Jalatlaco and Libros para Pueblos

the devils dance on a coffee shop wall

Oaxaca is a city of contrasts. Today, I travelled to the barrio of Jalatlaco to process books for Libros para Pueblos. Since I have never visited this barrio before, I went early to visit a bit and to have a meal. I find that I usually only eat one meal a day in Oaxaca. It's hot and I snack on yogurt or nuts
throughout the day 

I visited a coffee shop called Xiguela for a real Oaxaca desayunos of enfrijoladas with huevos and
a cappuccino. What a pleasant place to read my book! The restaurant was full and I noticed some other gringos reading or using the wifi.

across the street from the devils is the Virgin of Guadalupe
Oaxaca is a mixture of Christian saints combined with indigenous words. The
church in the barrio is called San Matias de Jalatlaco. One definition that I found for Jalatlaco
was that it was Zapotec for "dusty ballfield." Certainly ballgames were popular in Mesoamerica. 
Even today, Oaxaca has a baseball training camp!
7500 children's books

My mission today was to help prepare 7500 children's books to be distributed to 75 libraries in the state. Boxes to open, books to stamp and pack. I love to handle books! I love to see what books have been chosen for the libraries. Quite a few translations...I noticed Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Hat by Tomi Ungerer. A lot of beginning Spanish novels as these books are destined for elementary schools.

I love to work with "people of the book." When I was a teacher-librarian, I prepared my new books alone or with a parent volunteer but here I am working along with librarians retired from New York
Public Library and from New England....booklovers from all over Canada and the US who are volunteering to work in 85+degreesF so that children can have books! 

Tomorrow, I am going back to work and to meet some different volunteers. There are so many retired people who are living here and contributing to the welfare of the indigenous people. It feels like the right place for me to be!


  1. I so admire what you're doing with your retirement. Thanks for sharing this. It's encouraging to think of other book people gathering so children can have books too.

  2. It is wonderful to see so many bright shiny kids' books! I'll miss the trip to visit one of the pueblo libraries this year. The children are so enthusiastic when the Libros people visit!

  3. What an incredible adventure you go on each year when you do this. Volunteering is something about which I'm passionate. I love how you have incorporated it into your retirement.

  4. It is really a great experience to meet so many really dedicated retirees!


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