Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.






Mexico: Day 16

by Kathy 17. May 2009 20:44
<< Day 15: Driving to PátzcuaroDay 17: Pátzcuaro; TzinTzunTzan >>

 

Pátzcuaro; Santa Fe de la Laguna

 

We had read rave reviews about our inn, Casa Werma--so our expectations were pretty high. Even so, the place proved to be even more spectacular than we had envisioned. In addition to the spacious rooms and artistic décor, our hosts Eva and Christina prepared a delicious breakfast every morning, with fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, juice, coffee, hot chocolate for the kids, fresh local bread/pastries and a scrumptious hot dish. The kitchen area was beautifully decorated with bright linens, and Eva and Christina were attentive to every detail.

We were all very excited about the special plans that we had for today. One of the children that we sponsor internationally lives in a small village called Santa Fe de la Laguna at the northern end of Lake Pátzcuaro. Representatives of Sheila’s project, Niños de Santa Fe de la Laguna, met us at our inn at 10:00 a.m. We then followed them for the 25 minute drive north.

These are just a few photos that we snapped from our car:



Sheila and her family, along with almost everyone who lives in Santa Fe de la Laguna, are Purépecha (aka P'urhépecha), an indigenous people located primarily around the Lake Pátzcuaro region in Mexico.

We met Sheila and her mother at the project offices in the village.

Sheila’s mother was very warm and gracious.

After we had exchanged greetings and some gifts (Sheila’s family presented us with some lovely pottery), we went on a tour of the project facilities.

The main building for the project is very well maintained, with offices for a doctor and dentist, as well as a preschool classroom, a computer room for older students, and other meeting rooms.  Here is the dentist room.  (Sheila confessed that she does not like to go to the dentist.)

Here we are chatting in the computer room:

The primary language for Sheila and her family was Purépecha, with Spanish being taught and spoken at school. Ben and I could communicate on a basic level with our Spanish, but the exchange of ideas and information on a more complex level often was difficult for us. We were grateful that we had made advance arrangements with the project to have a translator available during our visit.

The project leaders then asked us if we wanted to walk through the town and visit the church. We headed toward the village plaza:

The town plaza is a gathering place for the residents. On the backside is a small market. The project representative explained to us that the people in the village work very hard to be self-sufficient and do not have a lot of money. The market works on a bartering system (trading of items) rather than a monetary system (“buying” an item with money). The front of the plaza:

On one side of the plaza was a beautiful tile mural that had been created by local artists. The mural addressed Mexico’s fight to gain freedom and independence from Spain.


Sheila’s mother was very proud to show me her church, which she visits every day:

The cross in the front walkway appeared to be very old. Sheila’s mother explained that the carved symbols on the front of the cross were Purépecha.

The church grounds had a statue of the bishop Vasco de Quiróga, who arrived in the Lake Pátzcuaro area in 1533 and who allegedly was a compassionate leader and promoter of indigenous rights.

Behind the church’s bell tower, the stucco façade was peeling away beneath the roof, revealing the layers of old adobe bricks.

Nearby, a private high school had recently been completed:


The project representative told us that most of the children in Santa Fe de la Laguna drop out of high school at the age of 15 or 16, and only a few ever go to college.

As we were leaving the schoolyard, these students called greetings to us from the windows:

We weren’t ready to say “goodbye” to Sheila quite yet, so we were relieved when one of the project leaders asked if we wanted to spend some time together down by the lake. (The project has a protective policy of not allowing sponsors to visit the home of the sponsored child.)

Lake Pátzcuaro was very peaceful:

Our translator explained that the lake has been gradually shrinking over the years. Our understanding is that the lake is also polluted from pesticide run-off, sewage and other things, although some steps have been taken in recent years to remedy the situation.

Our kids made a beeline for the water, testing the edge with their shoes. Water seems to be a powerful magnet that attracts children (and adults too!) across cultures:

Sheila built a long train out of mud, and Genevieve helped add some final touches.

We all enjoyed our time at the lake together:

While there, we also watched these fishermen lay their nets:


We drove back to the village and said our sad goodbyes. This visit was one of the highlights of our trip.

One last photo from Santa Fe de la Laguna:

We had driven up the east side of Lake Pátzcuaro to reach Sheila’s village this morning, so we decided to make a full circle around the lake by traveling along the west side on our drive back to the town of Pátzcuaro. It was mid-afternoon, and we were hungry for lunch. Many of the smaller villages do not have restaurants, so we decided to stop at the next “bigger” town. This one looked promising:

It had a pretty church:

We drove down what appeared to be “main street”, past the bus station, where we could hear a man’s booming voice announcing a bus departure on a loudspeaker.

We passed by this store:

We also found the public restrooms, but there was a lock on the door.

We finally abandoned our restaurant search and decided to buy some snacks to tide us over at this little convenience store:

The woman behind the counter was very nice, asking where we were from. She told us that she has some relatives living in California, and I gave her a post card of our town.

Near the village of Erongarícuaro, we saw this inviting sign:

We stopped at Uekapiani Restaurant, where we had some very good shrimp and beef dishes for lunch.

The view:

Genevieve and Sebastian were thrilled to find a small playground on the side of the restaurant. They immediately started playing on the chair swing:

Ben and I were settling into our chairs, watching the kids on the swing, when Ben bolted out of his seat like lightening, running toward the children and shouting for them to stop the swing! The swing appeared to be a home-made fabrication, and Ben had noticed that the metal vertical rod on the back of the chair was creating a “scissor” effect with the metal pole that ran down from the top of the structure; as the kids were swinging higher and higher, the metal “scissor” blades were coming closer and closer together, which would spell disaster for a child’s fingers wrapped around the pole, or an elbow that happened to be sticking out.

With that potential tragedy averted, we eyed the other playground equipment for safety issues. We deemed this see-saw a bit too steep and high for our comfort level, but we allowed the kids play on it for a minute, with our close presence. (I think that the kids silently labeled us as the “party poopers”, but that was okay with us.)

The swings looked fine, so the kids still had some fun:

As we continued around the lake, we saw some larger houses and a mixture of “old” and “modern” walls.






Here are a few people that we saw:





Every small town that we drove through had its own beautiful little church:

In the distance, we could see the island of Junitzio, a heavily populated island that takes center stage during the annual Day of the Dead (El Día de la Muerte) festivities. (Day of the Dead occurs on November 1st and is quite different than Halloween in that it celebrates death, instead of fearing it. Families often gather at the graves of their loved ones, bringing food and staying at the gravesites all night rejoicing.)

We finally arrived back in Pátzcuaro:

We all took a short siesta at our inn. Genevieve gave Sebastian some lessons on meditation in the large and sunny meditation room. (Casa Werma is also a Shambhala center.)

Then the kids wandered the grounds and made up elaborate and adventurous games.

Their favorite playhouse was the old cabin, tucked away in a corner of the property:

On the ground floor, they found some small objects that previous guests had left as offerings.

The cabin had a top floor loft, reachable with a wooden ladder—the kids thought this was a very exciting place!


Genevieve and Sebastian were also quite skilled at riding the garden dragons:


The children and I then set off to do some exploring around town, away from the town plazas.


Most of the buildings were painted dark red on the bottom and white on the top.

The streets were often very narrow, as Sebastian shows here:

We came across this church, which was very beautiful inside. There were quite a few local people inside, so we joined them for a little while, sitting in peaceful silence.



We also discovered this old wall with multiple arches, and another church (called El Sagrario) in the background.

This mural (near the Casa de los Once Patios—the house of eleven patios) engaged the children so much that we had a lengthy and lively discussion about the possible meaning of the many figures and objects depicted.

We strolled back to the main zócalo, where Genevieve and Sebastian looked longingly at the grass. (They wanted to roll around on it, but remained respectful of the obvious desire to keep people off.)

The middle of the zócalo has a large statue of Vasco de Quiroga. (The zócalo is also called Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, or Plaza Grande.)

We walked a block further to the other main plaza in Pátzcuaro, named Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra. The center of the plaza had a large statue of Doña Bocanegra, who was born in Pátzcuaro and was a heroine of Mexico’s War of Independence from Spain. (The plaque didn’t give us any information about her pet bird).

Both plazas in Pátzcuaro were clean, well-maintained and provided a gathering place for many families and friends throughout the day. This sign indicated that the smaller plaza had undergone a $150,000 renovation two years ago.

We had an excellent dinner tonight in a restaurant off of the main zócalo.  I tried a local dish called "huchepas", which were tamales made of sweet corn with Oaxacan cheese and cream on the top--yummy!  Sebastian and I also shared a large salad of chicken, avocados, and fresh vegetables--brocolli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots and others.  Sebastian, who has a wonderful sense of humor, played a game in which he pretended that the salad items were other things; for example, the cauliflower pieces were "volcanoes," the carrots were "lemons," the avocado was really "chicken", etc.  Then he giggled his way through dinner, saying things like, "May I have some more volcanoes, please?"  He kept us all laughing!

<< Day 15: Driving to PátzcuaroDay 17: Pátzcuaro; TzinTzunTzan >>

Back to Mexico Index Page

Back to Home Page

Tags:

Mexico

Comments (4) -

7/15/2010 8:24:56 AM #

Rich Cooper

Thank you for sharing your fotos. I enjoyed them very much along with your commentary.

Rich Cooper United States | Reply

7/15/2010 9:13:57 AM #

Kathy

Thank you, Rich.  This day was very special to us, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the posting.

Kathy United States | Reply

3/23/2012 2:05:30 AM #

Chema Huipe

Hi, great pictures from my homeland Lake Patzcuaro Smile
I just want to clarify that the mural in Santa Fe is not precisely representing Mexico’s freedom and independence from Spain.
The mural was created in memory of  farmers victims of a masacre in 1979 along with the P'urhepecha flag.

The Purhepecha flag emerges as a symbol of unity and identity for all P'urhepecha people, with the same purpose of organizing and helping with the struggle of P'urhepecha communities against new forms of domination and exploitation that constantly affect indigenous communities and its entire culture.
In honor of all the fallen brothers  and sisters in deffending the P'urhepecha traditions and the integrity of the commons
especially to the Natives who were killed on November 17, 1979 in Santa Fe de la Laguna by ranchers and white guards from Quiroga, a painter by the name of José Luis Soto Gonzalez designs and paints the purhépecha flag that also forms part of the ceremony in rememberance of the P'urhepecha identity in the community of Santa Fe de la Laguna, Since Monday 17 November 1980 to date.
The Center of the Purhepecha flag is shown on the far left side of the mural with the obsidian blade and the Juchari uingapekua(Our Strength) fist.
again thanks for sharing Smile

Chema Huipe United States | Reply

3/23/2012 7:02:48 AM #

Kathy

Chema, thank you so much for the clarification.  I appreciate you taking the time to provide the background history for the mural.  Lake Patzcuaro is a special place. Many thanks, Kathy  

Kathy United States | Reply

Add comment

  Country flag

biuquote
  • Comment
  • Preview
Loading

Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map



Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

Bhutan
   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Kanglung
   Mongar
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Thimphu
   Tongsa
   Wangdi Phrodrang

Bolivia
   Caranavi
   Guanay
   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Llica
   Potosí
   Queteña
   Rurrenabaque
   Sajama
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sorata
   Sud Lipez
   Tupiza
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

Canada
   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Chetwynd
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Isle-aux-Coudres
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Montreal
   Niagara Falls
   Ottawa
   Quebec City
   Quesnel
   Thousand Islands
   Toronto
   Vancouver
   Vancouver Island
   Victoria
   Watson Lake
   Whistler
   Whitehorse

China
   Beijing
   Datong
   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   HuaShan
   Lijiang
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Xi’an
   Yangshuo
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Quepos
   Sarchi
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves
   Zarcero

France
   Paris

Ecuador
   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Quito
   Yasuní National Park

India
   Bagdogra
   Darjeeling
   Delhi
   Gawahati
   Jaigaon
   Kalimpong

Mexico
   Baja California
   Crucecita
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Huatulco
   Marietas Islands
   Mazunte
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Patzcuaro
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Sayulita
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotihuacán
   Teotitlán del Valle
   TzinTzunTzan
   Yagul
   Yelapa

Namibia
   Caprivi
   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Katutura
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisfontein
   Seisriem Camp
   Sossusvlie
   Swakopmund
   Treesleeper Camp
   Twyfeltein
   Windhoek

Peru
   Balsas
   Barranca
   Cajabamba
   Cajamarca
   Caraz
   Cañón del Pato
   Celendín
   Cerro de Pasco
   Chachapoyas
   Cusco
   Huamachuco
   Huánico
   Huaraz
   La Oroya
   Leymebamba
   Llanganuco
   Lima
   Machu Picchu
   Moyobamba
   Nuevo Jaén
   Pallasca
   Pampas
   Tápuc
   Tarapoto
   Tarma
   Tingo Maria
   Tocache
   Yungay Memorial

Portugal
   Burgau
   Coimbra
   Evora
   Lisbon
   Marvao
   Nazare
   Obidos
   Portimao
   Sintra
   Sitio

South Africa
   Johannesburg

Spain
   Barcelona
   Bilbao
   Hondarribia
   Madrid
   Montserrat
   Nerja
   Rock of Gibraltar
   Ronda
   Santillana del Mar
   Tolosa
   Zaragoza

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.


Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin