I don't know if anyone still looks for my blog since I haven't put anything up for so long, but I hope so. I am going to try to reinvigorate it with shortish posts since I won't have time for longer ones. I'm taking an online course called "El Monstruoso en el Arte Mexicano" and it is making my head spin. The first week was on Mexicaneidad, or Mexicanness and being a Mexican which I sought some outside opinion on. The next one which I am struggling with is on the influence of classical Greece on western art and also, therefore, Mexican art after the Conquest. It's not reading the Spanish which is the problem, it's making my way through philosophical stuff. This ain't art history.
So anyway, there was an article in La Jornada today about eating well and how to get people to do it. This iissue is taken seriously here. The federal government has passed a law taxing soda, for instance, although this may turn out to be a double-edged sword, as they say.
Of interest in the article is that the Government of Mexico has invited a US activist named Larry Cohen, the director of the Institute of Prevention of the US (and someone I never heard of and an institute I never heard of) to participate in an international meeting. He is apparently responsible for the campaign which led to the prohibition of smoking on airlines.
Among the points he made (and which most people here are aware of) is that you have to go beyond simply distributing publicity and you have to take measures "which have an impact on the environment," including providing places for kids to play. Now this is not so much a problem here. Kids play in parks and playgrounds and in streets with no problem. (The problems arise when more and more older ones hang around street corners because they can't get jobs). But USAers should pay attention to the idea of getting kids outside their houses.
Cohen also talked about somehow limiting the availability of junk food and filling stores and shelves with fruits and vegetables. Now this is obvious, and again if you mention junk food to my neighbors, they are fully aware of its problems. And the thousands of small tiendas that people shop in do often stock some fruits and vegetables and indeed there are fruit and vegetable stores. And at least in my colonia people do buy and eat them, often making aguas out of the fruits. But it is hard for a tienda to make money on the fruits and vegetables alone, and it is hard to buy just enough so you don't have to pitch the leftovers. Venders buy their produce from middlemen who drive from little store to little store in usually battered trucks. They don't make much either and they sure don't take returns. And of course there is the horrible problem of the cost of junk food, comida de chatarra, which is often lower than the good for you stuff and it is often easier--much easier as it is in the US for a harried family to go for the chatarra.
The fruits and vegetables come from large wholesalers who sell the same stuff to everyone in an area and from some local farmers whose produce is generally more expensive since it veers towards or is organic.
In our area, we are surrounded by good land which is now planted in coffee. I think a solution here might be to develop some kind of farming economy as exists in the northeastern US where people farm on small farms and sell VERY locally. And where very local markets are becoming available in poor neighborhoods. But such an idea is not instantaneously doable.
Meanwhile, the government should be working to provide potable water to all the schools in Mexico! And guess what! A federal law has just been passed to do just that in schools from preschool level through bachillerato, or high school. It will be implemented first in schools with more than 100 students, and all schools should have potable water in three years. And of course (or maybe not of course)the water will be free. The article noted the common problem that a bottle of potable water here is often more expensive than a bottle of soda.
The bill also addresses the manner in which renewable energy can be used to provide potable water including the use of rainwater, solar energy and water storage facilities, (both natural and manmade I imagine).
So any questions or comments would be welcome, either here or via email at buddenbooks(at)gmail.com.