Silvia María

Yesterday afternoon, in the courtyard of our Spanish school, we got an incredible surprise – a private concert by Silvia María, a true Oaxacan treasure. I didn’t know that an individual could be considered part of a region’s cultural heritage, just like an important landmark or a work of art. But apparently it is possible, and this woman is one such “cultural heritage” icon. Raised in Oaxaca, she has performed for over 60 years and has a wide repertoire of songs from every region of her home state. She also performs songs from all over Mexico and the world. From the very first note, I was completely entranced by her music. Some experiences are difficult to describe in words. I recorded this video of Silvia María singing La llorona, one of my favourite Mexican folk songs. If you have a few minutes, check it out! You won’t be disappointed! Continue reading

Medicine: A Story of Generosity

On the way to the park for the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe celebrations, we came across a homeless indigenous family huddled on the sidewalk. One of their three young children had a terrible cough. Out of the blue, a woman walked up to them and took a small bottle out of her tattered purse. She said, in Spanish, “My baby has a bad cough as well. I just bought this medicine for her at the pharmacy. Take it. I have enough for one more bottle.” Medicine is extremely expensive here in Mexico, especially for those who can’t afford health insurance. We may just have witnessed a life being saved. I never cease to be amazed by the everyday generosity of the Oaxacan people. One love. ❤️

A Simpler Time

Living in Oaxaca feels not only like being in a different country (which it is…) but also in a different time! Rather, it’s like a combination of different eras. Brand-new Audis parallel-park on cobblestone streets behind VW Beetles from the 1950’s, women wearing the same traditional outfits their ancestors have worn for 200 years sell fruit and vegetables in front of Domino’s Pizza and some families have wifi, cable tv and the latest iPhone whereas their next-door neighbors may have never touched a computer, use a landline phone and still only communicate by snail mail. Continue reading