Tag Archives: Teotitlan del Valle

Party for the Animals: Fundraiser for Teotitlan Spay-Neuter Clinic, Sunday, August 19, 2018

PLEASE SHARE. CAR POOL TO TEOTITLAN. GIVE. 

I will provide the famous Teotitlan del Valle mole amarillo con pollo tamales made by my neighbor Ernestina. She will also make delicious black bean tamales for the vegetarians among us. You bring the beverages.

We want to raise 5,000 pesos. 

  • It costs 400 pesos total to spay or neuter one animal.
  • We pay 200 pesos to the Tlacolula vets for each animal.
  • It costs 200 pesos per animal for medicines and surgical supplies.
  • Our goal is to help keep the animal population under control, cut the number of unwanted animals, and provide education for families and the community.
  • Usually, there are two clinics a month, every other Thursday, fixing from six to a dozen dogs or a few cats.
  • This is a privately funded endeavor organized by Merry Foss based on donations.
  • The village calls her “Maria de los Perros”
  • Sometimes, when she runs out of funds, she pays out-of-pocket.
  • She is on a mission and we have a long way to go!

Just a bit too young for surgery … later!

HOW TO GIVE!

We can accept funds through PayPal sent to my account: oaxacaculture@me.com  Open PayPal. Choose Send Money to Family and Friends. Click. It will open to a page. Enter send money to oaxacaculture@me.com and the amount. Please be sure it is sent in US dollars. I will then convert to pesos and give your donation to Merry.

Or, use choose the amount you’d like to give below. PayPal will take 3% fee to use these links:

Scenes from the clinic.

Veterinarian Erwin from Tlacolula de Matamoros

Time for anesthesia, Veterinarian Alma, Erwin’s wife, and her cousin, also a Vet

Merry Foss doing in-take, pink tag = rabies shot given

Medicine and supplies

Rounding up the big dogs

The recovery room

Many of you know that over a year ago, I rescued three dogs living wild in the fields near my house. I took them to Merry to have them spayed (two females) and neutered (one male). Starving Beezy, our poster dog, was taken in by Janie during her visit here. Kalisa snatched him about six months ago, to neuter him, but he had another “home.” But, he showed up to Janie starving and in need. The owner got himself another dog he keeps chained to a post in the field.

We brought Beezy back to health and took him to San Pablo Etla to Friends of Megan animal rescue for adoption. We don’t yet have a fostering/adoption program here in Teotitlan. Merry has her hands full with the clinic, but sometimes she is able to take in dogs in need and tries to find them homes, too.

In June, people came forward with gifts to help Beezy, and I used the extra funds to donate to Friends of Megan and to this clinic, in addition to giving veterinary care to the dog.

Aye, chihuahua preciosa

This is my first life experience having animals! It’s both challenging and rewarding. The most challenging for me is that there are so many animals in need. I wouldn’t call myself a dog person (I’m a textile person), but I cannot turn away.

Thank you for your help and for your participation on Sunday, August 19. Party for the Animals.

 

 

 

 

What About Beezie? Oaxaca Dog Rescue and Finding a Home

This story has a happy ending!

Two days after I returned to Teotitlan del Valle and my home here, I wrote about the skin and bones campo dog that Janie started feeding and named Beezween, which is Zapotec for deer. Beezie leaps like one with his long legs, so it was fitting. I posted Facebook pictures of a dog who looked close to death. I thought, OMG, what am I going to do with FOUR dogs, and I put out the call for a rescue. Beezie needs a home.

Beezie taking a snoozle.

What I got were several generous donations from friends in the US, Canada and Germany to help sustain him until we could figure out a resolution. Thank you to Linda Mansour, Kate Rayner, Judith Grossmann, Barbara Szombatfalvy, Susie Robison, Donna Davis and Karen Nein.

Bottom to top: Beezie, Tia, Butch. Mamacita is missing.

Janie wanted to bring him back with her to North Carolina when she leaves next week. She fell in love! Beezie responded to her by sitting, laying and rolling over. It was a heartfelt bonding.

Janie teaching Beezie to lay down

Meanwhile, I started making buckets of chicken soup and got big bones from the local butcher. Meals were supplemented with chicken livers and gizzards.  My three loved the extra treatment and Beezie started to gain weight.

Healthier Beezie after three weeks of care and feeding

After a ton of research and many phone calls, Janie found that the least cost to transport Beezie to the US via private courier (the airlines are no longer taking responsibility for transporting animals) was out of reach — over $1,500 to start.

Beezie in distress, June 29, 2018

Way back in the beginning of my return and in a panic, I found Rebecca Durden Raab who started a not-for-profit dog rescue organization years ago in San Pablo Etla called Friends of Megan. I contacted her and got the name of the vet, Luciano, who has worked with her for over twelve years. They offer a shelter and dog placement service, including spay/neuter and healthcare. Janie followed up.

Dr. Luciano, the vet from Friends of Megan, with an outstretched hand

Yesterday, Beezie happily (and miraculously) submitted to collar and leash without a fuss. Janie led him down the drive to Omar’s waiting car and they set out for San Pablo Etla and new beginnings. We both cried but knew he would be in good hands.

Beezie sat in Janie’s lap for the entire road trip to Etla

Janie applied for and won a textile residency at Meredith College in Raleigh that starts in September, based much on the volunteer work she did with Galeria Fe y Lola here in the village during the time she house sat and cared for the dogs. She would have had her hands full with a campo dog trying to adjust to city life!

I have used the funds entrusted to me to support Beezie’s journey back to health to buy food and medicines. The funds I did not spend have been donated to Friends of Megan and to the Teotitlan del Valle Spay Neuter Clinic run by Merry Foss.

Beezie. It was hard for Janie to let him go.

Merry’s website is defunct, so if you want to donate, you can send PayPal funds to me using Friends and Family at oaxacaculture@me.com and I’ll make sure it gets to her.

The donations to Friends of Megan are tax-deductible in the USA.

My prayer is that no other starving dogs show up at my front gate!  Three is enough and it’s too hard turning a distressed animal away. There are so many here!

Thanks to everyone for following the journey.

This is not tourist life in Oaxaca. It’s the underbelly of what happens day-to-day, much the same as in other “civilized” countries where animals are mistreated, cut loose to fend for themselves. The overpopulation of dogs here is rampant. I wish I didn’t have to write this story. I’m certain not all stories, those we don’t hear about, end up like this one.

 

In Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca It’s Dance of the Feather with Basketball and HonkeyTonk Fair

Los Danzantes and the Dance of the Feather, Danza de la Pluma

There’s a lot going on this week in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, where I live part of the year. Next to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Precious Blood and the annual saint’s day celebrations honoring the church founding with the Dance of the Feather, there is a carnival fair with kiddie rides, a basketball tournament, and the daily market. To say there is a traffic jam is an understatement.

Today’s Danza de la Pluma starts at 5 p.m.

How many basketball courts are there in Teotitlan del Valle? Who knows?

At the lighted court, two teams are competing while a crowd looks on. Basketball is a big deal here. This court, next to the village market and across from the church was completed last year, complete with grandstand seating and a raised platform for scorekeeper and the guy who does the play-by-play.

Playing basketball under the shadow of the 17th century church, Teotitlan del Valle

The tournament continues through the entire week and attracts young and older alike. This is important entertainment here. A new court was recently built in my neighborhood and each of the five administrative districts of the village will field their best team for this event.

Ball is in the air. Will he make the hoop? YES!

Some of these young men are talented enough to play for the UNC Tarheels, I think.

Meanwhile, back in the church courtyard, hundreds of visitors are watching

This is the third and last year of this 2016-2018 group of Los Danzantes. It is particularly meaningful now as they get ready to pass the baton to the next group who make the three-year commitment to their church and village traditions.

La Malinche, Moctezuma and Doña Marina hold court

Teotitlan is widely known for its Dance of the Feather. Each group tries to outdo those who came before. They are all capable of high leaps and dizzying spins.

Exit the church courtyard to a world of rides and games

Bright lights, loud music projected via huge loudspeakers, screams of delight from children, and booths filled with all types of cakes and cookies are just beyond the church courtyard.

In the distance, we see the sacred mountain Picacho, but who is paying attention? Surely not those who are playing bingo for a chance to win a large plastic trash pail or those tossing the ring with the hope to land a teddy bear.

Family and friends enjoying nieves, Oaxaca version of ice cream

Families and lovers stroll holding ice cream cones, called nieves here. The word means snow. This treat is more like sorbet or gelato. Moms and dads watch over their children who are deep into the moment.

A commitment to recycling, organic and inorganic waste baskets

I’m with my host family. We stop for esquites and boiled corn cob on a stick.  Both are slathered with mayonnaise, shredded cheese, lime juice, hot sauce and chili pepper.

Slathered corn cob on a stick, a Mexican favorite

The esquite maker — an art form, too

Back in the church courtyard, a mezcal toast — salud!

The tradition here is to give and receive guelaguetza, which represents mutual and community support. This includes the significance of gifting mezcal, fruit, bread and chocolate representing abundance for all. It is the responsibility of those more fortunate to help those in need, especially family members.

Members of the church committee distribute fruit to audience members

Stray dog stops play for a moment

Back at the basketball court, the tournament comes to a stop, interrupted by one of the many roaming dogs in the village that is searching for a scrap of food.

Shadows grow longer as the sun descends

The dancers have danced since 1 p.m. It is almost past eight o-clock in the evening. They take breaks with rest, water and Gatorade. There has been no rain so far, so this year the dancing has been a bit easier as temperatures hover in the low eighties (fahrenheit).

Moms watch their children at the rides.

This is a huge regional festival. People from other villages come to enjoy the party. Here, a group of women from Santa Ana del Valle watch their children and take a respite. I can tell where they are from by their elaborate aprons and pleated skirts, a different costume than what traditional women in our village wear.

The grand finale, a prayer by the dancers in the church courtyard

Inside the church, long lines to pay tribute to the altar of the patron saint

Night descends and fiesta-goers shift from church to the adjacent carnival

 

Preview: Teotitlan del Valle Celebrates Village Life with Basket Parade

The fiesta in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, is an annual event, always celebrated the first week in July. This year it continues through July 9.  I’m posting the schedule below for those of you in Oaxaca.

Gathering in the church patio, Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca

This is a festival that honors the village church, Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Senor Jesucristo. This is a religious event primarily that also includes La Danza de la Pluma (Dance of the Feather), daily masses, an adjacent carnival next to the market (making it impossible to park), fireworks, and lots of parties with tamales and mezcal.

Out in front of the parade, children with papier-mache animals atop bamboo poles

I couldn’t imagine a better homecoming than by celebrating the kick-off event by attending the Desfile de Canastas — Parade of the Baskets — that started yesterday, July 2 at 6 p.m. from the church courtyard.

Miles to go with a heavy decorated basket on their head

All ages take part, from children, pre-teens and young adults

Young women who have never married are selected by the festival sponsors to hold ornate and heavy baskets on their heads and process about three miles through all the village neighborhoods.

Village officials go with the young women through the cobbled streets

They are solemn. This is serious respect for traditions and religious life. Even three and four-year olds participate, helped by parents. Learning the culture starts young.

My friend Danny Hernandez with his daughter

Group photos in front of the 17th century church

How do I know the distance? I clocked it on my FitBit, starting right along with the group of hundreds, including the two bands, the Feather Dancers, the Canasta walkers, church and village officials, children out in front holding whimsical animals atop poles, various relatives and volunteers.

The children are a special feature of this event, joyful and eager to take part

As the parade wound through the village streets through all the five administrative sections, up hill and down, crowds of onlookers assembled at strategic corners. In every neighborhood, I passed people I knew. Since I’ve only returned three days ago, it was an opportunity to greet people and feel welcomed.

At the corner behind the municipal building, a crowd of all ages gathers

Hand-carved amulets and rattles are held to keep evil at bay

This custom of community celebration and mutual support goes back thousands of years in Zapotec life, long before the Spanish arrived to conquer Mexico, name it New Spain, and integrate Catholic rites into already existing spiritual/mystical practice. Today, we call this blending syncretism. Zapotec tradition has very strong roots here.

Los Danzantes stop to offer homage in each neighborhood

Today, joking with the children and the crowd is one of the jester jobs

Festival Schedule

Tuesday, July 3: The Dance of the Feather will start around 5p.m. in the church courtyard accompanied by the Band, followed by an extravagant fireworks display that usually doesn’t start until 11 p.m.

Wednesday, July 4: The Dance of the Feather starts at 1 p.m. and continues until about 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 5: This is a day of rest.

Friday, July 6: At 6 p.m. there is another procession with the beautiful young women of the village wearing their traditional indigenous dress.

Saturday, July 7: At 4 p.m. the Dance of the Feather dancers meet in the church for a mass, then at 5 p.m. the Dance of the Feather resumes in the church courtyard.

Juana Gutierrez with her niece.

Sunday, July 8: At 11:30 a.m. there is a procession through the village with Los Danzantes, and at 1 p.m. there is a Dance of the Feather ceremony in the church courtyard.

Monday, July 9: The festival ends with an 8 a.m. mass in the church.

The fair (feria) is filled with rides and carnival games — open daily.

Felipe Flores is on live camera for his California family

All of this is organized and produced by village volunteers. To be a member of the community, one must make a promise to serve. This involves being part of a committee for one to three-years, including the job of village president. Because this is a traditional indigenous Usos y Costumbres village that is self-governing, this is a responsibility by men, women and families who live here.

The jester. In the conquest story, he was an Aztec spy, invisible

Committees determine priority projects and moderate conflicts, levy local taxes and make village improvements. Even the police department is based on two-year volunteer service of one week a month — a daytime or nighttime duty.

The band in reflection

Quite a marvel in today’s complex, law-driven universe.

I hope you come and enjoy. It’s a wonderful experience to be here.

Santiago family sisters with grandsons. Their father was a danzante 12 years ago.

After the procession returned to the church courtyard, we met for a taco at Buky’s, under the lights of the tent, watching the children racing between the rides, enjoying the chill summer air.

El Buky for hamburgers and tacos al fresco

Outdoor dining Teotitlan style

Before the rides start up there is still fun

Opposite directions; street dog in search of food

Sweet Teotitlan del Valle Street Dog Needs a Home: Please Help!

My re-entry to Oaxaca included a surprise. FOUR dogs, not three, in my patio.

I am looking for a caring, compassionate person to adopt Beeszween.  Beeszween is Zapotec for Little Deer. Janie named him this because of his long deer-like legs. Janie, who was house sitting for me, would keep him but she goes back to the USA soon. He’s so thin with all his ribs showing that he looks just pitiful. We know he will fill out to be a healthy dog in the right home.

Meet Beeszween from Teotitlan del Valle, a sweet dog who needs a home.

He is neutered. Before Janie arrived, Kalisa took him to Merry Foss’ village spay/neuter clinic three months ago before she returned to San Diego. Thank you, Kalisa.

I already have THREE adopted dogs from the campo and I cannot take one more into my patio. I’m so sorry! I hope you understand.

Beeszween responds to SIT and STAY commands.  He is very loving and loyal.

Can you help?  Write me at norma.schafer@icloud.com to rescue  and adopt this one-year old.  I fear that without a home, he is close to the end of his life.

His eyes say, Please help me!

How did he end up a street dog — or in our case, a campo dog, roaming the fields looking for food and comfort? He was taken in by a neighbor as a puppy to guard the corn crib down the lane. He was tied to the post of the outdoor garage. One day, I saw he had broken loose. He started trailing me, Mamacita, Tia and Butch on our countryside walks and then following my dogs home. He would leave and return. I think whomever had him has stopped feeding him. That’s what happens here.

Janie started feeding Beezie a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I have now succumbed, too. Now, he is hovering at the patio gate, begging and desperate. But, I just cannot manage having FOUR dogs.

Can you help?