Crash on Hwy. 19


It is near dusk. You are in the front passenger’s seat.  You are screaming because words fail and fear fills you.  The driver of your car wonders what has possessed you as it will still be seconds more before he believes the little white car in the south-bound lane, having swerved off the highway, is now somersaulting toward you.

All of it is like falling in a dream: sudden, out-of-control.

You are grateful there are only a few cars on the road. Realizing you need to call for help, you also accept that help is a long way off.

The distance of assistance means exponentially increasing danger for the growing line of traffic you and your driver will try to direct.  But, for the passengers of the car, two young men, who bounce out of the vehicle when it has finally landed upright, it is a brief reprieve.

You cannot fathom how they are okay. And then you realize, though they are in the midst of this frightening accident, they are viciously fighting each other while scrambling to gather the paraphernalia which has spilled onto the pavement.

It is getting darker and increasingly unsafe for you to be in the middle of a crowd of impatient automobiles.

Any sympathy you had for the confused and feuding two vanishes with the last rays of the sun when, just before the emergency crews arrive, the tweaker without the hat runs off into the lava fields to hide whatever has fueled this crash.

What the Catrina Said…


“They don’t know me, but they always insist they’ve seen me somewhere before. They ask my father’s name, where I grew up, if I worked in a small town, at a corner store, a school, or hospital, somewhere helping people get somewhere else.

They say they know me as certainly as they once knew the Periodic Table, the names of local plants and birds, and the title of that piece of music by that composer they once heard.

They always think they know girls like me, girls with, they say, enchanting eyes. Girls like me appear to listen and impress—not with tales of our own colorful adventures—with our mysterious, cosmic silence.”

Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots – Centro de Esperanza Infantil


Yesterday I went to check out Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots – Centro de Esperanza Infantil ( An organization that, through patrons (godparents) from around the world, supports street children to access basic needs, including education!

I met S- and Margarita there, and we had lunch. I had a bowl of noodle soup and a delicious, super cold and super sweet lemonade (made even better by the yellow cup). There were also tostadas, and diners received a heaping plate of three. The hearty lunch was 30 pesos, about $2.35. I was happy to have the chance to start my adventure with the center there, breaking bread.

There are many volunteer opportunities with the center, including working in the kitchen and, the reason I was there (beyond curiosity), translating letters to the donors from the children.

The first letter I had to translate was from a boy who liked math and drawing (Sponge Bob was included in the thank you note). The boy was able to essentially quantify the changes in his life as a result of the sponsorship. I got to learn about him and the strides he is taking as he moves from elementary school (primaria) into middle school (secundaria).

I translated four others, enjoying the job and the learning along the way. I was especially impressed by all of the polite constructions I was learning, the idiomatic expressions I was coming across, and the intimate details about what matters to the children: family, friends, education, and love.

An excerpt from one of my translations:

Dear Godparents,
I want to thank you for all of the help that you have given me. I am making good progress in school. In August, I finished fourth grade and went to fifth. My school is named A–. This year I changed schools; the new one is very pretty. My teacher is Jesus B- S-, and my best friend is Emiliano. I like all of my school subjects, but I like mathematics the most. I will be on a new soccer team with new friends, and my favorite team is Puebla…

The letters include the types of things any kid would be interested in and kind wishes (of health, blessings, wealth, happiness, peace, family unity, rewarding work, etc.) for the sponsors as they recognize these people, most of whom they’ve never met (but want to meet) are changing their lives.

Marcos, the man leading us in volunteering said there were only three left in the binder for the day. I wanted to finish them all. I wanted to read more about their gratitude, their positive vision for the future, how they have overcome what the Little Businessman and Co. are struggling with right now…

OSC Lunch