Wednesday, August 16, 2006

School's Starting in Chacala, One Week to Go

This is Juan, waiting for the collectivo in Las Varas, the town next to Chacala. Juan paints houses and everything connected with houses (metalwork, insides, outsides, wood furniture, etc) He also paints words on signs and boats and anything you can think of. He is meticulous, neat, hardworking, and has a great color sense. He is usually busy painting gringos' houses these days.

Notice the comfy stools available for your sitting pleasure.
When the afternoon sun hits this side of the street the waiting area shifts over to the shady side. No tree stumps over there though. This is the collectivo stop for Chacala, Alta Vista, El Capomo, and another town I can't think of right now.

I had a nice fast trip in Puerto Vallarta today. A gringo family: father, 5 year old son, and 3 year old daughter, all blondies, got on at San Pancho, on their way to have a day in the big city, including a movie. I haven't seen a movie down here, but mostly because there would be no way to get home at night after a movie.

Anyway, they have been in San Pancho for three years, and the wife has been very involved in setting up a kids program with art and English classes and I don't know what else. And a large Spanish language library. And, according to her husband, she also has books in English.

By coincidence I actually went in the place a few weeks ago when a friend of mine with a rental car drove us to San Pancho for lunch. I walked back to the car from the beach restaurant and noticed an interesting looking shop and went in and looked around. Didn't see any humans though, so it was nice to meet the family. I am hoping to meet the wife sometime when I go down to San Pancho. It would be nice to get books without having to go to PV. Replenishing my supply of books and magazines in English is really my only reason for going down to PV these days. Nice kids, very well behaved. And very cute. It was fun to see little towheads on the bus. They really stood out.

Coming home a man and little (6 years?) boy dressed in cowboys outfits got on the bus to entertain us. The man played the guitar and sang. And the little boy sang with his Dad for the choruses. What a voice! It reminded me me Brenda Lee, if anyone is old enough to remember her. She was about five feet tall and had a truly powerful voice. Anyway, the little boy was darling, and knew it too. Very sweet.

As soon as they got off in Mezcales, another singer got on the bus. I was reading a new "Economist" and didn't notice him get on. And when he started singing I thought it was the radio. And that the bus had stereo, because the voice was coming from behind me. (ridiculous thought). Then I noticed my neighbors were looking toward the back of the bus. I looked too. It was a slight man about 40, with a lovely, lovely voice, like Nat King Cole or someone like that. He sang beautiful love songs (and I could understand almost every word!). It was the nicest ride from Mezcales to Brucerias I have had so far. He only had time to sing five songs, but it was wonderful. Everyone clapped, which is very unusual on a bus. I think it's only the second time I have been on a bus when people clapped for a bus performer.

While I was gone the CFE (Federal Electric Commission) came to the house and installed wires and miscellaneous hardware on the pole right up to the pole across the "driveway". Maybe they will return tomorrow or next year and finish the job. The electrical contractor also dug the holes today for the giant cement poles going in for Rick and Margaret's and for the Quallie's. Pretty impressive. When I walked up to the poles to set what was happening, three little kids, Alexis, Caeser and W(B)(V)aldo were climbing in and out of the holes. I distracted them from caving in the new holes by fixing the chain on Alexis's.

Alexis, and his cousin W/B/Valdo are starting 1st grade on Monday. He was all excited about getting a haircut tomorrow. I helped Alexis get his new school clothes last week. Going to school is very expensive here. There are special school outfits, more than one, and books, and school supplies, and lunch. And for kids going to Las Varas for school, there is the cost of the collectivo. And miscellanous stuff, constantly. I think the scholarship program in Chacala budgets $70 a month for each kid going to junior or senior high in Las Varas or La Penita. I might have that amount wrong though.

Some of the people who support the scholarship fund for Chacala kids are really incredibly generous. David and Linda are now helping their third child from the same family. She is starting 7th grade next week. Which reminds me, I was telling the man on the bus about the Techos de Mexico program in Chacala, and he seemed interested. Who knows, maybe it will spread some more.

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