Initial greetings are always full of hugs and kisses and Spanish phrases I try to interpret without losing the flow of the moment. There were many. Then I was greeted by Ivan, a young man who has been teaching art to this group. He assisted me last year in teaching the women to silk paint; it was a great collaboration - Ivan with his art background and my limited but sufficient silkpainting experience. In his arms, he presented me with a beautiful watercolor he had done. It is similar in style to the large mural he recently completed at the center....colorful and full of life, displaying all of the classes and endeavors that take place at this community center in a poor colonia in Mazatlan. I felt so honored! After the greetings and casual catching up/show-n-tells of projects they've recently completed, the real guests of honor showed up. Art and Jacquie Plunz of Red Deer, Alberta, arrived to see each of the 13 women involved in the group receive one of the sewing machines that they brought down in their truck and fifth-wheeler from Canada. Our group leader, Toy Pruneda, had been in contact with Art and Jacquie and had discussed the needs of the group, and this generous couple took it from there. All of the machines where donated through their church or community members and are in excellent condition with recent service records. Toy also told them that the ladies like to make purses and other items out of used jeans, so the youth group at church took over and collected MANY...I didn't count but saw at least 5 or 6 huge bags. Art told me that the box of his truck was packed full, and initially the Mexican border guards were hesitant to let him pass through without a tariff, but gave him the "green light" upon realizing they were from Canada. One by one, each lady sat with their "new" machine for a photo opportunity. Here is Dora Alicia, one of the most accomplished sewers, who was chosen by Toy to receive the newest machine. In her hands, she holds a photo of Sharon Dickaw, the owner of this machine, who recently passed away. Her kind husband, Dale,wanted to make sure her machine was passed on to someone very special. What a beautiful and generous act! Dora Alicia, like all of the other twelve, were so happy and so appreciative of these gifts. Each then bestowed gifts of items they had made to Art and Jacquie to deliver to their generous friends in Red Deer.
Jacquie is holding one of Lola's dolls and wearing one of Magui's beautiful scarves. Art was the recipient of a great apron along with many other sewn and hand-crafted items.
But the party wasn't over. As it was Cata's birthday (29 again!), we shared a lovely meal together of tamales, frijoles, ceviche, fruta, etole, and pineapple cake (pastel de pina). She was given a pile of canned goods and household items (from tp to laundry soap), collectively donated by the rest of us, as a most utilitarian gift.
And, as icing to the cake, we were blessed with two solos by our talented singers, Ceci and Lola. My heart was full and warm!