Casa for Juan Manuel Update

The roof is up!!!! You have done it!!! We are nearly there! A Home for Juan Manuel has floor, walls and roof! 

Zata, our builder, estimates three more weeks to completion. Next week he will focus on finishing the outside: patching all holes with cement and making sure everything is waterproofed. The following week they will focus on the inside: plastering the walls, installing the floor and electrical outlets, toilet and sinks, etc. The week after that he will install the windows and doors. Bless you all!!!!

Here is an accounting updated as of today:

 

Description

Amount

Income

 

85,895

Expenses

 

 

 

Labor

20,000

 

Construction material from Soria

20,000 (prepaid; remaining balance 4718)

 

Concrete floor pad and roof

13,115

 

Other misc.

4,683

          Total paid to date:

 

57,798

 

 

 

Remaining balance:

 

28,097

We have received donations of a toilet, bathroom sink, windows and doors, cement and gravel, and a brand-new microwave oven. One woman is currently making Juan Manuel and his father a couple of blankets for their beds. Below are photos of the roof project; click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

If you have items or funds to share with this project, please do so; donation details can be found here. We could especially use a tinaco.

It is my fervent hope we can complete the house as planned and also build a wheelchair ramp for Juan Manuel’s house and Don Jose’s house two doors down. At this point Juan Manuel can still walk with crutches, however being blind, smooth surfaces make life easier. And despite his stroke Don Rodrigo is mobile as well, but the ramp would be a terrific addition. Don José lives two doors down and is not able to leave his home as he has no legs and is wheelchair bound yet has no egress from his home.

If this project sounds good to you, please pass the details on to your friends and family. Thank you all!

Camerata Campbell 2021

I have great news for fans of the Camerata Campbell and those of you craving excellent, live and in person classical music: Camerata Campbell is back this year for its tenth season! The pandemic has meant a change of venue for the Maestro and his musicians to the acoustically sweet and open air La Casona de la Machado.

It’s not only the venue that is new and exciting this year. The limitations imposed by the pandemic also dictate fewer musicians on stage. Maestro Campbell has used this as a point of inspiration and each concert with highlight one or two musicians, enabling the audience to fully appreciate the emblematic sound of each instrument. I am told that masks will be required, and there will be one and a half meters between parties with a maximum of 200 people attending. Programs will not be given out due to sanitary precautions, so I share links below so that you can review and print your own.

Camerata Campbell showcases the best of Sinaloan musicians. One of it’s trademarks is high quality music with a bit of education thrown in, and this season will include remarks both by the Maestro as well as from the performers themselves, explaining what inspires them about the pieces they have chosen.

Events will be every Sunday, January 10 through February 28, at 5pm. Tickets are 350 pesos each and can be purchased at the Panamá restaurant in front of the cathedral or in the Golden Zone, at Pedro y Lola on the Machado, or at La Casona on the day of the event.

Maestro Campbell, his wife Guianeya and son Alexander visited with us on Wednesday to treat you to our annual sneak preview of the season.

 

CONCERTS IN THE 2021 SEASON

January 10: Bach’s Partitas with violinist Alexander Gordon Campbell Vdovina

Alexander Campbell, violinist

The very talented Alexander Campbell, the Maestro’s son, will treat us to the Bach Partitas, which are absolutely perfect for our times—uplifting the spirit and building hope. The Ciaconna in particular is famous as a very challenging piece. Part of the second partita, it was composed in honor of Bach’s departed wife. Camerata Campbell presents it in honor of all those we have lost to COVID-19 and to inspire hope that we will soon be getting the better of this horrible plague.

The Bach Partitas are the ultimate trial for a violinist due to their technical difficulty and the spirituality that inspired them. This will be an opportunity for people who don’t know them to add them to their personal playlists. 
Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/partitas-de-bach

I was thrilled to have Alexander pull out his instrument and treat Greg and myself to a private concert on our back patio during our interview. I of course recorded that gift to share it with you:

 

January 17: Mexican Waltzes with pianist Aldo Tercero

Aldo Tercero, pianist

Get ready to sway and dance, as internationally known pianist and producer, Aldo Tercero, performs a program of the most famous Mexican waltzes. Even if you think you don’t know waltzes, I’ll bet you can identify the two most famous in the world. The first, of course, is Strauss’s “Blue Danube.” Most people think the second was also written in Vienna, but, interestingly, it was composed by a Mexican: self-taught composer and musician, Juventino Rosas. You may not recognize its title, “Over the Waves,” but I bet you will recognize the tune, which combines a European aesthetic sense with Mexican passion. Rosas was actually here in Mazatlán with diva Angela Peralta when she died, another interesting connection to the plague of our times.

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/valses-mexicanos

 

January 24: Bach Suites for Cello with cellist Arian Castro Murillo

Arián Castro Murillo, cellist

If, like me, you are fascinated by the cello, here is your chance to meditate on some of the best cello music every written, the Bach Suites, which are Indispensable in the repertoire of any accomplished cellist. The pieces will be played by Arián Castro Murillo, principal cellist of the Sinfonietta Philomusica Juventus.

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/suites-de-bach-para-cello 

 

January 31: Spanish Guitar with guitarist Rodolfo Berralleza

Rodolfo Pérez Berrelleza, guitarist

Recipient of a Latin Grammy in 2017, Rodolfo Pérez Berrelleza will delight us with music written for or inspired by Andrés Segovia, who elevated the guitar to a classical instrument. Rodolfo has performed professionally in six countries and appeared on television and radio. 

Full program: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/la-guitarra-española

 

February 7: Barroque Trumpet with Mauro Kuxy

Mauro Kuxyipijy Delgado Díaz, trumpeter

Originally from Oaxaca, Mauro has studied and performed in France, Germany, the USA and throughout México. He will play a thrilling program of baroque style music in which the notes of the trumpet go high into the stratosphere—the most spectacular pieces for the instrument. 

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/trompeta-barroca

 

February 14: Beethoven’s Sonatas with pianist Aldo Tercero

Aldo Tercero, pianist

Aldo Tercero will return to help us finally celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary  with the composer’s most beloved piano sonatas. The audience will quickly understand why the real testament to Beethoven’s music are his 32 piano sonatas, even better than his symphonies. Listening to Aldo perform Moonlight Sonata it will be impossible not to feel the spirituality and to know why the piece is so beloved.

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/sonatas-de-beethoven

 

February 21: Culiacán Brass Quintet

Culiacán Brass Quintet

The largest performing group this season, Culiacán Brass Quintet is composed of musicians of different nationalities who have come together to interpret characteristic as well as original music. For this performance they will play a very happy set of music ranging from baroque through jazz and Latin; some pieces are almost Dixieland. 

Full program and quintet profile: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/culiacan-brass

 

February 28: The Art of the Horn with Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell, hornist

Maestro Campbell himself is, of course, a horn player, and he will finish out this season by giving us a demonstration of five different instruments— a panorama of how the horn developed. Horns were used in hunting and as signals. They eventually made their way into the orchestra and gained valves. 

Full program and artist biography: https://www.cameratacampbell.com/el-arte-del-corno

SEASON RECAP

  • When: Sundays at 5pm, January 10-February 28, 2021
  • Where: The interior open-air patio of La Casona on the Plazuela Machado
  • Tickets cost 350 pesos and are for sale at Panamá in front of the cathedral or in the Golden Zone, Pedro y Lola on the Machado, and at La Casona the day of the event.
  • Each concert will last between 60 and 75 minutes

Enjoy this treasured annual series.

Easy Social Distanced Day Trip

During the day on New Year’s Eve I was going stir crazy, an all-too-frequent condition during this pandemic, sadly. Just after noon I asked Greg if we might go for a drive. We headed south towards Villa Unión, past the old textile mill to Walamo, winding around and eventually getting to Caimanero. Once we got there we had a picnic on the malecón, then turned around to head home as the sun was already beginning to set. Why did it take us so long, you might ask? We had originally set out for Agua Verde, a town we never reached.

Well, as you probably well know, yours truly loves her camera. First of all I had to take photos of all the cool vehicles and riders we saw along the road, from a couple of guys carrying a propane tank, to others with a big piñata for that night’s fiesta, to pickups and dump trucks and bicycles with migrant workers commuting home from the fields. Click any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

The landscape out that way is just magnificent. The ocean, of course, but the farm fields and palm plantations with the Sierras as a backdrop make for some incredible views. There are farm animals everywhere, particularly horses and cows, and I was fascinated with all the birds of prey we came across. There are huge, gorgeous haciendas and more humble homes, in addition to all that migrant labor housing. You’ll see fish and shrimp farms as well. It’s a great half- or full-day trip if, like me, you are needing a breath of fresh air and some safe social distancing. We didn’t get close to any other human all day. 

Most of the farm workers were being shuttled home by the time we got there—early quitting time on New Year’s Eve—but there were some people working in the fields. The most heartbreaking for me were the families out there with the children. I know very well that it’s best that migrant parents have their kids with them, as it’s dangerous leaving them alone in the absence of school or child care. But it wrenches my heart to see them working the fields, despite the huge smile on this little girl’s face (note the bag of produce she’s just picked on her back).

The other heartbreak for me was a pair of young men who were spraying in the fields while working barefoot! I am not sure if they were spraying fertilizer or pesticide, but I sure did wish they had eye gear, ventilator mask, long pants and footwear. Still a gringa at heart, after all these years.

I’ve saved my two favorite experiences of the day for last, of course. The first was my virginal visit to a pineapple farm! I grew up in the US Midwest, and am well familiar with the sweet, aphrodisiacal smell of a strawberry field. A pineapple field has much the same effect! The air was heavy with the honey-like smell of these delicious treasures. The fields were gorgeous, and I was amazed by the baskets that the workers put on their backs to harvest the pineapples. I can not imagine how heavy they are when filled! While the workers had already retired, a few full baskets remained in the fields, so heavy that I couldn’t even budge them.

My final delightful experience of the day was meeting two guys plowing a field—again barefoot—with horses. I was so happy to find them! Last spring when Danny and I visited Puebla state we met two young men doing this. The morning sun, however, backlit the guys and the photos did not show off their labor as I had hoped. This time I was lucky that the setting sun perfectly lit their hard work.

I know it’s a challenge during COVID-19 to socially distance, but a drive out into the country, and some walks around sparsely inhabited areas, can be a huge sanity infuser. Enjoy!

First House Update of the New Year

Left to right: yours truly, Zata, Rodolfo, Yolanda, Jorge and Greg

I trust you all had wonderful holidays! I did not update you on progress on a Home for Juan Manuel last week, so I am anxious to do so today.

Today Don Rodolfo, Juan Manuel’s father, joined us when we went out to review the progress. He was so incredibly moved. I post video of him below, thanking each of you for your help. What I failed to get on video was the spontaneous dance he did, joyously singing, “I’m stepping on my own land!” He has had a lifelong dream of owning rather than renting a home that, thanks to so many of you, is about to come true.

We have received a little over 81,000 pesos from you, and to date have paid out about half of that for supplies and the albañil labor. Zata worked all through Christmas and New Year’s, taking off just the two main holidays. He and his helper have finished putting up the block walls and are ready for the roof! Wood has been delivered for scaffolding, and they have sand and concrete to get started pouring concrete. The block walls have spaces for three windows and two doors. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

You can see in the photos that this week progress was not of the quality level that it has been up to this point. Zata had explanations and reasons for every error, and assured us there wouldn’t be any more. Jorge admonished him that if the quality didn’t return next week his payment would suffer, so fingers crossed.

This past week we received a kind and generous donation of a microwave oven, which as soon as it’s delivered from the store we will get over to Juan Manuel and his father. The oven they have been using had an actual hole in it. I’ll feel much better when they stop using it.

Don Rodolfo’s facial paralysis and left hand numbness continue after his minor stroke, but he has now seen both a neurologist and a cardiologist. Juan Manuel has been suffering with a boil on his back that is very bothersome and prevents him from sleeping well. Yolanda was fortunately able to get them both some of the medicines they need through her social services connections.

I do hope that 2021 will bring our world more health and physical connection. Bless you for your generosity of spirit and pocketbook! I’d welcome you sharing the original article on this project with your friends and family to help us get more donations of money or materials.

New Year’s Eve 2020

The year that COVID-19 took the world by storm is behind us. Vaccines are rolling out to medical professionals around the world, and in some countries like Israel to the general population. We have a glimmer of hope that we will once again be able to demonstrate physical affection to our friends and non-resident family members, while I know I hope and pray that we have all learned a bit about stewardship of our environment and of our own mental and emotional balance.

This New Year’s Eve in Mazatlán this year was oh-so-very-different from the normal, and yet in many ways was so much the same. There were no municipal celebrations nor official fireworks or drones, at least that I know of. Among the foreign resident community, most everyone I know stayed home and at most gathered in small groups, as did most of my local friends.

Younger people, however, have been partying all week if not all month. Busloads of tourists filled the port, and many of the hotels offered New Year’s buffets with music and fireworks. While the malecón was quieter overnight than a usual New Year’s Eve, when we awoke to take a walk this morning we found a lady urinating on the sidewalk behind our house and loads of litter and trash floating on the maleconcito and in the lagoon.

Greg and I enjoyed New Year’s Eve with our son and his girlfriend via online video. Just before midnight we took our champagne and my camera and tripod out to take a few photos of the Golden Zone fireworks from the beach in front of our house. What was nice is that we were all alone on our beach, yet were able to enjoy a spectacularly clear night. I include a few photos and hope you’ll enjoy them. They are fireworks displays from the hotels, by and large. Families around town, of course, also let them off during the evening and overnight. Click on any photo to enlarge it or to view a slideshow.

I wish all our readers and friends a 2021 filled with health, joy and renewed connections. May we love and care for ourselves, each other and our planet with enhanced conviction.