Culture shapes play — roadside shrines of Mexico

Where do children get their ideas for play?

The munchkin and her friend built an elaborate shrine in the garden for a couple of dead snails.


Why a shrine? Well, roadside shrines to the people who have died in accidents are a common sight when driving in Mexico.  They range from simple structures to elaborate monuments.



Here’s one at the site of a bus crash that resulted in multiple deaths.


Now we know what inspired the girls.




GEMA – Shelter for abused and abondoned women


GEMA Abused and Abandoned Women and Children Program – Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico

Women from the Jaltemba Bay Area of Mexico (north of Puerto Vallarta) who have been abused or abandoned rely solely on this program as there is no other resource– private or government funded — available.

Current Shelter

GEMA provides a safe haven (in a secret location for safety) to learn the necessary skills that will lead to establishing a stable life for themselves and their children. Eighty-three women and well over 100 children have gone through the program since GEMA’s inception in May 2017 and 19 women and their children have been rescued from emergency situations and sheltered at GEMA.

The Mexican couple who established and run this program rely on donations and their own money (from the small salaries they earn) to cover all expenses.

At this time they are in desperate need of funding to finish construction on a proper shelter for the women and their children before the onset of the rainy season.

New shelter under construction

Any financial assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated. And please pass on this information. Help us spread the word.

Thank you! Gracias!

Go Fund Me Link

Facebook Link

Binstead’s Safari – Rachel Ingalls

This is so not your typical safari story. Filled with unexpected twists, extra-marital affairs, lion cults, poachers, and the mystery and savageness of Africa and its wildlife, the reader finds themselves mesmerized. Will Millie find happiness? Will Stan ever learn? Will the Lion God rule? Will they all survive?


After getting a haircut in London and a few new outfits (“she bought two pairs of shoes and began to enjoy herself”), Millie, the neglected American wife of an academic pill, is transformed—and, upon arrival in Africa, falls into the perfect affair. Binstead’s Safari unfolds the fractured fairy tale of the rebirth of a drab, insecure woman as a fiercely alive, fearless beauty. “Life was too short to waste time trying to find excuses for not doing the things you really wanted to do,” Millie realizes, helping herself to love and joy. The husband is astonished—everyone adores the new Millie. She can’t put a foot wrong, and as they move deeper into Africa in search of lion myths for his book, “excitement and pleasure carried her upwards as on a tide.” Mysteries abound, but in the hands of Rachel Ingalls, the ultimate master of the curveball, Millie’s resurrection seems perfectly natural: caterpillar to butterfly.

“Only now had she found her life”—and also her destiny, which may, this being Ingalls, take the form of a Lion God.

The Only Woman in the Room – Marie Benedict

Hedy Lamarr–Hollywood bombshell–and so much more. Told in first person, her story takes us from prewar Austria and her dinners with Mussolini, to Hollywood and her inventions that gave us much of today’s technology. Each time you use your cell phone, thank Hedy!


Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side, understanding more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.
But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she knew a few secrets about the enemy. She had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis…if anyone would listen to her.
A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece.

Birds Without Wings – Louis de Bernieres

It takes a village to truly depict the horrors of war and its aftermath.

Birds Without Wings is set in one village of Turkey where Christian and Muslim families have lived and loved for centuries, with mutual respect and affection. All is well until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and WWI sweep everyone into the void of death and destruction.

We see trench warfare through the eyes of a young villager who takes his father’s place when the recruiters come and that personal view is much more devastating than any general account of war could be. largely because we come to feel that the village is ours, that the inhabitants are our friends and neighbors.

We see the destruction of the village after the war when “the powers that be” make political decisions that force people to leave their homes.

Again, it is these personal stories that grip us in the spell of Bernieres’ powerful story telling largely because we come to feel that the village is ours, that we could be them.


Malala’s Magic Pencil – Malala Yousafzai


I bought this book for my granddaughter and fell in love with it.

Malala’s life story is brilliantly rendered for children, but it is the illustrations that captured my heart. They are delicate and evocative with the power to break your heart.


As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil that she could use to redraw reality. She would use it to give gifts to her family, to erase the smell from the rubbish dump near her house, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. As she grew older, Malala wished for bigger and bigger things. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.
This beautifully illustrated picture book tells Malala’s story, in her own words, for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed her to hold on to hope and to make her voice heard even in the most difficult of times.

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Viviana Mazza


Remember Boko Harem? Perhaps not as they have fallen off the media radar. But guaranteed the girls captured, the families left behind, and those surviving in a world destroyed have not forgotten.

Written in two parts, this book captures the horror and the strength of individuals to survive against all odds. Part one tells the story in novel form from the point of view of one of the girls captured. Part two is a non-fiction narrative of the authors’ research to write the story and presents evidence from individuals and families they interviewed.

A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband—these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach.
But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told.
Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life—her future—is hers to fight for.

La India Bonita – oldest restaurant in Cuernavaca, Mexico

Established in 1933













































































































La India Bonita – learn more here