Border Partners thanks supporters for Giving Grandly!

Give Grandly 2017

Mother and Child by Diane LeMarbe

Mother and Child by Diane LeMarbe

We want to thank all our supporters for their contributions to the Give Grandly! fundraising event on May 6. It was sponsored by the Grant County Community Foundation (GCCF) in partnership with the United Way.

We received 34 contributions that day, ranging from $1.00 to $3,000. The total for the day was $6,441.26. All in all, we count that as a big success!

We also want to give special thanks to artist Diana LeMarbe for donating her sculpture “Mother and Child” for the auction. All the proceeds from that sale will benefit local programming in Palomas.

We are grateful to you for making progress possible in the community of Palomas! Thanks.

Border Partners Annual Report 2016

 

ANNUAL REPORT 2016During 2016, thanks to generous support from numerous individuals and groups and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, the people of Palomas, with Border Partners’ assistance, were able to make the following much needed improvements in their community.

  • Townspeople built a dirt bike track so teens have productive activity.
  • Volunteers created a bicycle repair shop. They’ve restored 250 bikes we brought to Palomas (so far!).
  • For the first time ever townspeople have and use an indoor public recreation facility.
  • Border Partner’s gardeners and volunteer parents built new school vegetable gardens at two Palomas elementary schools.
  • Promotoras are teaching teens–in classes the teens love to attend–the skills they need to stay healthy and REMAIN in school to graduate.

Annual Report 2016–Working together also accomplished:

  • Built a second greenhouse in the community garden,
  • Began growing earthworms and produced 20 cubic yards of biochar to enrich gardens,
  • Sponsored meal delivery to four handicapped senior citizens,
  • Constructed security doors and windows on the new high school, AND
  • Installed 6 revolutionary home furnaces that produce biochar and provide free heat.
  • Began offering a monthly health screening check at the local plaza one Saturday each month.

And YES, Border Partners continued our OTHER successful programs too:

  • Sponsored soccer, volleyball and basketball tournaments for all ages at the Border Partners’ Sports Center
  • Held Spring & Fall town Health Fairs with health screenings, free haircuts, diabetes foot checks, free healthy burritos, nutrition handouts.
  • Organized our fifth annual Summer School session for local children focused on the importance of eating healthy food and getting physical activity.
  • Offered a computer skills class for adults
  • Supported 70 home gardeners with technical assistance and supplies
  • Delivered a monthly food supplement of nutritious food (value $300) for the school lunches at one of the primary schools
  • Offered a series of  nutrition classes for 40 families
  • In collaboration with the local health clinic, sponsored several community walks and bike rides.

Give Grandly! 2017 Builds the Border with Supporter Help

Give Grandly 2017

Donate to Border Partners on May 6, 2017 and your contribution will automatically double.

Border Partners will participate in Give Grandly-Give Local, an annual, nationwide fundraising event that focuses donations to local non-profits on a single giving day. Grant County Community Foundation (GCCF) spearheads the day, part of their mission to support local nonprofits.

A very generous supporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged to match the first $3000 in contributions made to Border Partners. This allows our donors to double their contributions by giving on May 6, the event day. Give donations online at BorderPartners.org or at givegrandly.org on May 6 so that your contribution will be doubled.

This year, GCCF has again partnered with United Way. The groups will hold a nonprofit fair on 7th Street, next to the Silver City (NM) Farmers’ Market on Saturday, May 6, from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. Border Partners will manage a table at the fair.  We’ll be onsite to highlight our work, receive donations, and answer questions. Musical entertainment and free food goodies will boost the energy to give.

Special Silent Auction Item

During the nonprofit street fair, Border Partners will display the statue Mother and Child by Diana LeMarbe which is on the silent auction block. Money received from the proceeds of the auction will support programming in Puerto Palomas, improving public health and well-being. Bids will be accepted until 12:00 PM at the nonprofit fair table. The winner of the auction will be announced at 2 PM.

Anyone can donate online beginning from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on May 6. Contributors can also use a new mobile texting app for donating via smart phones and tablets. In addition, donors can also make their tax-deductible donations to Border Partners via available computers onsite at the nonprofit fair in Silver City. Freeport, United Way, and James Edd Hughs Edward Jones are providing matching funds which further increases the donation that Border Partners will receive.

New Mexico has participated in Give Grandly since 2014. This event raised over $250,000 for area nonprofits over the past three years. GCCF does not take a percentage, so all the money goes directly to designated nonprofits.

Join us May 6 and: Give a little. Give a lot. Give local. Give Grandly! Help us make history again.

Earth Day 2017 in Palomas: A multi-faceted, meaningful celebration

Earth Day 2017 banner

Colorful flags decorated the Earth Day 2017 event, created by area school children.

On Saturday April 22 Border Partners’ staff planned, organized and hosted an Earth Day 2017 celebration in Palomas, Mexico. It was a perfect opportunity to show off many local projects that benefit the community and planet earth!  

earth day 2017

Earth Day 2017 marketplace sold plants, seeds, and lots of garden produce, among other items.

There were activities for the whole family!

The promotoras were busy serving free vegetarian burritos filled with fresh vegetables from local gardens. 

Nearby, gardening coordinator Juana Lozoya was selling bags of freshly-picked parsley, celery and chard that were grown in the community greenhouses she oversees.

Kids and adults brought their bicycles to be repaired.

There were also health screenings and haircuts, zumba and games for kids!

Posters made by local school students decorated the area!

Earth Day 2017–Special Features

In honor of Earth Day, Border Partners’ volunteers converted the golf cart used by staff to visit home gardens to solar power! Juana Flores, who often drives it, reported, “It works better than it ever did!” She was giving rides to demonstrate.

Students from two Palomas high schools used the event as an opportunity to showcase solar appliances they made with help from Border Partners staff using recycled materials. These included two solar box cookers, a water purifier and a solar water heater.  

Solar Cooker Prototype

Earth Day 2017

Daniel Maya demonstrated his prototype of a parabolic solar cooker during the Earth Day event.

Students from the prepatoria (high school) were demonstrating a parabolic solar cooker made from an old satellite dish and lined with glass pieces. Project leader, Daniel Maya said, “You can cook a pot of beans in about two hours and you save two hours of gas.” Maya said that the model on display was a prototype and they plan to make a larger version to be used at the school.

The event drew a steady crowd. People from both sides of the border enjoyed the music, ate healthful food and admired colorful, locally-made craft items. Many items were made with recycled materials: soda pop pull-tabs crocheted together became colorful handbags and old jeans were transformed into aprons.  It was a fun and educational day for all!

Enjoy the colors and the activity of the day in our Flickr album:

[FGAL id=2396]

New borderlands water research cites Border Partners

Water research

Emilie Schur (3rd from left) and the Palomas health promotoras worked together last summer to promote health water usage in Palomas.

Without water, life can’t survive. Emilie Schur, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, spent three weeks with

Emilie Schur

Emilie Schur

us in Palomas in the Summer of 2016 and additional weeks in Columbus, NM doing water research. Her goal was to learn how the border affects people’s access to safe drinking water. Now, her findings are complete. What did she learn about water security and how to improve access to water?

Water security—that means having an adequate supply of reliable, affordable, good quality water for a healthy life. Emilie’s research on water security studied the situation in Columbus and Palomas, where our border community shares a common underground water (aquifer) source. The Mimbres Basin Aquifer is large enough to serve us, but it’s contaminated by arsenic and fluoride.

Water research: Case Study

Her research showed that each local water utility adopted a distinct approach to dealing with that contamination. The different approaches developed due to their differing financial and social resources. They also reflect the various national and bi-national water policies that govern the two municipalities.

 HOUSEHOLD WATER (IN)SECURITY WITHIN A TRANSBOUNDARY AQUIFER BASIN: A COMPARATIVE STUDY IN THE US-MEXICO BORDERLANDS Executive Summary of Research Findings

Click to review the executive summary of Schur’s research

Through the years, household water security improved in both places, at least regarding water access and reliability. But, centralized water filtration technology made water harder for residents to afford in Columbus. Meanwhile, decentralized water filtration technology only partially solved the water supply contamination problem in Palomas. Thus, even though the technology improved in both places, households still remain unevenly exposed to water contamination. Emilie’s research raises concerns about issues of water equity that leaders need to consider.

One of the most significant challenges facing water policymakers, providers and users is: how to equitably provide access to clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water in communities reliant on contaminated groundwater.

Emilie’s research found two important supports to address this concern:

  1. Funding from NAFTA’s environmental side agreements

Although infrastructure improvements alone aren’t enough, she says that’s still a significant aspect of water security. It needs to be coupled with initiatives that build local capacities and promote environmental awareness about water quality concerns.

  1. Community networks

Awarding more grants to local initiatives and NGOs, like Border Partners, can improve water security, Emilie asserts.

Emilie Schur

Emilie Schur puts spotlight on water equity issues.

Her research uncovered that the Palomas promotoras were very effective at educating the households on the harmful practice of boiling tap water, which actually concentrates heavy minerals. Our local health promoters encouraged households to use water from the water purifying stations for cooking.

In Columbus, Emilie found local NGOs working to build community spaces to bridge the divide between historically marginalized Hispanic residents and Anglos.

Even with small grants, local networks could work in partnership with water utilities to address residents’ concerns about water rate changes. And, translating educational material into Spanish would help it reach a broader audience.

Border Partners, with the help of staff at NM State University, has developed a low cost, water filter suitable for home use that is in the final stage of testing. It will provide a family with safe drinking and cooking water from their tap for 6 to 12 months (depending upon volume of use) and will cost only about $30.00.

We’re proud that Emilie’s research highlights the contributions that Border Partners and other groups like us make. We’re proud of the work our promotoras are accomplishing within the Palomas community. And, we’re pleased that we were able to facilitate Emilie’s research last summer. Her borderlands research reflects her desire to create for a better future for all living beings.

Emilie’s research was made possible through research grants and fellowships from the NOAA affiliated Climate Assessment for the Southwest, The Tinker Foundation, the University of Arizona Institute of the Environment, the University of Arizona Graduate and Professional Student Council, the University of Arizona Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship, and the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers.

Alex Mueller Leads Yoga Classes in Palomas

downward dog pose

Palomas residents gain strength practicing the downward dog yoga pose.

by Helena Myers

yoga class

Enthusiastic participants of a typical yoga class in Palomas.

About 2 months ago, I asked the Palomas health promoters if they would be interested in yoga classes. Of course, the answer was “yes.”  And, they agreed that the class could involve more participants than just our small Border Partners’ staff.

Alex Mueller is a yoga master who lives in Columbus, NM. He contributes his talent and dedication to yoga classes there. Now, however, he is also going once a week to Palomas. He leads classes for Border Partners’ staff as well as other interested drop ins from the community. Juan Rascon, our translator, also participates in the class and translates for Alex.

Yoga’s health benefits

One evening a week in Palomas Alex gives classes to another citizen group. We all thank Alex for sharing his gift. Yoga keeps our bodies supple and stronger. This class series is helping people of all ages in these two border communities.

stretch

Instructor Alex Mueller, translator Juan Rascon, and Juana Flores take to the mats in Palomas, building better health.

Health promoter loses 38 pounds of excess weight

Juana Flores

Juana Flores (foreground) displays water–her secret weapon in her recent successful battle to reclaim her health.

Palomas promotora (health promoter) Juana Flores took healthy living to heart in recent months. After years of attending trainings and also offering community education sessions, she decided to get serious about practicing what she was teaching. As a result, in the last five months, Juana has lost 38 pounds of excess weight and improved her general health measurably.

Last year, on October 1, Juana began a concerted effort to improve her personal health. Concerned with her elevated cholesterol scores, she believed that she could do better. She started a program of regular physical activity, including an hour of exercise each morning and each afternoon: walking, running, attending yoga and Zumba classes. She eliminated pork and red meat from her diet and focused on vegetables. Her secret weapon in the battle? She drank six liters of water each day.

This month, Juana’s doctor confirmed that her osteoporosis test showed a 25% improvement. And, her cholesterol is once again normal. In addition, she notes with a smile, by losing excess weight she’s dropped five dress sizes and actually enjoys wearing dresses again!

Juana’s husband, seeing her results, decided to join her self-improvement efforts two months ago and lose excess weight also. In those two short months, she says, he lowered his blood sugar significantly by walking and by drinking fruit and vegetable smoothies with supplements twice a day. He also eliminated white flour, cakes and pastries, cola and alcohol from his diet.

As Border Partners’ main gardening coordinator as well as president of the promotoras, Juana is always on the go and is full of ideas! Juana does so much good for the community. She has taught nutrition to Palomas families and children for the past two years with the support of HEAL grant funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. Board member Polly Edmunds calls Juana Flores “a mainstay of Border Partners’ progress in Palomas.”

Juana Flores: Palomas Health Force

But, only months ago, Juana complained of shortness of breath. She felt sluggish and tired all the time. Now, she says, she feels full of energy. And, Juana Flores is a prime example of energy, acclaims Border Partners’ Board member Helena Myers: “She’s a gifted organizer. And, watching her explain the necessity of healthy eating to school classes is impressive. Her talks energize children to fill their plates with extra salad made with vegetables from the gardens she helps grow. Juana explained, for example, how important a vegetable-rich diet is for diabetics, and two sisters, whose father is diabetic, went back for a second helping of salads that day.”

What’s Juana’s advice to someone who’d like to begin take control of their own health and lose excess weight like she did? She doesn’t hesitate:

“Fight for your health; fight for your life! It’s so important.”

She advocates a low-fat diet and awareness. Often, she thinks, people don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their own health, simply by not paying attention to daily choices and practices.

It’s great to see healthy living taking root in Palomas. Border Partners is proud to be part of the process.

AUCTION: “MOTHER and CHILD” STATUE by DIANA LEMARBE

Mother and Child by Diane LeMarbe

Mother and Child by Diana LeMarbe

We are currently auctioning a new work of sculpture by local artist Diana LeMarbe. Bids can be submitted by email until 10:00 AM on Saturday, May 6. The sculpture, entitled Mother and Child, will be on display from 8:30 AM until 1:00 PM at the Give Grandly fundraising event in conjunction with the Silver City Farmer’s Market opening. Silent bids will be taken during this event; a winner will be determined at 1:00 PM. The proceeds of the sale will support community development programs in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Bidding for the statue which is valued at $350 will begin at $200. Bidders can submit bids to admin@borderpartners.org. The most current high bid for the statue is posted and continuously updated here on our website. The successful bidder can make arrangements with us to pick up the statue.

Mother and Child

The Mother and Child statue is made of fiber impregnated clay, a versatile medium which does not require firing. This piece was created as part of a September 2016 exhibition that honored women as the matrix of all societies. Women, says LeMarbe, hold together their families, communities and societies.

The statue is 18 inches high, 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep and weighs a substantial 5 pounds. It’s built on a foundation of rebar which facilitates its secure transport. See an album of photo images of the piece at the conclusion of this article. The detail and interesting use of color is remarkable.

LeMarbe likes to recall one response to the Mother and Child:

A young woman came to me asking about the piece, saying that she was mother to a daughter. She saw herself in this sculpture. And, she also saw herself and her mother, her grandmother, her tia, etc. She felt the continuum.”

Border Partners’ mission is consonant with this vision of women. We affirm the importance of offering a means to women to improve their lives. Much of our programming fulfills this purpose.

Diana LeMarbe, the Artist

Diana LeMarbe migrated to New Mexico by way of Alaska from her native Pacific Northwest in 1979. She holds the land and people of New Mexico with awe, reveling in its diversity of cultures. A tile maker and sculptor, she chooses clay as her principle medium, with the relatively new fiber clay fast becoming her favorite. LeMarbe donated Mother and Child to Border Partners to support our programming in Palomas which supports so many women and children.

Mother And Child By Diana LeMarbe

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Palomas Health Promoters Complete Training on Maternal Care and Childbirth

By Griselda Loya

The Promotoras (health promoters) recently completed a wonderful course, 36 hours in total, which trained us in methods that will equip us to serve as a “Childbirth Companion.” This training covered basic principles of promoting better maternal health, childbirth safety, and assistance and accompaniment.

This course was taught by Border Maternity Midwives-Borderlands Birth and Reproductive Health Service, health and birth workers, and Reproductive Justice Organizers.

During the course we learned many things, including:

  • technique demo

    Ruth Kauffman (sitting) watches as Mumu demonstrates an effective technique to make women more comfortable.

    massage techniques for the pregnant woman,

  • how to distinguish between common symptoms of normal discomfort during pregnancy and significant signs of risk,
  • typical feelings and emotions during and after delivery,
  • breastfeeding,
  • family planning,
  • sexually transmitted diseases,
  • myths and realities of pregnancy,
  • breastfeeding and newborn, and
  • how to support the physiological delivery and epidemic of caesarean section.

Maternal Health, Childbirth 

Now that we have this training, our goal is to support local families. We especially want to accompany our adolescent mothers through maternity. Our hope is to achieve more prenatal control from the outset, thus reducing maternal death during childbirth.

We are very happy and grateful to receive the opportunity to take this course and above all to have met people who dedicate their time to such valuable work.

Thanks to Borders Partners, Ruth Kauffman and her assistants: Mumu, Marisol, Lina, Carmen, Sandra, Estibalis, and Tania who made this opportunity for us possible.

certificates

The promotoras display their hard-earned certificates with pride, joy and flowers. Pictured (l-r): Ruendy Salinas, Griselda Loya, Aide Carreon, Juana Flores, and Victoria Ibarra.

EDITOR’s NOTE: As a follow up to their most recent training in maternal health and childbirth, the Palomas promotoras (health promoters) will convene two groups of women.

The first group they will assist is women who are presently pregnant. This group will focus on prenatal care, nutrition for the developing fetus and the new moms themselves. They will also teach them appropriate exercise and similar relevant topics.

Another group they will convene will be new moms. This group will focus on nutrition for both the new baby and mothers, breastfeeding, etc.

Certified Professional Midwife Ruth Kauffman (a former UNM labor and delivery nurse) has experience working with women’s health around the world. Since 2008, Ruth has worked with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) as a nurse, midwife, project coordinator and medical team leader on 11 missions in eight different countries. In 2014, she returned to the US from two Ebola missions in Sierra Leone.

Palomas Promotoras’ Town 20 Mile Bike Race: “Pure, Happy Fun” and Healthy Exercise

 

children's bike race

Local children line up, anxiously awaiting the Mayor’s signal to begin their race on February 4.

by Helena Myers

Palomas awoke on Saturday, February 4 to weather perfect for a biking event: sunny and mild, with no wind. Perfect timing for a 20 mile bike race! The grand event was sponsored by the local governments of Ascensión and Palomas and by Border Partners’ promotoras (local health promoters). The day featured the adult 20 mile bike race. Two shorter bike races–for children and young teens—gave 70 youth their chance to participate.

The adult race began at Entronque, 20 miles south of Palomas at 9:20 AM and finished at the plaza. The children’s route circled several blocks of the village. Government officials gave money prizes to winners with the help of an anonymous donor.

Palomas mayor Ramon Rodriques signaled the start of one childrens’ race. One little girl and bike immediately fell. But the Mayor ran to her and lifted both her and her bike–and off she rode. A couple of village men on bikes led the way to keep the biker competitors on course.

Viki and Ramon

Karina (Viki) Gonzales–women’s 2nd place winner–and Ramon Preciado, men’s 1st place winner, both from Palomas, after the races.

During the younger race Border Partners’ staffer Juana Flores ran after the children to ensure that they stayed on course. Juana appeared to be even more excited than the children. A multitude of village spectators echoed this same mood as they cheered on the racers.

The first adult to finish the 20 miler was Ramon Preciado with a time of 1 hr. 6 min. 27 sec.  The second place winner was Ramon’s son, Alejandro Preciado with a time of 1 hr. 8 min. 1 sec. Third place winner was Ingeniero Palomares and taking first place on a mountain bike was Ruben Bailon.

In the women’s division, Ruth Hernandez from Acension earned first place with Karina V. Gonzales from Palomas taking second.

The promotoras served wedges of fresh oranges and bananas for the riders and provided many cups of juice at the finish line.

The 20 mile bike race event day was the best organized event ever in this border village, serving up pure, happy fun for the community participants and spectators.

juice at finish line

Juana Flores (right) serves juice at the finish line of the 20 mile bike race.