Peaceful place. Nurturing environment. Safe haven.
In August, Casa del Tunel Cultural Center had a nurturing program in Tijuana, Mexico. Simultaneously, there was a community program with WordBeat Center, Casa del Tunel’s sister organization located in San Diego, CA. This is the second year there is a bi-national program within the two organizations with a very similar curriculum.
In the program run by Casa del Tunel, there was a a strong focus on introducing local and cultural traditions through fun and enriching activities. Most of these participants were children and adults are from El Cañon de Los Laureles in Tijuana, a neighborhood that faces ecological and economic challenges. They are exposed to violent environments with little connection to nature. This program served to open their eyes and educate the kids on the importance and beauty of the natural environment around them. The children also explored dance and yoga while also learning healthy eating habits. During the lunch breaks, the kids were able to eat food that had been grown directly from their very own class garden. Overall, this fun and interactive program was an enriching experience for both the children and adult members of the surrounding community who participated!
Casa del Tunel also has a service project that has had an enormous impact on both the human and animal community. A run-down alleyway in Tijuana that had previously had a bad reputation has been transformed into Tijuana’s International Peace Garden, a beautiful green space that brings joy to the surrounding community. Casa del Tunel has planted its first milkweed plant and many other plants are going into seed, both of which attracts birds, butterflies, and other important pollinators! Recently, the city government donated a number of trees as a part of ‘Tijuana Limpia’ a campaign with over 7,500 participants in the sanitation and afforestation of roadways, parks and plazas.
Although the project has not yet been completed, a type of inauguration ceremony has already taken place. A “Peace Pole” has been planted into the ground, symbolizing all the positive energy that has been reintegrated into the neighborhood. Along with the pole planting ceremony, a sweat lodge ceremony also occurred. For those unfamiliar with this, it is an ethnic practice common to many native cultures within the Americas whose main purpose is to cleanse the area and people spiritually and physically. The Peace Pole was decorated with many different languages, completely transforming the negative energies typically associated with
border-cities into positive, accepting energies that greatly resonated with
With so little places for birds in the city local and urban birds have come to visit Tijuana’s International Peace Garden. The locals, many of which have never been so close and connected to nature, have been immensely moved by the transformation. Also, the excitement in the community has been unreal. Local birds are not the only inhabitants to the garden! Many migratory bird and butterfly species have become frequent fliers in the area. Some Funky Nests have even been spotted within the garden!!
If you want to learn more about the celebrations that took place on September 21, 2014– International Day of Peace — in Tijuana please click here .