June Brings Rainstorms and New Volunteers

It’s been hard to keep up with everything going on around here. As always, the Casa is full of an eclectic mix of people (Below: Guest Bill Gosnell teaching juggling in the reception). Volunteers are coming and going,  and it’s like overnight I’ve been converted into a veteran member of the team.

We have guests from all around the world, as well as several migrants and refugees staying with us through the Casa’s Solidarity Lodging program. The couple that I have been accompanying for the last month just found a new apartment, which will double as their restaurant. I’m planning a mini documentary project to record their progress in renovating the space and getting the restaurant up and running. They’ve been working tirelessly for weeks now, but it looks like they will be able to open within the next month.

Will Gosnell, traveling juggler educator and friend/guest at the Casa, does an impromptu juggling lesson in the reception.

Will Gosnell, traveling juggler educator and friend/guest at the Casa, does an impromptu juggling lesson in the reception.

The Haverford CPGC summer volunteers, John Kouakam ’17, Jake Lichtenbaum ’16, and Rafael Moreno ’17 got here just last week. John and Rafa had stayed at the Casa previously, during the Haverford-Casa Migration Field Study which is coordinated by the Casa and is an intensive learning tour of migration on the Arizona border and in Mexico City.  They will both be volunteering at Tochan, the migrant shelter the Casa helps coordinate. Jake will be working at Barrio Activo, a community and cultural center in a neighborhood in northern Mexico City which offers a summer program for youth vulnerable to delinquency and violence.

And my outlook on the Casa shifted drastically last week. Literally; I moved up to the fourth floor where my neighbors are Bertha and Mara, along with several cacti, jade and aloe plants. In the morning I wake up, stretch, and say hello to the Monument to the Revolution, now in plain sight from just outside my door.

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The weather is changing too. Lately the rain comes daily. Whether in the form of  an afternoon torrential downpour, light mist from the morning onward, evening thunderstorms, and the occasional threat of hail, water has been a more constant presence in the last weeks. Weekend before last, some compañeros(as) from the Escuelita dressed themselves as mutant GMO corn people and made an appearance at the Festival del Maíz. Then, an unbelievable rainstorm hit and they came to seek refuge in the Casa.

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School and work and convivencia haven’t left me time for much else lately, but I’m looking forward to a mid-June beach vacation in Oaxaca. I’m also working on finishing up and printing Casa t-shirts, posters for the cooperatives we support, systematizing Casa donations policies, attending a workshop tomorrow on migrant detentions in Mexico, and I just completed the first evaluation for the Escuelita, which concludes the first of three sections of the school.  We also just started a planning meeting for a trueque to happen in the Casa in July. Our very first trueque in the Casa with an alternative currency of our own, and various workshops, musical performances and talented artesan producers.