Tashirat Newsletter – September/October 2014

Dearest friends and family,

As most of you know, this spring, at the height of our dry season, we were hit with a devastating hailstorm. It was quite a shock because right before the storm began it was about 90 degrees, and a couple of hours later the ground was covered with almost a foot of ice!

During the storm, while we were still oblivious to the damage being done, everyone was having a great time. Two of our houses were seriously flooding with ice water, but we’re kind of used to getting flooded at least once during the rainy season. The kids were even laughing about that and they were in ecstasy as they watched 2 foot drifts of hail piling up outside our doors and windows. They collected massive mounds of hail balls with every available receptacle in the kitchen, and were passing bowls around like it was popcorn!  Everyone wanted to run out and feel “snow” for the first time, holding buckets and lids over their heads! The next day, while most of the staff members were busy repairing and surveying the damage, our kids had their first, and most likely last, snow day home from school. They even went sledding on pieces of broken plastic roofing, and had many “snow” ball wars, constructing battlements out of torn roofing in front of their drifts of “ammunition”. It was the experience of a lifetime for our children who’ve never experienced freezing temperatures, let alone snow! Strangely enough, even throughout the storm, it never dropped below 70 degrees, and the morning after, the sun came out and temperatures were blazing back up in the high 80s.

Check out this video and these photos for closer look at the lighter side of the storm aftermath.

 

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Thank you so much to all of you who helped us to rebuild our home. The damage was overwhelming but so was the incredible love and support we received from all of you who reached out with heartfelt emails and donations to help us make the necessary repairs. Most of the storm repairs are finished and we feel so blessed to have such a supportive network of family and friends. 

We have a new child to introduce! His name is Aldo, he’s 12 years old, and has been here for about a month now. He is full of fun and lots of energy. He is very, very tiny for his age; he actually looks more like a small 7 year old. He’d never attended school before coming to Tashirat, and spent a lot of time living on the streets. It’s beautiful to have a new child, especially since it feels so much easier with so many of our older children already entering their teens.

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Our oldest teenagers have been developing a leadership project for teens who want to create a safe, substance-free social life for themselves, learn how to enhance their own well-being and participate in service projects together. They continue to organize Friday Soccer Nights, which some of our preteens and younger teens also attend. It’s really beautiful to see how well they all get along and how included everyone is, no matter their age, sex or disability. It’s a fast paced game, everyone plays full out but just for fun, and the court resounds with non-stop laughter. It is our hope that we can continue to create opportunities like this for our young people and young people in the surrounding communities.

Our friend, Mary Hirsch from Kimberton, Pennsylvania, initiated a craft workshop with our children this summer with the help of her daughter and 2 friends. Mary is coming back this month to head a youth entrepreneur project! KidzBiz is an entirely new project in which several students will work closely with Mary, who is an artisan business owner herself, for one month in developing a business plan, creating a prototype, meeting with business owners in the Tepoztlan community, purchasing materials and tools, and working side-by-side as a team. They will learn marketing launching an Etsy shop, as well as selling outside of Mexico by networking with visitors who could potentially sell products to their circle of friends.

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While Mary was here in July, she taught all the girls (and a few boys) how to make their own beautiful cloth baby doll, how to knit, weave a hammock and use a sewing machine. On her return this fall, a few of our older girls will be making and marketing their own doll with Mary, and, depending on the support we receive for KidzBiz over the next month, we are hoping we will also have the funds to purchase the materials and tools required to initiate wooden stroller business for the older boys at the same time. If anyone would like to help get KidzBiz started, please go www.tashirat.com/donate .

Thank you all for your love and support.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer!

Lots of love,

Tashirat staff and kids

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