had to see it to believe it.  So …

“I traveled to Mexico (with my now grown up sons) to meet Jose Luis and we took his Spirit of Butterflies Tour last month. It was amazing.  But we were alarmed to see the extent of deforestation in the area.  Without help reforesting their habitat, the Monarch will soon go the way of the passenger pigeon & that would be just too sad.  So we brainstormed about developing a Vermont-Mexico partnership to help save the butterfly.

“Besides being a forester, Jose Luis is an internationally renowned speaker. He’s been featured in numerous documentary films by the BBC, National Geographic, the Canadian Broadcasting Channel and others. He’s been an advisor and guide to researchers, scientists, photographers & videographers from all over the world as they seek to save the Monarch. His work has been written about in newspapers including the Wall Street Journal & The New York Times.

“So we thought we should bring Jose Luis up to Vermont and New England for a speaking tour to raise awareness about the Monarch’s plight. I guess I got a little carried away and volunteered to help Jose Luis Alvarez plant a million trees in the Monarch’s over-wintering area of Mexico.” More here.

The Vermont Studios post was written originally in 2016 and updated last August.

Photo: Fernando Laposse/BBC
Jose Luis Alvarez is protecting Monarch butterflies by planting deforested areas with the trees they need when they winter-over in Mexico.

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https://butterflywebsite.com/foundats/lacruz/project.cfm

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MEXICO-VATICAN-SISTINE CHAPEL-REPRODUCTIONS

Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images
Miguel Francisco Macias was inspired to replicate Michelangelo’s frescoes not just because it is a stunning work of art, but because he realized the Sistine Chapel ceiling has almost the same dimensions as his church in Mexico. It took 18 years.

Don’t you admire people with big ambitions who see an implausible project through to its conclusion? This designer sought to replicate the Sistine Chapel frescoes on the ceiling of his church in Mexico. He thought it might take six years.

Sarah Stocking writes at Lonely Planet, “For the last 18 years, a retired graphic designer has been quietly painting a replica of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at his local church in Mexico City. Miguel Francisco Macias began his opus in an attempt to offer people who cannot travel a glimpse at one of the most shining examples of European art, Macias told Aljazeera.

“The project, which is now displayed on the ceiling at Perpetuo Socorro Church in Colonia Moctezuma, was largely self-funded with small donations from parishioners. Macias worked on the weekends with two assistants. The work was divided into 14 canvases each of which is 45-feet wide. Macias knew from the beginning that he would not be able to paint facing up, the way Michelangelo did, so he painted the canvases first and then affixed them to the ceiling afterwards.

“Macias said he was inspired to replicate Michelangelo’s frescoes not just because it is a stunning work of art, but because he realised the Sistine Chapel ceiling has almost the same dimensions as his local church, reported Splinter.

“The realisation came to Macias on a trip to Rome with a friend in 1999. The artist spent hours in the chapel admiring the frescos. ‘I stayed until the guard made me leave,’ Macias remembers. He also measured the length and width of the Sistine Chapel with footsteps. He wrote the dimensions on a small sheet of paper and presented his idea to the pastor on his return. …

“Macias didn’t think the project would take him nearly as long as it did. ‘I said it would be a maximum of six years,’ he told Newsbeezer. While the project suffered many setbacks, including falls, floods and robberies, none was so potentially insulting as when the Mexico City government used taxpayer money to temporarily recreate the Sistine Chapel in the Zocolo in 2016 ahead of a visit from the Pope.

“Although the community rallied behind Macias and wrote letters requesting that the Pope visit Macias’ work in progress in addition to the government’s pop-up, they didn’t get the holy visit they were hoping for. Macias didn’t let it bother him and kept a sign in his make-shift studio that read, ‘do not give up Miguelito.’ ”

More at Lonely Planet, here.

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Among the many gifts our country has received from Mexico is the luminaria, which some of us put outside our homes on Christmas Eve. This gift originated back when Mexico was called New Spain and still included Texas.

I first learned about the custom in upstate New York years ago when, exhausted from wrapping presents, I took a walk around the neighborhood in the snowy darkness. “What’s that?” I wondered at one neighbor’s house. “How lovely!”

Since that year, I have put candles out every Christmas Eve in rain or snow, fair weather or foul. Sometimes the candles are in paper bags weighted with kitty litter. Sometimes they are in glass vases collected from florists.

This year my husband and I are cutting back a bit on the festivities at our house as we’re going to John’s church Christmas Eve and then to Vermont so that most of the family can ski (my husband, our kids, their spouses, our grandkids). I myself have three very fat library books that I hope to read in front of a nice fire.

Back to luminaria. I just looked it up on Wikipedia. Here is the entry, edited.

A luminaria is a small paper lantern (commonly a candle set in some sand inside a paper bag) which is of significance in the U.S. state of New Mexico at Christmas time, especially on Christmas Eve.

Traditional Christmas Eve luminarias are said to originate from Spaniard merchants impressed with Chinese paper lanterns. The paper bags are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays. The hope among Roman Catholics is that the lights will guide the spirit of the Christ child to one’s home.

More.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, I hope you take delight in the oldest customs you know.

Photo: camerafiend/English Wikipedia
Christmas Eve luminaria (sometimes called farolito) are on display in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

800px-luminarias

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Photo: Señor Codo/Flickr
Mariachi singer in Chicago, 2006.

Oh, the Internet! Last night, my husband was able to track down a ton of information on a 19th Century Norwegian church in the town where we have lived for 35 years that no one ever mentioned to us. For all the scary things the Internet is responsible for, who could do without it today? There are so many great links we share with one another.

How else would I have learned, for example, that Mariachi bands were extremely popular in the former Yugoslavia. Mexican Mariachi? Crazy.

Jonny Wrate at the website Roads and Kingdoms has a report.

“Marina de Ita had dreamed of travelling Europe for years. Her band, Polka Madre, was heavily influenced by Balkan and Roma folk music and, back in the late nineties in Mexico City, she’d fallen in love with the music of Goran Bregović.

‘ ‘I used to have parties in a clandestine bar in my house in 1998 and people went crazy for those tunes,’ she says. ‘It came as a relief for many of us who were tired of rock and the music offered by Western countries.’

“In 2015, her band was invited to play at the International Circus Festival in Mardin, Turkey, and de Ita seized the chance for a quick trip to the region she’d long wished to visit.

“Once she arrived in Belgrade, she decided to make some money busking. ‘At first, I played some Finnish polkas and some from our Balkan-influenced repertoire, but nobody paid much attention,’ she says. ‘They just threw a few coins.’

“Yet when she played ‘Bésame Mucho,’ a seventy-year-old Mexican bolero, a small crowd gathered around her. Some sang along. ‘An old man became very emotional and even shed a few tears,’ de Ita says.

“The warm reception took her by surprise, but half a century ago, such songs dominated Yugoslav airwaves. As a Croatian friend’s mother recalls, ‘It was always Mexican songs and Bollywood films.’ …

“Explore the many shelves in Belgrade’s Yugovinyl store today and you can quickly amass a pile of ‘Yu-Mex’ records. The faded photographs on their sleeves depict men with names like Ljubomir Milić and Đorđe Masalović, proudly wearing sombreros and glittering charro suits. On the turntable, these records sound straight out of Guadalajara, except that the lyrics are in Serbo-Croat. For the Mexicans that ruled the radios here were, in fact, Yugoslav.”

More at Roads and Kingdoms.

I do love this kind of unexpected cultural cross-fertilization. Who knew?

 

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Today there are increasing numbers of opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of activities that others take for granted.

Eva Clifford writes at Women & Girls Hub about one intriguing example: ballet for the blind.

“In a third-floor dance studio, Lorena Nieva begins teaching her ballet class. Every weekend Nieva, the international coordinator of Psicoballet, travels 80 miles (130km) from her home in Puebla to give lessons to a group of girls from Casa Rosa de la Torre, a home for blind children run by nuns. Aged between nine and 22, all of the girls in Nieva’s class are completely blind or partially sighted.

“As the music plays, Nieva guides the girls, steering their movements with the sound of her voice and a gentle push with her hand. While the first half of the lesson is spent rehearsing a dance routine, the second half is devoted to improvisation. Breaking from the rigidity and strictness of conventional ballet training, Nieva brings in objects to inspire movement and games, such as fabric sheets, elastic ribbons and chairs.

“ ‘Dance cannot be reduced to a single sense,’ says Nieva. ‘It has to come from the whole body – from its limitations, too.’

“Founded on the belief that dance is ingrained in our biological roots, Psicoballet was created in 1973 by Cuban psychologist Georgina Fariñas Garcia … Teachers and advocates say Psicoballet, like most forms of dance, improves balance, posture and mobility, while also boosting self-esteem and reducing anxiety and depression. …

“ ‘I really enjoy discovering new ways of teaching, as it forces me to get out of my comfort zone,’ says Nieva, who has instructed people of all ages and various disabilities, but says teaching the blind girls has so far been the most rewarding. ‘I am keen to see that the girls have fun in the lessons, and that what is learned does not just stay in class, but it also enriches their everyday lives.’

“For many of the girls, that’s exactly what Nieva’s teaching does. ‘It has helped me a lot,’ says Itary, 15. ‘I feel I have improved my way of coexisting. Before, I was very aggressive, I walked a little weirdly and crashed up against everything, and this is not the way to be. Everything has to be done in a smooth way. To dance is to express with my movements what is within me.’ ” More here.

I found the article at the Huffington Post, which had reposted it.

Photo: Eva Clifford
Four girls who suffer from blindness wait to be called out for their first dance in Chiapas southern Mexico.

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An unassuming Indian American scientist, a former commuter-rail acquaintance of mine, led the teams behind the dengue-fever vaccine approved in December for use in Mexico.

Rogerio Jelmayer at the Wall Street Journal reports the vaccine was next approved for the Philippines and Brazil. “Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of France’s SanofiSA, [has] secured approval from Brazilian authorities to market its dengue fever vaccine amid an explosion of cases across Latin America’s largest nation. …

“The approval of Dengvaxia comes as Brazil is battling two other serious mosquito-borne diseases for which there are no vaccines. In addition to dengue, Brazil also has seen a rise in the number of cases of chikungunya, [but] the most worrisome epidemic is the spread of the Zika virus.” The Wall Street Journal article is behind the firewall, so read more at the NY Times, here.

I’m hoping that my train buddy’s vaccine will come to the rescue for zika, too, as a blog I just visited suggests: “France’s Sanofi SA, which won endorsement toward the end of last year for the principal dengue immunization, has said it is inspecting the likelihood of applying its innovation for Zika.”

For all the negative press about drug companies, they do have teams quietly laboring for years on vitally necessary vaccines and cures.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
An Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spreads dengue fever.

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