June 19: Day 4: Making lunch and the Cortez Palace
A view of Cuernavaca from the Cortez palace. The cathedral where Sunday's Mariachi Mass took place can be seen around the middle of the picture
This is Aaron again. As I write, the activities mentioned in Michelle´s entry, making lunch and visiting the Cortez palace, have happened, and I am here to report they went magnificently! I think the pictures tell the story better than my words possibly could, and I have ample pictures to share from today, so this post will be minimal text, maximal photos.
Making a Mexican lunch at CCIDD
The students, characteristically, immediately assumed roles during lunch preparation today at CCIDD. Nyesha, Pachan, and Maya sliced and emptied avacadoes before smashing them into guacamole. Michael cut onions, Quan sliced tomatoes, and Myzel peeled then chopped cucumbers.
The girls prepare guacamole
Myzel laughs while chopping cucumbers
Quan slices tomatoes
The meal the students helped prepare
The Cortez Palace: A Modern Museum About Ancient Times
After lunch we took a walk into Cuernavaca to visit the spectacularly extensive Cortez palace. The palace, once home to infamous Spanish conqueror Cortez, is now a museum which covers the geological, political, and socal history of Cuernavaca for the last 10,000 years!
The skeletal remains of Cortez´ first wife, whom he had killed because she could not bear children, sits in a subterranean display case outside the entrance of the palace
A map in the Cortez palace showing historical migration patterns throughout the world
A view of a ground-level courtyard from the second story
A stone in the courtyard that was used for human sacrifices until approximately 500 years ago, after the death of Cortez
A map explaining Mexico´s ethnic history, including the Mayan and Aztec civilizations
Artwork in the Cortez palace
The former dungeons of Cortez´ palace are now sealed and barred, as demonstrated by this photo
Myzel and Michael observe an exhibit about Mexican agricultural practices approximately three centuries ago
After looking down the barrel of this cannon (once used on a pirate ship that raided English and French trade vessels,) Quan excaimed, ¨It still kind of smells like a bomb!¨
A photo from the 1960´s of the Tepozteco Pyramid, where we hiked just two days earlier!
Michael points at (fake) gold bars, the likes of which were once sought by Spanish conquistadors
Alfredo, our guide, lectures the whole C.E.S.A.R. group
Myzel and Michael likened this hoop from an ancient Mayan game to basketball. The game was something like modern soccer and basketball, except for one glaring difference: in this game, the losing team was required to commit suicide to appease the Gods!
A picture of where this game could be played. Note the hoops on the middle left and right sides.
One hallway of the Cortez palace is decorated with an enormous mural painted by famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The financing of this mural was a gift from the United States to Mexico. The mural encompasses many aspects of Mexican history.
A depiction of Spanish conquerors in one section of the mural
This section of the mural depicts a Mexican being branded, a brutal practice that occured in the early days of Spanish conquest
Various forms of currency used in Mexico throughout its history
Michael, Myzel, and Shacquan stand in front of an ancient artifact
Statues depicting middle-eastern ancient Arabian culture
A statue of Cortez himself
Quan observes an exhibit on Spanish conquistadors
That´s all, folks! (until tomorrow)
That just about does it for today. In the last few hours while I have updated the blog students have been discussing the implications and social roots of sexism, racism, and materialism and then being given an, ¨Introduction to Social Analysis,¨ which the students will be delving into over the next few days.
On a final note, Michelle mentioned in her post that we are at the halfway point, which is hard for me to believe. Given that we are halfway, and that my role in C.E.S.A.R. began recently, I feel compelled to put on the blog, (on the record permanent record, you could say!) how impressed I am by the students in this program. Despite being young, I am confident that every one of them is having a meaningful and, more than likely, life-changing experience. I have been especially taken aback by how responsibly they assume roles when it is time to clean, cook, or fulfill any other sort of chore. I find myself grateful on a daily basis to be a part of this program, and was wondering today what I´ll do with myself when my role in it is over! It truly is nothing but a pleasure to work for the C.E.S.A.R. organization and with the C.E.S.A.R. kids and, to any of you six who may be reading this, (this might show me if any of them are!) I hope you know how sincerely blown away I have been by you all. If you continue to take advantage of opportunities such as C.E.S.A.R., I have no doubt your lives will continue to be filled with rich, extraordinarily important experiences.
Anyhow, that´s all-for real this time!