On Friday, 2 December 2011, I got together with some other folks who are involved in the gift giving celebration for the old folks [los ancianos] of the little pueblo next to me [Nestipac]. Our job…if that’s what you can call it….was to unwrap, sort, count, and label the donations that we had from a small group of folks in our area.
And when I say “small,” I really do mean small. Maybe 10 people. But what a pile of things we got!! One of the things that the old folks need is blankets. Can you see that huge pile of blankets behind [from left] Mari, Dani [our hardworking nine year old helper], Phyllis, and Kathi? Now maybe these aren’t the warmest blankets in the world, but Lake Chapala doesn’t have the coldest temperatures in the world either.
Oh, sure, we all whine when it goes into the 40s, but that’s because most of us don’t have any heaters or fireplaces in our house. So all of us….gringo and Mexican alike….rely on blankets or sweaters or shawls to keep us warm until we can get out into the sun. And that was the request that Phyllis Rauch made….blankets and sweaters.
For the past two years, Phyllis has pretty much been doing this on her own. [And it’s not like she has a lot of spare time on her hands. She’s an artist and also runs a lovely B&B here in Joco: http://www.losdosmexico.com/.] But last Christmas, she realized that she needed help if she was going to provide something to all the folks in Nestipac that needed it. So a month or so ago, she sent out an email SOS.
She didn’t get a huge response, but she got a very open handed one. Our local ‘supermarket’ was selling blankets made from recycled materials for about 50 pesos. And lots of us bought them. Not only are they warm and can they be used as wraps, too, they’re made from recycled material! So Mama Earth and her abuelos [grandparents] both win!
Then there was the matter of the sweaters and warm shirts. Phyllis needed those, too. And, again, the gringo elves helped out. On our sorting/counting day, we discovered we had enough sweaters, warm shirts, and jackets for every one of the 86 ancianos who had signed up to attend the posada [gift giving ceremony and celebration]! Kind of a Christmas miracle.
You saw the blankets, now here’s a picture of my friend Mike and I in front of the bags and bags of sweaters and jackets:
And you gotta trust me, every one of those bags is stuffed FULL of sweaters and jackets!
But yeah, barb, that’s kinda tacky, isn’t it? Nobody wants to play Christmas grab bag from a trash bag!
And right you are! The lovely Mari is taking all these counted and labeled bags over to her casa and enlisting the help of some of the young folks from the neighborhood to tie them each up in a big ribbon shortly before their distribution.
I’m hoping to attend the gift distribution and get some photos. But either way, I am so impressed with what Phyllis and Mari have done! Go ahead, round up 10 people in your neighborhood and see if you can best us!! Can’t hurt and might help!