Doing a lot with a little

Stone, brick and concrete: In southern Mexico, where wood and steel are costly, homes and offices are built with materials from the earth. The oldest buildings are constructed of quarried stone, traditionally a green-tinted limestone, or sun-baked coffee-colored adobe bricks. These were used to ... Continue reading

Cursing in the dark

There was an earthquake last night, while I was asleep. 4.7, but the epicenter was far to the east, so it was less than that here.But it was strong enough to wake me up.Tarnation! I murmured to myself. Who in the blue blazes is in here shaking my bed, and why, since I am supposed to be alone ... Continue reading

Oaxacan Valentine

This was the scene in the Zocalo (town square) in Oaxaca, Mexico on Valentine's Day. I'm here on a long business trip and had a chance to visit Oaxaca's famous gathering spot for young and old.The Zocalo was severely damaged in the recent unrest, but now that peace has been restored this ... Continue reading


I drove to the Oaxaca airport yesterday morning to pick up a friend, making my way along a little-used back road that is now clogged with traffic because the main boulevard has been blockaded by anti-government protesters. Free speech in Mexico includes the right to hijack city buses, torch them, ... Continue reading

Fashion statements

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, ... Continue reading

Impressions of Oaxaca

I've been in southern Mexico for the past week, in the state of Oaxaca, part of a 5-week business trip. I thought I'd describe some of the things that make this region of Mexico such a wonderland.An ancient ox cart rattling along the side of the road, the grey-shouldered beasts plodding along in ... Continue reading

The gas man cometh

I'm in Oaxaca, Mexico again for some meetings. I've been listening to the sounds of the city: buses, trucks, dogs barking, horns beeping.Most houses in urban Mexico use propane gas for cooking and heating water. This gas is supplied in portable tanks—when you run out, you exchange your empty ... Continue reading

Worlds of difference

The Worlds of Difference radio series broadcast on NPR has compiled a fine set of radio programs dealing with the impact of modern culture on traditional societies, and how change affects such communities, for good and bad.Their most recent broadcast is called The Zapotec Bible, which discusses ... Continue reading