Posted on January 18, 2011
This past weekend I went to Casa de Elizabeth along with my sister Laura to say hi to some of the children. I visited them for three days before leaving for Sudan in December of 2009 and after only a year the kids seem to have grown so much. Some of them I’ve been seeing since July of 2006 . . .
Natan, in the center, was an infant in 2006 and now he talks and plays and rides bikes . . . Diana, who is holding him in her lap, is in the photo below shot in 2008:
And when we all drew together Natan made this:
This guy and I drew a ship in a storm . . . sharks were my idea, pirates his:
Here is Jesus around 2008 and the second photo shot nearly two years later:
And here were the other drawings from the day . . . :
I love visiting Imuris and the kids at Casa de Elizabeth and I only hope that I get the opportunity to see them again soon. Below is my sister helping paint a balloon face and a couple of random images of the kid and two notes give to me from 2007:
Posted on July 7, 2009
Could you get any cuter than this . . . ? I don’t think so, it’s the daughter of a young pilgrim from the South of Mexico at the Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe, so adorable.
Posted on July 5, 2009
So fellow News21 reporter Evan Wyloge and I headed out to interview some new U.S. citizens and swing by the truly American tradition of protest in the form of a tea party at the Arizona State Capitol. Here are some audio and photographs from today:
It’s those little things that really tell you about people. This girl was all red, white, and blue as she giggled with family and friends as she was getting ready to leave Saturday morning. She is from Guadalajara but has spent the majority of her life in the United States.
One family from Sudan celebrated two fathers receiving their citizenship on July 4th, 2009. Marco Bako, below, was one of those two dads and the little boy was playing while waiting for his father, a friend of Bako’s also from Sudan, outside.
Tolemi was interesting, she was becoming American after spending 26 years in the country.
And lastly there was Maria Torres, wearing her Virgen de Guadalupe bracelet.
And it would never be a true celebration of our country without a protest right?
Below are pics from Phoenix’s tea party . . . This one focused obviously on the bail out and government taxation but went on to stress the fears of socialized medicine, taxes on methane (to explain the fart photo) and all in all makes for some interesting and patriotic photos.
And with great pride the little girl proclaimed, “that sign is mine. I made it.”
What a great way to celebrate the independence of my country.
Posted on June 26, 2009
Pilgrims from Chalma, a town near Mexico City, march back with their Virgin de Guadalupe to place her back in their town’s church.
So a while back I started a project on the Virgen de Guadalupe . . . she is an apparition of the Virgin Mary that appeared on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City shortly after the Spanish ‘conquest’ of Mexico. Her brown skin and eyes and her duality (she appeared on the same hill where Tenotzin was worshiped) has given her an interesting duality and as Mexicans have spread around the world so has she.
Im adding some photos that I’ve gathered while working on this project below with descriptions:
This isn’t all of the content but it’s a start and a lame reason as to why I haven’t been posting anywhere near as regularly. Since reporting is wrapping up this weekend for me, one interview in L.A. and another in Gila Bend, Ariz. I’m excited to start wrapping up this project and preparing for Florida, only five weeks away.
Posted on June 8, 2009
First visit, or at least real time spent in Tijuana rather than commuting to and from the airport. I don’t know what to make of the city. We went from a starbucks in the Rio zona to the “wall” that comprises the U.S.-Mexico border along the beach and ended up at a boxing match framed by the entrance arc to Revolucion (The main tourist drag).
I think border towns are interesting, unique places unto themselves which could not be categorized as being 100% one country or another. What I hate about them is the desperation and need that comes with a country of immense need sharing a border with a country that has little need, only wants.
Here are a couple of pics that I liked, but I’ll add more later.
Posted on May 12, 2009
The ride back home . . . I’m now in AZ for a while, but it’s exciting because tomorrow I graduate! Obama is also our commencement speaker and I plan on sneaking in with my camera bag, should be fun.
Over the Mexico City skyline . . .
Posted on May 11, 2009
Met some new people for drinks/dinner at Groove in Condesa Saturday night. It was an interesting night, definitely won’t forget it . . . Anyway these were the ones I liked.
Posted on May 8, 2009
Writer Alexis Okeowo and I headed out to the Nacional Monte Piedad in the Zocalo Thursday morning. The Pawn shop, which is over 200 years old and takes up nearly a block of an old colonial building and provides low interest loans to Mexicans.
In the case of this pawn shop your goods are held for three months, interest free, then another three to four if you’re willing to pay the interest. At the conclusion of those six to seven months though the goods are taken by Nacional Monte Piedad and resold. This building specializes in only gold jewelry and watches.
We interviewed a few different families after I had spoken with a guard on Monday who commented that apart from the usual numbers, there was an extra amount of people pawning their goods or paying the interest to extend their loans since Monday. Sure enough thirty minutes before the doors opened the line was nearly to the end of the block. By two to eight it had just wrapped around the second wall of the building.
Im including some of the audio interviews we did with the translations below, but I didn’t cut myself out so you can hear the questions. This was hard to do, many people didn’t want to talk to us.
Of course many felt bad about pawning their things at all, as many were bringing family jewelry. Mexico is a much more cash based economy and while Americans would ride out credit cards for a week of no work, many here don’t have that luxury. The cash from the loan allows them to get by as some people we talked to, from a house wife to travel agent to cell phone owner confirmed.
The Olmedo family, made up of mother Estella Olmedo and sons Javier Olmedo, 35, and Marco Antonio Olmedo, 27, were within the first ten in line:
Pawning: Some bracelets, little bracelets, Yeah they’re our property. We came to “refrendar” when you have stuff in pawn and your time is up, you can come and pay interest to extend the loans.
A: Javier Olmedo – I have a cell phone shop and Marco has a barber shop.
Q: Did the influenza affect you a lot?
A: Yes, a lot, there were no people.
Q: Did you close them?
A: Javier and Marco: We had them closed, or we would open for minutes because there were no people out there.
Q: How low did your business fall?
A: All: Ooohhh like 80 %, no 90 %, we had only like 10% of normal business
Q: So it affected you a lot?
A: Javier: Yes, the truth is it did.
Q: Do you think you would be able to take your things out of pawn if you hadn’t had such bad business during that week.
A: Javier: Yes. Exactly.
Second in line was travel agent Julio Martinez
Q: What is your name?
Q: And your last name?
Q: And what are you bringint today to pawn?
A: Well some alajas,
Q: Whats that?
A: Rings, jewelry
Q: What is your job?
A: Travel agent
Q: So have you been affected a lot?
A: Yeah, a little a little,
Q: How much did your business drop over the last week or so?
A: Well generally its been low, but its gotten worse over the past few weeks for obvious reasons.
Q: So in a percentage how much would you say your business has dropped?
A: 60 percent, maybe more, there are no sales, no one traveling into Mexico
Q: So people in and around the city aren’t traveling?
A: Here in the city, for what corresponds to me, I imagine that similar circumstances are affecting other people to a lesser or higher degree . . . but in my case it is really affecting me
Q: Can I take a picture of what you’re pawning?
A: No, but they’re alajas and in Mexico thats rings, things like that.
Q: So they’re things that belong to your family?
A: Yes, of the family.
Q: Does it make you sad to pawn it?
A: Well it’s a moment in which (the alajas) work to help you. And you get a margin of time to recover them.
Q: So it’s not normal, but it’s done from time to time?
A: You do it during events, so during an event like this.
Q: So I imagine the economy and the influenza hitting at the same time . . .
A: Well they hit at the same time, and they hit us too. The influenza hit us, but also the question of the economy.
Q: Do you think that businesses now have permission to be open things will get better?
A: Yes, yes yes. Now with more activity, even if it is a little, you start to sell, and then you get some business, and that allows you to solve things that you have to solve.
Q: When do you think you’ll be able to take them back out?
A: They give you a margin of two to three months so in that time, so you have to take them out during that time to not lose them, so some where around that (2-3 months)
Q: Is this your first visit?
A: I’ve known this place for several years, when you end up in circumstances like this we visit it.
Q: Have you seen your business improve or is it still slow?
A: It’s going slow, but it has to improve as the situation improves and as we apply ourselves (to our work)
Lastly a homemaker, Maria Eugenia Rodriguez, who made sheets, tablecloths, etc on the side, who said a boost in business from making homemade cubrebocas, or facemasks, had helped her. She was extending her loan and was nearly last in line in the neon orange shirt.
Well we came out even [her home business], but I missed going out, we couldn’t go out to the street for several days. It was a hard situation for us, because the fears of going out and then being trapped inside . . .
They’re means [government regulations] that we have to respect, because as a caregiver of a family if there is a dangerous situation, well you know if you go out you can bring back something bad to your house.
It was interesting to talk to people and to see what you can do in an economy that is so heavily cash based as opposed to the credit based American economy. I’m sure if the government had continued to have shops/restaurants and businesses closed things wouldn’t have gone as well or as calmly as they have so far.
Posted on May 4, 2009
Went out shooting with photographer Brian Frank today, he is based in Mexico City and a pretty amazing photographer. I shot some, but his stuff, which will be featured in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday I believe is just awesome.
Frank shooting below:
Some of the pics I shot today, we went from La Merced Market and were kicked out, then to El Centro Cathedral, to some neighborhoods and finally to Garibaldi plaza where mariachis gather, it was a fun day.
La Merced Market:
Kite flying in El Centro neighborhoods:
And the interesting “printer” from el centro:
And other pics I liked:
Posted on May 4, 2009
In the hopes of feeling like we’re not all just spending out time at home (because all movie theatres, museums, large parks, public places, bars, restaurants, schools, and pretty much any other place people might gather being closed) we had a picnic in Condesa’s Parque Mexico . . . nice day for sure.
And just playing in the park: