Monday, April 8, 2013

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

  1. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
  2. A thing that causes joy.
delight - gladness - pleasure - mirth – rejoicing
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We have just returned from another week of camp with the girls of La Esperanza Orphanage. Every year, on the Monday following Easter Sunday 30 or so girls from Mexico City descend on the tiny pueblo of Umecuaro, Michoacán, México to enjoy 6 days in the countryside. For the last 5 years my husband Todd and I, and some of our friends, have joined them there. I know that I am often a little long-winded, ( a little? ) but today I am going to let my pictures do most of the talking. I am, as usual, somewhat overwhelmed by the end of camp week.

Our friend Connie generously hosts the camps at her property on the lake in Umecuaro. There are 2 large trojes, a cabin in the design of the P'urhépecha Indians of Michoacán, Connie’s lovely troje style home, a gazebo and plenty of space for tents, dogs, kids and horses. With the lake right across the street, the girls can go kayaking, swimming or fishing. There are areas for bike riding, and trails for hiking, horseback riding and nature walks abound.

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The girls lead a very structured life at La Esperanza. Necessarily so. The 2 madres, nuns, who run the orphanage recently celebrated their 50th anniversary there. They are now in their 80’s and although they have huge hearts filled with love, they have to administrate an orphanage with with close to 40 girls, so structure is a must.

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Madre Roble, Supplier of Joy

For this reason at Camp Connie we try to give the girls a holiday, as unstructured as possible. We have plenty of volunteers so that the girls can pretty much do what they want when they want to do it. Sometimes that just means hanging in a hammock, playing a game of cards or chatting on the lawn overlooking the lake.

The Ice Cream Man, Bringer of Joy


My Joy

Although we offer the kids hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, swimming, horseback riding and craft making, we decided to do something more this year. I set up a makeshift makeup studio on the patio of the largest troje, Todd set up a mobile photo studio in a field behind the house and the Camp Connie Portrait Studio was born.

The Joy of Makeup


Photo: Just popping on the computer to download pictures from the camera so I thought I would share one with you.<br /><br />Some of the girls decided that this year they wanted a "serious" portrait done.<br /><br />I immediately agree to do them for them, but little did I realize how hard it is to get a teenage girl to be serious, the second you ask them to "put their serious face on" you trigger a 10 minute giggling fit, followed by another, then another.<br /><br />The more girls that are there, the more rounds of giggling there was.<br />Who knew that serious was such a giggly topic??<br /><br />But the extra time it took was so worth it.<br /><br />Here is the lovely Karen's "serious foto"<br />I also think this will help with some serious self esteem!

Photo: So many pictures to go through, but here is another of the wonderful young ladies we are lucky to be with this week.<br />I also loved how she explained to me that she was a  "medio hippy" <br />That is just like a regular hippy she say, "but I dont smoke pot and I bathe"
Photo: Okay, so my young friend Patty saw that her friend was on my facebook so decided she needed to be there also.<br />She insisted on 10 locations for her shoot, Shannon did the makeup wonderfully as always, helping these girls to look as wonderful as they are on the inside.<br /><br />This young lady is bright, articulate and charming, but I feel sorry for anyone who gets between her and whatever goal she may have, be cause she is also strong and determined. I feel lucky to have her as a friend.

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Camp Connie

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I experienced such joy this week that it would be impossible to put it into words. I think that the pictures probably express it more aptly than I am able.
If anyone would like to know more about Connie’s organization, One Pueblo, please look at the following link.


  1. So,so wonderful that I read with tears in my eyes.
    How lovely for you and Todd, the girls and everyone involved.

    Thanks for sharing.......

  2. You're welcome Barbara. It is my favorite week of the year. We keep in touch through email and Facebook but only see each other once a year. They have group quinceañeras every July (as long as there are girls that age)and I would love to go this year if we can work it out.

  3. I too have tears in my eyes from reading this post. Lovely girls.

    1. Cheryl, they are absolutely wonderful! Funny and amazingly grounded under the circumstances. They are a joy to be around.