Wednesday, October 29, 2014

El Dia de los Muertos, 2014

Part of apron fabric--"auto
El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, is a commemorative holiday celebrated in Mexico and other Latin countries, but especially in Mexico on November 1 and 2nd.  This day honors the dead, not with sadness and morbidity, but with food, flowers and remembrances. I first learned of this holiday when I was teaching high school in Los Angeles and this is  how a student of mine explained it.  "Mrs. R, it's boring being dead and once a year we remember my grandfather by giving him a little party.  We make an altar with foods he liked,  his special beer, with photos of us, with flowers and take it to the cemetery.  We light candles and remember my grandfather." 

 To celebrate, sugar skull candies are made and a special bread, Pan Muerto.  Figures are created to represent the dead doing everyday things, like playing marimbas, being in a mariachi band, and many other activities,  but always with a skull face.  The tradition says that on November 1st and  second, the heavens open and the souls of the dead return to earth to connect with their relatives. Not  a bad way to remember those we loved. And. . .my thanks to Vanessa Portillo who told me the story of her grandfather.  I am sending her good wishes through cyberspace.  

This is a copy of the first part of a blog post I wrote last year and a link to the creative creations of El dia de Los Muertos And. . .I bought this apron in Santa Fe this past summer and could not resist illustrating this post with a section of the fabric.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bless the Beasts and the Children

Amid the sad, horrific stories coming from Africa, the Ebola crisis and others, there are a group of people doing something, and that is trying to save the African Elephant.  The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, is one organization.  Their mission is to rescue the baby elephants that have been left motherless when their mothers are killed by poachers.  They also rescue and rehabilitate rhinos, other wildlife and attempt to stop poaching by various means.

I received, as a gift, a baby elephant, ZIWA, who was adopted for me by my sister.  Of course I know I am one of many adopters who are contributing to ZIWA'S care among others, but that is fine.  It helps those of us who contribute to our special causes to read a story or see a picture, even though we understand that we are essentially contributing to the whole trust.  Read ZIWA's story if you can.  Poor baby, although quite big now was not thriving in the relocation area and had to be air lifted back to Nairobi just in time before he grew too big to be shipped back in a small plane.  He is doing better, perhaps he missed "home."

And you may ask, why worry about animals when there is so much need in other areas in Africa?  I see this as the big picture.  If we can, we need to be concerned about all our creatures, not just the two-legged variety.  And where there is cruelty in one area, it is certain that there is cruelty in another.  David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is worth a look.  (this link should work)

 Elephants financially worth 76 times more alive than dead! - 10/10/2014 

Ziwa back in Nairobi
Ziwa, looking very thin
This article explains this in detail for those who say, "What does it matter.?"
and is on the web site.