WEEK #50 How are we doing? Dog chases, a field trip & love

It was dark outside and it was raining. There were three of them waiting at the corner. It didn’t look good. There wasn’t a way back either; I had to keep cycling. If I would stop and turn around they would definitely get me. No slowing down, only speeding up and hoping for the best. It wasn’t the first time and I was gradually getting used to it. Being chased by dogs. Not exactly a hobby of mine, but it keeps you sharp and at the same time I’m improving my sprint. Will the rabies shots come in handy some day? I hope not…

10403057_10203788615094980_788928804584690968_nI was cycling back from an amazing lunch at Manuel and Paolo’s house; they’re hosting Wouter and Samantha while we’re in Oaxaca. Chapulines, Mezcal, homemade horchata and an incredible mole were on the menu that afternoon. Manuel and Paola both work in and at Impact Hub Oaxaca; a local initiative with a community of creative young minds working for social change. You can find the Hub in several different cities around the world.

IMG_3663About 25 km north of Paola and Manuel is where Alex and Julia live. They’re my awesome hosts I met through Warmshowers.org. A really sweet couple working and living in Oaxaca. They know quite a lot about Oaxaca and can tell you just what you need to know and where to go.

IMG_3601The day I met Alex he showed me two places where he volunteers, Hijos de la Luna and Street Children Grassroots. The first is an orphanage with children between the ages of 3 weeks and 12 years. The orphanage was founded in 2001 as a response to the Children in Crisis issue in the state of Oaxaca. Hijos de la Luna harbors 56 children at the moment, they make sure they have permanent shelter, basic education, food, clothing, psychological, medical and dental care. What’s even more important, a home with personal care and attention.

Together with Alex, the children and the kind people who run the orphanage, we decided to take the kids on a little trip. With a large pickup truck and the 99%RIDE van we had a total of 22 kids with us as we drove to Calpulálpam, in the Sierra Norte District. Once there we went on a walking tour through town before heading to what I like to call a camping paradise. It was an eco-tourism spot with a cave, a small river, natural fish basins, bridge made from ropes and wood and enough ropes and tires to swing on for the whole group! An incredibly fun day for everyone!
On the way back the 99%RIDE van experienced some technical issues. The vehicle was left behind (to be towed away and fixed later) and we managed 22 kids and 8 adults into the large pickup truck. The kids fell asleep quite soon, and we sat waiting patiently to arrive in Oaxaca to stretch our legs.IMG_3614

It’s been a while since I’ve seen and felt so much love. Children who just walk up to you with their arms open, wanting to hug you or kiss you on the cheek. Laughing, playing and being joyful, even though they don’t have much. They have each other, and you feel the bond of this family of children when you’re around them. If you’re ever in Oaxaca, please, go and visit the Hijos de la Luna, I promise you’ll have a good time!

Good times were also to be found at the IESO, a University in Oaxaca. There we stood in front of 250 teachers to be. All these students will be sharing their knowledge with the children of the future.
Present at the school was also the local press, TV, radio and newspaper had taken pictures, interviews and were also live streaming the presentation. We felt very at home and privileged to share our story with so many local students.

IMG_3652A few days later we were standing in the courtyard of Impact Hub, Oaxaca. Local food made by locals and Dutch food made by Wouter and Samantha was being served, people were slowly coming in. Hub, Papalotes and Mundo Ceiba were hosting us for the evening. Drinks, food, a presentation and a ride through town made possible by Mundo Ceiba were on the agenda.
About 70+ people showed up, enjoying food from The Netherlands and their home country. A great atmosphere made the evening a success. 99%RIDE also made a donation to Papalotes, another great initiative in Oaxaca concerning children and education, helping them do the good work they do.

img1130551252aa5addd0Some locals have asked me what I think of Oaxaca. It’s a good question. Since I left Prudhoe Bay, Alaska I’ve been to some amazing places. Some of these places I love so much I know I will return. This is because of the people I’ve met, the culture, the surroundings and the vibe I pick up. I’m very happy to say that Oaxaca has a warm place in my heart, too. This is mostly by all the love I have felt these past couple of days. The children at Hijos de la Luna, the people that have hosted us and everybody else that has made our stay in Oaxaca so incredible. Thank you so much for your kindness!

From Oaxaca, Mexico,

Dirk Spits

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2 Thoughts on “WEEK #50 How are we doing? Dog chases, a field trip & love

  1. Janneke de Kaste on June 10, 2014 at 9:49 PM said:

    Weinig nodig om je compleet gelukkig te voelen 😀
    Puur geluk lees ik hierboven…

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