Mural by Dagoberto Rodriguez–a source of pride


New mural on Community Learning Center at the Palomas Public Library will galvanize public attention on the new opportunities that the room will facilitate.

Local artist Dagoberto Ridriguez is transforming our new Community Learning Center on the Palomas Public Library into a real work of art.

He is using cement to create a bas relief, or three diminsional, effect.

The mural makes the Learning Center a real focal point of the community. This, in turn, will grab the attention of the townspeople and invite them to utilize the Center to develop their skills, increase their knowledge, and unleash greater personal potential.

We will follow this progress as it continues. But so are the people of Palomas. On the town’s official Facebook page, there are currently 37 “Likes” for the album of 8 photos of the construction and its adornment. You will need a Facebook account to see this entry and the comments it has accrued, and you will also need to “friend” the page “Puerto Palomas de Villa.”

The people of Palomas, Mexico will transform their town

Political sign reads: We will transform Palomas.

Political campaign sign reads: "We will transform Palomas."

By Polly Edmunds, Cofounder of Border Partners

Last week I finally took a photo of a political campaign billboard on the street in Palomas that caught my eye last year. It reads: Transformaremos Palomas (We will transform Palomas). I believe that Palomas citizens will transform their town and that the contributions of many caring and committed activists will make those changes happen.

That very day I met several such people.

We spoke for the first time that afternoon with the new Acting Director of Escuela Ignacio Zaragoza: Prof. Mefiboset Trejo Tirado. Border Partners is providing a food supplement to augment the meager food supplies  they receive from the government to feed their school children.  He was grateful that, because of our food donations, many of the children would eat at least one good meal during the day.

The children in this school suffer many challenges. A significant number of their mothers have worked as prostitutes. Many of the children may have been affected by alcohol use during pregnancy, so they have additional behavior and learning problems. Prof. Tirado told me that Palomas has more incidents of child abuse than do other parts of Mexico. (To address this social issue, this week the school will sponsor a program about child abuse for the children, with special speakers and videos. This example of compassionate concern for the children’s well-being will affect coming generations.

Librarian meets with Border Partners

Polly Edmunds (left) learns of upcoming opportunities at the Palomas public library from librarian Benita Saenz.

At the town library, we met with another energetic person working for change in Palomas.  Benita Saenz, the librarian and Border Partners board member, told us that she’ll co-lead classes with a Palomas psychologist for parents at the Secundaria (Middle School) on parenting topics such as instilling values in children, sex education and bullying.  I have not heard of another parenting class offered in Palomas.

The library is also offering, for the first time, a free literacy class: two weeks for three hours each afternoon. If it meets a need, they will extend the classes, providing an opportunity for adults to learn to read and write—opening new doors to them and augmenting their own dignity. Educational empowerment will transform Palomas.

Earlier in the week, Benita submitted a grant proposal to the Mexican Environmental Agency seeking funds for a group of women she has formed to start a business building papercrete blocks (with the help of Border Partners).  These funds will help them start a business where they can make money in order to fix their houses that are badly in need of repair.  Of course, they can also use the blocks they make for some of their repairs! If successful, this grant will effect much positive change.

cold frame garden in Palomas

Gardening promoter Juana Lazoya reveals fresh greens growing in one of many new cold frame garden plots in Palomas.

And Juana Lazoya, Border Partners’ Palomas gardening promoter is “greening” the town. We toured not only her own extensive vegetable garden, orchard and greenhouse but also several other vegetable gardens at family homes in Palomas that are now producing bountifully with her support. Juana is making change happen right this minute as she empowers families to grow healthy food by reviving and implementing forgotten agricultural practices.

We the people can make a difference. Our collective power is transformative.

Never doubt it:  the people of Palomas will transform their town.

It is already happening.


BECC Grant to Border Partners will conserve water, grow crops in Palomas

water conservation

Grant conserves desert water. Photo: Microsoft Images.

Border Partners received a grant for  $10,000 from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission last week. This is exciting news to our fledgling organization, as it is the largest single grant award we’ve received to date.

The funding will allow us to build graywater reuse systems and rainwater harvesting systems in Palomas. We’ll be able to install systems at 15 residential homes and also at the public library this year.

Along with this project, the BECC grant will fund the construction of a model bathroom that will demonstrate water-saving technologies appropriate for the desert environment.  The model will include a system to reuse the residential graywater–drainage from the sink–on a garden. It will also utilize solar hot-water heaters.

from the BECC website:

U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program (Border 2012) is a collaboration between the United States and Mexico to improve the environment and protect the health of the nearly 12 million people living along the border. The bi-national program focuses on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and ensuring emergency preparedness along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border 2012 is a results-oriented program that takes a “bottom-up” approach to addressing the environmental and public health needs of the border region.  Issues and projects are identified and implemented at the local level.

Border Partners is proud to be working with this bi-national program. By conserving water and promoting sustainability, we’re helping to create a new model for future viability on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border 2012 map

Border 2012 area map. Courtesy: EPA website.