We farmed south of Bow Island until late 1991 after which I (Alan)was employed under contract with the County of 40 Mile No. 8 as a technician.

I have been interested in development work for quite some time. We contacted a number of agencies to find out what skills would be required to gain such employment. They were more education and experience in the developing world.

In the summer of 1994 we headed to Mexico where I enrolled at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla in their BA Program in International Relations . On December 6th, 1994 we landed in Mexico City with 8 of our 9 suitcases (one took a trip somewhere in the USA before arriving in Mexico) and three very tired children ages 3, 2 and 8 months. We lived in Cholula, Puebla for the next three and half years, about an hour from Mexico City and half an hour from an active Volcano, Popocatepetl (photo view from Cholula). We returned to Canada briefly for Matthew's birth in 1996. The following are stories of some of our adventures during our stay. You will notice that a lot of the titles do not have links yet. We are working on them.

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last updated May 31, 1999












Hairy, Scary Bus Rides

1) One day as I was on my way to class, I boarded an Atzompa bus, driven by a fairly young man, and we began our careening trip down the road. Alan calls the Atzompa busses "milk cartons". They do resemble cartons on their sides. They usually rattle and shake alarmingly because they're very old and travel many poor roads. So there I was, seated knees to chin, bouncing up and down. The driver was careening down the road ­ either trying to miss all the potholes or cover every inch of the road. He'd take a swig of Coke, check out the scenery and then bounce in time to his blaring music. Suddenly his attention was diverted by a woman in skin-tight jeans who was crossing the highway beside us. At first I grinned as his jaw dropped and his eyes locked on her. Soon, however, I was thinking, "Oh, please look at the road!"

It was amazing how he missed the potholes AND the poles AND the on-coming traffic, while staring fixedly at her. That was a trip every visitor needs to experience!

One evening, while returning from a shopping trip at Comercial Mexicana, Alan and I climbed onto a crowded-to-overflowing bus with our three small sons. As we boarded, we were almost jerked off our feet as the bus lurched forward. I was mostly concerned about David and Levi but, due to the fact that standing in the aisle was a "packed like sardines in a can" experience, they were saved from falling by surrounding legs. Alan soon saw a space at the very back of the bus and slowly wound his way back there with David and Levi. It took a while for me to decide that I wanted to fight the crowd, but eventually gave in and started to follow them. Just as I started to move, the bus stopped so suddenly I was almost thrown off my feet. I continued on my way as everyone on the bus turned to look toward the back. I thought I was the center of attention, but soon discovered we had been bumped from the back by a competitor's bus. A small bus driver war ensued, before we once again tore down the road. The second half of our trip was the part where dirt roads and numerous speed bumps were encountered. The driver drove like a madman, bouncing us high and hard. Poor Levi's face took yet one more beating on the back of a bus seat. Alan, conversing with a Mexican man beside us, described our trip as a "batadora" (mixer). His conversation partner said it was like a bucking bronc. Either way, I had to agree!












Pharmaceutical Fun

One day I went into a pharmacy in downtown Cholula. I asked if they had chewable multi-vitamins for children. I was presented with three varieties of multi-vitamins, two of which specified no certain age (though children's vitamins always specify an age) and one of which said "Not to be administered to children less than 12 years of age". I stated that none of them were for children. The pharmacist assured me that they were. I read the above-mentioned label and was told I could cut them in half. I replied, "Sorry, they're not what I'm looking for." I then asked if they had iron pills. I was presented with three more bottles, all multi-vitamins containing iron. I just wanted iron. They assured me that they had that too! Back come two more containers ­ one for injections, which I quickly tossed back to them, and another of MOST expensive iron pills. I told them I was sorry but that I didn't have that much money. I then thanked them and left. They acted highly insulted that I wouldn't buy their goods, not that they had what I wanted, or that they'd been honest with me!

A few weeks later, I got brave and ventured into another store. The girl at the counter said I needed to talk to the pharmacist so I waitedand waitedand waited. When the man finally emerged I told him I wanted chewable multi-vitamins for children. He asked me in a horrified tone why I would want to administer vitamins to children. I explained I had a five-year-old who wouldn't eat meat or vegetables. He clicked his tongue and concernedly stated how awful that was. Then he rushed off to find something that would promote hunger. He stopped abruptly as I shot back at him, "It won't work!"

When he questioned my position I told him my son had a wonderful appetite as long as the food appealed to him. No matter how hungry he was, food he didn't like would NOT be eaten. "Oh," he replied, and disappeared.

Well, I waited another eternity and Mr. Pharmacist returned with a bottle of syrup. I sent him back. David would NEVER take vitamin drops. He returned with a bottle of tablets, made just for children, small size and all. The bottle didn't say they were for children. Nor did it say they were chewable. However, he assured me that they were both so I decided to try them. Bad choice!

I cut a tablet open at home and didn't think it looked at all chewable. It was coated red on the outside with an orange, almost powder substance on the inside. David eagerly grabbed his half, popped it in his mouth, and yelled, "Yuck! Water!" Levi timidly licked his and threw it in the garbage. I did the same with the rest of the bottle.












Media Madness

The boys and I were at the Mexico City bus depot with Mom, Lorinda and Bronson, waiting for the bus that was to take us to Taxco. Our bus was announced so we headed out the doors, toward the bus. As we rounded a corner I saw a boy about 10 years old running down the sidewalk after his mother. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him bump gently into Lorinda. Well, one would think he'd been hit by a freight train. He threw himself onto the sidewalk and screamed. Lorinda stood there and stared at him in surprise. Then she asked me what she should do. I replied that she could help him up. She stretched out her hand to help but was stopped by a policeman who had witnessed the whole event. He told us to go get on the bus. We gladly complied but had gone no farther than 10 steps when a microphone was shoved in my face by T.V. personnel. I must have been thinking harder about how I wasn't going to comment than I was about what I was saying because I quickly said, in low tones and perfect English, "I don't speak English." The disappointed media woman quickly retreated with her microphone. She obviously didn't understand English as well as the highly amused policeman who followed us to our bus and told us the boy was fine.