We Sell Goat Cheese!


In case you don’t understand queso de cabra: goat cheese, the kind people at the Pochote Market cheese stand, are here to help you know what you are getting.

Pochote Market is an organic farmers market that draws a lot of wealthy folks and tourists (who speak English and other languages).

Who needs words to make an effective sign?  Plus, who can resist an adorable constellation of miniature goats? I can’t!



There are signs with values all over Oaxaca, on highway overpasses, on shoeshine stands, and billboards on walls in town. They have a word: patriotism or self-esteem or, as this one in Huyapam: humility.

With each of the words or phrases, there is a brief definition that is part education and part friendly reminder of one’s responsibility.

As a Spanish student, I find them helpful. I wonder though if there is a better way to “advertise” these values, or, perhaps more importantly if Oaxacans need these reminders.

Caps for Sale


I love the children’s book Caps for Sale about the peddler who carries his wares on the top of his head and runs into some very mischievous monkeys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INptSCKqdfg

I know this is Sign Saturday and this is not a sign selling sombreros, but the point is clear.

(I had to ask politely for the photo; only after the second please did he consent.)

No Rain


On the walk to the bus to the highway crossing at Tlacochahuaya, it started sprinkling just enough to make me wonder if we’d be drenched before we got to the little town to teach. But it stayed dry the rest of the way and into the bus ride home. In fact, at 6:30, as I headed out to the highway to catch a bus home, the sky was Oaxaca blue, a blue that has just been washed and is drying on a line in the sweet blue air.

I had four students. The boy, David, was late. As soon as he arrived, the mood shifted. The girls were less serious and not as smart. They suddenly seemed to know nothing, not even for the promise of a prize. All four are twelve though one girl is smaller and more tired.

I brought them each a copy of Flat Stanley, but they lost interest as soon as they saw the books were filled with the hieroglyphics of English. They could only listen to the story for so long because it was slow and they lacked familiarity with this foreign world containing, among other things, bulletin boards and street grates.

Instead, after learning Stanley could slide under a door, they wanted to imagine all of the things Stanley could do and skimmed through the book’s illustrations to find that they had guessed correctly: of course, he was a kite; of course, he could be sent through the mail.

Next class, I think we will make Stanleys and practice plucking our own Stanley stories out of the sweet blue sky.

hang out