Feb. 22, 2009 – One day this week, Gerardo Tolantino stopped by. He teaches English at the middle school here, and we made a YouTube video of an historic tour he gave of our town, San Juan Cosala, a while back. That link takes you to the video.
This time, he invited us to the school around seven that evening for a celebration of the school’s ten years. It’s been in its present location for about eight years, and before that it met anywhere it could – in the plaza, in people’s homes, after hours at an elementary school. It was only through a lot of determined effort on the part of teachers and parents that the school got funded and built. At that time – I don’t know about now – only elementary school was compulsory in Mexico.
So ten years was something to celebrate. We walked over to the school, not far from where we live, just at dusk. We greeted Gerardo and felt dozens of adolescent eyes upon us as we strolled along the outside hallway, where a display of old photos from nearby Jocotepec had been put up. One was marked 1899, and many were from early in the 20th century. They reminded me how close this area is to its historic roots.
Concentrating on them, I didn’t really notice that a lecture was going on. I glanced up and saw the word Gonorrhea on a slide show. Then I listened, and the kids were being given a serious lecture on the dangers of you know what.
That ended pretty soon, and the dancing began. It was already pretty dark. Kelly and I stood with Gerardo and watched the dancing for quite a while. It was a local group, with people of all ages. I liked this misty picture Kelly got:
There was a large contingent of teenage girls behind us, making oohing sounds when male and female dancers approached each other:
After a while, we said our thanks and went home. We’d had a great time. It was still going on as we left: