It has been nearly 2 weeks here in Mexico City working with Isla Urbana and I have just put in my order this morning for my last squeezed juice! This is my second time working for this Rainwater Harvesting Tribe here in Cultura Mayo Tlalpan, on the far southwest of DF (Distrito Federal) and this time I have been able to really immerse into the work, and much also into the many different flavors of this city (literally, I think I have eaten my way through these last 2 weeks!). Last nights dinner with Carmen, a neighbor and family friend of IU was the most mouth watering meal I have had in ages! Que Rico Carmen, Gracias!
I have been working mainly with the effervescent Jenny White, and with Antonio Cervantes, also known as the Dude (this guy is uber cool, he dresses “cholo” with a flair, and has an innate sense for music, film, and language). Driving around the barios that Isla is making a mark in with an ease and knowledge of the communities and it’s members. Antonio doubles as a linguistic teacher when he is not out pushing the rainwater revolucion!
It truly is a revolution with this band, yesterday saw the premiere shooting of a television spot they will be having with Aztec TV’s “Hola Mexico”, along with Enrique Lomnitz’s addition into Ashoka’s Fellow’s, an exciting honor for the Director of IU who’s vision is strong, sure and vivid!
Mexico is a rich blend of colorful culture, food, music and warmth, so it is not surprising that Isla Urbana is striking forth with a similar mix. Life is not just about infrastructure, it is about so much more, and to see how they work in communities that they implement the Rainwater Harvesting System’s in shows that to be succesful with infrasturcture, you really need to connect in so many other ways. And so they do, community cleanups, spending time with participants, knowing the communities and always coming up with new ways to reach out.
The proof is also in the fact that they have woven and extremely tight relationship with the Huichole, an intensely private and proud indiginous group living in the Siera Madres, some 14 hours drive from Mexico City. The project known as “Ha Tatukari” (Huichole for “water is life”) has spanned the past 3 years and they are now part of the family and go regularly to spend time and continue with progress in the community who needed help with water. More to come on this chapter for sure!
I will be sad to leave my amigos here, I have been touched with the warmth and sincerity not only of Isla Urbana, but also the people that I have met here, always welcoming and genuine. Mexico, estas deliciosa!