It ‘s been unseeingly humid down here lately.  We even had a
thunderstorm, reminding me of Mississippi…………..the hot summer rains
that arrive  from a gunmetal sky and drench the red delta dirt  of my
childhood visits to “home”.   Those rains inevitably caused the old
white men in the Kroger’s to fret and grumble if the cotton had yet to
be picked up. But that’s another story.  For some reason I always
thought of Mississippi as home, even though at an early age I was
uprooted and transported to  California. In California, it seems that
no one has roots there, that everyone  originated from somewhere else.
I ‘ve never felt entirely comfortable calling it “home.” And so.
But here I am completing my 16th unlikely year in the unlikely
environs of  Baja California Mexico.
Who’d of ever thought I’d wind up  here…….and call it “home?”
Back to the weather, though.  It had me feeling a bit homesick and out
of sorts………………….but the clouds broke around  5:30 and the air  brought
the smell and chill of the ocean so close by. I  decided to say
“forget it, for now” and procrastinate on gathering  the receipts for
last month for which my crazy bi-polar accountant is hounding me
already, and to sit on the balcony with  little green coca-cola.
No sooner than I arranged myself on a lounge chair with my icy soda,
than I see puffs of dirt on the trail thru the weeds from the
cuarteria to the mission. Voices carry thru the now brisk air, and
little ones start appearing getting larger and larger as they
approach. Still most are only about 3 feet tall. It’s “toddler’s hour”
when the littleun’s come to get their 2 liters of water. At the end of
the line  is a bigger one though.
I cant tell who it is , just another brown round face in the setting
sun, but as the silhouette nears a bright white smile appears. Big
white teeth and dinner-plate eyes. It’s Aquilino.  I am trying to
figure why the big smile which is visible for some 400
yards…………….hmmmm.
As he gets below the balcony, I’m bursting with questions. (It’s been
a slow day at the mission, and I’m a Mexican neighbor now, and well,
we thrive on NEWS. Not CNN, or MSNBC, neither of which I get, but
neighborhood news. Who had a baby, why did the police come, who’s
arriving or leaving from or to Oaxaca……………….the lifeblood of a “slow”
day.
The news is actually minor so far.  But I feed him a sandwich as he
regales me with tales of someone’s grandmother and his cousin (both
the same person, go figure but everyone but me is related) and I
continue to ply him with chips and half my soda to get the real source
of the smile on his dirty little face.
See I ‘ve learned that here nothing is fast or easy, watches are
scorned and dates not really applicable unless you own money and even
then, well , it’s Mexico, right? So I am impatiently playing patient
pastora, because this guy is just grinning like a madman.
Finally, I can’t hold it.  “So Filli, (which is what everybody calls
Aquilino, only the Lord knows why, but no one in Mexico goes by their
birth name , but an “apodo” or nickname that has usually no bearing or
reason in it’s assignation). When I call him Filli, he gives me a sly
look. Like okay down to business.
“Hermana! They are back. THEY are back. The Ixpa’s. The funny people.”
And I am instantly hungry for details and so intrigued as he tells me
of two families who were moved OUT of the Camp to make way for these
curious Ixpa’s. They were here like 5 years ago. And Filli was totally
on love with the oldest Ixpa girl. Ayela.
The thing is tho that the Ixpa’s are not from Mexico. They are a part
of a Brazilian tribe, who somehow stole over Mexico’s Southern Border,
then got stuck in Puxtla, Oxa. Then got to know some triques and made
their way up here. Really rare and a bizarre group to the Mexican
Indians. An “exotic” people.
Filli and I bust open another Coke and reminisce to his 7th birthday
when this exotic  group arrived.   They are exotic, more so to me than
even the Zapotepos which rarely arrive from Guerrerro. They are so
otherworldly, like something from a National Geographic page as the
women go topless and bath in the open…………………….and the little boys wear
a little leather pouch around a strategic area, and even the big boys
revert to this on the days off. They will live in the Camp but apart
in their yurts, thee mud and stick huts that they are already
constructing…………(I sent Aquilino down with my camera tonight hopefully
he’ll have pics by manana. He ‘s on a secret  correspondent’s
mission.)
So I look forward to seeing if they will remember me, if they are the
same families who were here years ago and a million other  things.
There is a buzz of excitement as I now here other children telling
Frank downstairs that “they” are back.
I am blessed to live this excitement. But MOSTLY truly the blessing is
the smile on Filli’s face when he arrived. And the way he included ME
in the neighborhood excitement. Taunting me with his “knowledge” but I
m grateful that I have been accepted. Like the news arrived and it
needed to be delivered and though I am a foreigner, I am on the
“pipeline”.  A neighbor.  It is a privilege for which I thank  Jesus.
For me it is a big deal to feel a PART of the community, not a visitor
but a member.  It is the Gospel that has made us such for no other
glue exists between us but that we all BELIEVE in HIM.
Praise JESUS

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