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Angelic Street Day

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Big smiles with La Brigada regulars, Danika and Lizset

If you follow my blog, you know that on Saturday mornings I volunteer with La Brigada de la Basura at Que?Pasa Bar and Grill, collecting trash and beautifying the area around Colonia Emiliano Zapata in Puerto Vallarta. In addition to cleaning El Rio Cuale, which runs from the majestic montañas to the picturesque Bahia de Banderas, La Brigada often cleans los calles of the neighborhood.

While I prefer the River Days, today was a Street Day, with founder Michael Hayes and myself  (plus the help of some regular and well-appreciated 16 year olds), each leading about 20 kids. This Saturday started out extra-special; I don’t believe in coincidences and, after celebrating Dia de la Maestra on May 15th, I found THIS in the street:

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The size of a business card, with a 2013 calendar on the back

As soon as I found the card, I was reminded of a framed print belonging to my grandmother: Guardian Angel and Children Crossing Bridge by German artist Lindberg Heilige Schutzengel. Our grandmother was German, and I always remember this painting hanging in her house in one of the bedrooms. (I believe my Seestor EDW has the print now.) While some speculation over the context of the painting does exist, it has always represented love to me.

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I always wondered if the kids could see the angel in this painting

Notice that the Méxican version has more than 2 children playing with ducks in the water and their blankets, hats and bolsas are placed nearby on the shore, a possible tribute to the original: bittersweet, reflective and different. I showed it to one of  las chicas de La Brigada, who told me, “I hope you keep the card. It’s not trash, it’s pretty.”

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Serving Jamaica with one of my favorite chicas, always smiling! Photo by Yvonne Hayes from QP

As for the rest of our clean up day, it went great – the kids brought a week’s worth of debris to Que?Pasa before enjoying hot dogs, agua fresca and bags of dulces with Michael and his generous staff. 

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With more kids from La Brigada, ¡mis angelitos de sabado!

Do I feel like an angel when I work with La Brigada de La Basura? Not really. For me it is more the kids who are angels – mischievous and silly, they bring me back every week  for more – more laughter, more good deeds and definitely more happiness in giving of myself. I believe it is the kind of angelic reward you can’t get from anything else.

Interested in joining La Brigada for your own Angelic Experience (or just cleaning up with us)? See details here.

Author: Kate Dana

Teacher, traveler and writer living on the Caribbean coast of South America.

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