One of the most emotional moments I had during my social media retreat at Rancho La Puerta spa was watching little children playing happily in a make shift play ground along the Tecate, Mexico river. The old swing-sets were rusted, but still working. The old car tires that were floating in the river of trash, have now provided make-shift steps, leading the young to their tarnished seasaw. The children are able to have a retreat of their own, aside a flourishing organic garden because of the dedication and vision of the Rancho la Puerta Foundation and The Rain Women’s Organic Garden.
What was once a sewage ridden river has become the embodiment of one woman’s commitment to improving the living conditions of her poor, rural community of Tecate, Mexico. Carmen, the pioneer behind the Rain Women’s Committee of Tecate, Mexico, took the initiative to clean up the river and to provide fresh, sustainable food to her family and community. With the help of the local women and the support of the RAncho La Puerta Foundation, they were able to clean up much of the Tecate river sewage and waste, leaving a more pristine environment for the children to play beside.
The dedicated efforts of this committee of women and the foundation have also created a sustaining and organic garden full of seasonal vegetables for the community. Full of fresh chiles, radishes, fennel and a plethora of other greens, this garden feeds their families and make them less dependent on outside food sources, which often prove to be extremely expensive and low in quality once it reaches them. These women have enabled themselves with better food and opportunites through their grass-roots efforts and passionate recycling program.
It’s both emotional and inspiring to know that the things that I have in excess here in the States, are so valued and cherished by these women. Simple luxuries such as safe drinking water, fresh food and a safe environment for children are just a few examples of what these women had to fight for.
And oh, chocolate. Thanks for Gail and the gals, we were able to sneak in a chocolate stop on our way to the garden. The chocolate proved to be more than appreciated by the children. They were happy with their lives, it seemed. Each and everyone of them were full of vigor and spirit as they scoffed down their gifts of chocolate, playing on their swings and picking radishes.
How grounding and re-affirming it is to know that it doesn’t take much to make children happy.
Faces of the community garden in Tecate, Mexico