Oaxacan graffiti – foto by smith

The Mexican Government took over the Catholic churches, missions, and convents in 1833. They kept the convents, let the Catholics use the churches. The Government turned some of the convents into community culture centers, and their stone courtyards into community parks. Our church park down the street has a juice stall, a candy stall, and sometimes a wall of religious and sentimental paintings for sale leaning against the church. During the day the park is used for music and dance practice and as a student hangout; afternoon and early evening it is for lovers; and late at night I hear it’s robber territory. I keep wondering about the overlap between lovers and robbers – do the robbers go early to love, then punch in as evil doers as night falls?

Walking by our old stone church tonight, we saw 12 teenagers and pre-teens dancing on the raised tile platform, doing intricate traditional indigenous courting folk dances. They were weaving and bobbing and laughing and I was having a good time when I realized they were all Down Syndrome children. People whom I’ve been taught have cognitive disabilities were doing complicated stuff way beyond my capacity to perform. Made me reevaluate some of my prejudices. And they were joyous.

Oaxacan graffiti – foto by smith

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