My name is Mariana Roa Oliva, and 10 days ago I arrived to Mexico City, my hometown, to work on a communityu education project supported by the Live It! Fund. The main objective of this project is to create a space in the city where people of diverse ages and backgrounds can exchange skills and ideas, bringing to the table what they want and can and taking what they need and desire to learn.
What started as a relatively small summer project has grown a lot since I first emailed friends from different places about working on this idea. La Colmena, as we have been calling this project, has now a house with a year long lease, and which has already been furnished with five mattresses and two beds, one small bookshelf already overfloding with books, art for the walls in different styles, a mint plant, a few violets, and many other things, all donated by an amazing group of friends and supporters.
We started building La Colmena a couple months ago, trying to work out details from two different countries, in two different languages, and with a group of people among which I knew very well some, and only through the internet others. For these reasons, finding a house, organizing the spaces and workshops’ schedules, and doing all the organizing work was very different -and difficult- until we finally met each other in person a week ago. That, however, didn’t mean the work was less since I arrived to Mexico- I have been working on, thinking about, or talking about La Colmena 24/7, and much of the work over the past couple days was getting everything ready for our opening party, which was yesterday.
Greeting the neighbors, talking about what we are doing, and watching the performances we had at la casa made it difficult to really stop and think about all this, but looking at the pictures has made me feel again extremely happy, excited, grateful, and inspired. Four different bands of the most diverse styles performed at the house, sharing the stage with around twenty poets and a few performance artists. There we were, five Macalester students at the house meeting a couple friends I hadn’t seen in years, the friends from Mexico we had been talking with and about for a while, and a group of neighbors who have lived in the neighborhood for more than twenty years.
The first workshop/space at La Colmena starts on Monday at 11 am and it is Meditation, which I think is very fitting. Tomorrow we have our second Colmena meeting, to keep talking about how things are going and what we have to do this week. So much has happened that I feel like we’ve been doing this for years, and I would need days to write down all I’ve been thinking and feeling, but the work here is still endless, and so is the amount of fun things you can do in this city, so I shall stop here for now.
I will come back and write very soon, but I want to end this first blog post thanking some people whose support has made and will keep making this possible– the IGCSC of course, our friends at Macalester you all know who you are cause you’re right here or because I miss you and you know it, our incredible professors and KP Hong for the inmense inspiration that drives us, my family and friends here for being with me even when I get all stressed, and all the talented, kind, and supportive people here who have made this project their own.
Here’s a link to our blog, and one to our class schedule! We are what?! also on Facebook!? Yes. At La Colmena.