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Oct
28

TEMAZCAL

Temazcal is a especial sweat bath with medical herbs that takes place in small constructions of cement or adobe called toritos. The name Temazcal, or temazcalli is made of two Nahuatl words, temas, which means bath, and calli, meaning house. At the time of the Conquest, they were found everywhere in almost all of central and southern Mexico. The Temazcal has come down to modern times, and on the basis of the knowledge so carefully preserved, the contemporary revival of this healing sweat bath has taken place.

 

The Temazcal not only involved the worship of a goddess, but it incorporated all the elements of the ancient cosmology, both in the manner of its construction and the way in which it is used; and most of these concepts have been preserved in traditional thought and practice down to our own day. The Temazcal is a microcosm reproducing in itself the characteristics of the universe, the macrocosm. So we find in the Temazcal all elements of the different eras or cycles (known as suns) throughout which, according to Aztec mythology, the world has passed and continues to pass: earth, wind, fire and water (we now live in the fifth ‘sun’) and through whose constant movement and life is manifest.

When we enter the Temazcal, according to this ancient doctrine, we return once again to our mother’s womb, presided over by the great goddess, Tonantzin or Temazcaltoci, the great mother of both gods and humans.

The practice of inducing sweat has long been known to be beneficial in sicknesses of the skin, liver and circulation, in problems of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and other chronic diseases, as well as acute problems like muscular pains, colds and congestions, and sweat baths are but of the ways used to bring about healthful sweating. The Temazcal, because of its special methods, is perhaps the most effective of this kind of curative technique, certainly the list of conditions for which it has been used in the course of centuries is the most extensive.

The sauna, for example, reaches much higher temperature but the bath is drier and consequently, its curative capacities are lower. Other types of steam bath also combine heat and humidity, but the Temazcal surpasses them in effectiveness for two reasons: the person in charge of the bath can adjust -increase, diminish or direct- both heat and humidity to meet the specific needs of the patient he is treating, and the vapor is made from herbal teas, the herbs chosen for their effects on each individual patient.

There are some who feel uncomfortable at first with the reduced space and the heat inside the Temazcal. Usually a few deep and relaxing breaths will help to allay this initial reaction. Lying down also helps, in part because the floor is cooler than the upper parts and in part because the prone position helps to relax. It is the job of the Temazcalera to put bathers at ease, but it is strongly recommended that the Temazcal be a quiet place where one is drawn back into oneself.

Try our temazcal “Tonatzin” at Becari Campus QR St.  We offer it with massage or jus the Temazcal.  If you have any questions, you can contact Martha at becariqr@becari.com.mx

May
19

TEACHING SPANISH TO KIDS

Teaching a child a second language can be an immensely rewarding experience, and can open their young minds to a whole new world of sights and sounds. Even if you’re not entirely fluent in another tongue, here are five simple ways you can help your child learn to speak a second language confidently and easily.

1. If you can, start early. The sooner the better. By the age of two, a child’s brain is sucking up and processing all the information he or she comes in contact with, so it’s an ideal time to start learning a second language. You may think, “But he hasn’t even mastered ENGLISH yet!” That’s okay! Believe it or not, children can easily juggle two (or more) languages at once without the difficulty that their adult counterparts may have if they try to learn the same language when they’re older. Learning two separate languages will also not hinder your child’s reading or speaking ability. In fact, it will actually improve and broaden their vocabulary as they get older, since many foreign language words are used in English as well.

2. Just like with learning English, start your child out on simple words and basic greetings. Learning a language does take time and repetition, so only move on when your child feels comfortable and confident in using what he or she has already learned. If you’re not completely fluent yourself, but still want your child to have the benefit of a second language, purchase a good dictionary and work book to reinforce what you already know so that you can teach it to your child.

3. Set aside a special “Language-Only” time. Practice the language together with your child through music, books or videos and use this time to speak and play together using only the second language. It’s a great way to build up the child’s interest in another culture and will help him learn the language more completely and thoroughly.

4. If your significant other speaks a foreign language, consider having him or her speak only in the foreign language to the child, while you speak to them in English. This will quickly help the child understand each language’s structure and differences, and he won’t be as likely to get confused. Remember though, language learning is a slow by steady process. Let your child know not to worry about making a mistake or sounding silly. That’s the only way he or she will become confident enough to speak the language on a regular basis.

5. Whenever possible, immerse your child in the second language as often as you can. Taking trips to the place where the language is spoken is a great way to make a language feel “real” to a child. Children mimic what they see, so seeing others speak and use the language in their day-to-day lives will show him that he can do the same! We offer at Becari especial courses for kids  where they will do a lot of activities in real life situations.

Above all, treat learning a second language like a fun “adventure” rather than a tedious chore. If you keep these tips in mind, it won’t be long before your child is equally comfortable and proficient in both languages!

Feb
01

2 de Febrero: “Día de la Candelaria”

In Mexico,  this holiday is celebrated as Día de la Candelaria, known as Candlemas in English, because candles were brought to the church to be blessed.

In Oaxaca,  Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th, when children receive gifts and families and friends break bread together, specifically Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines hidden inside, these little dolls inside represents Jesus baby. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Kings Day is supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. The especial dish for that day is “tamales” and atole.

Niño Dios:

Another important custom in Mexico, particularly in areas where traditions run strong,  as Oaxaca, is for families to own an image of the Christ child, a niño Dios. At times a godparent is chosen for the niño Dios, who is then responsible for hosting various celebrations between Christmas and Candlemas. First, on Christmas Eve the niño Dios is placed in the Nativity scene, and the Godparents need to bring candies for everybody,  then,  on February 2nd, the child is dressed in fine clothes and presented in the church, the Godparents buy the dress for him.

Dec
09

LAS PIÑATAS

We can not have a Christmas in Mexico without a “Piñata”. Let me tell you about the story of them:

 During the period of the Spanish Conquest in Mexico, the Spanish brought the “piñatas” to use them as a way to attract the indigenous people to the Catholic religion. Afterwords, the “piñatas” where used during our Posadas ( Christmas parties celebrated days before Christmas Day)  as a religious element but also a very enjoyable one, especially for the kids.  As a i element, the “piñata” represents the devil; the stick which children hit it, represents God,  punishing the sin; and the people who screams and gives directions to the one who is hitting the piñata (arriba, abajo, etc.), represents the Catholic Church.

Nowadays, we have beautiful piñatas, and children and adults enjoy this wonderful tradition.

Aug
31

Día de San Ramón ( August 31st )

August 31st is San Ramón Day in Oaxaca. Dogs, cats, parrots, birds, they all go to the church of “La Merced” dress up to get the blessing from the priest. Do not miss this celebration!

Aug
13

Letra de la canción de Oaxaca en español y zapoteco, una Estrella en el Bicentenario.

watch?v=uxMCcEjWGms&feature=related

Aug
12

A group of students from Stanford University did a Service Project-Summer 2009

The Stanford group of students took classes at Becari and did a very interesting project with Centro de Esperanza Infantil. Below is their report.

Stanford Group Service Project- Summer 2009

Centro de Esperanza Infantil

Client Health Status Survey and Report

Overview

During the Summer of 2009, the Stanford University Community Health in Oaxaca Program collaborated with the Centro de Esperanza Infantil (CEI) to carry out an assessment of preventive health habits among the Center’s clients, and to provide appropriate health education counseling.

Project description

Between July 29th and August 20th, a total of 14 Stanford undergraduate students worked in teams of 4-5 to perform the following tasks at CEI:

  • Collected basic household information;
  • Measured height and weight;
  • Administered the Staying Healthy Questionnaire;
  • Offered health education counseling and resources as needed, according to the responses given;
  • Provided all participating clients a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss when available;
  • Offered soap, shampoo and children’s vitamins (with proper instructions) to some families, as needed;
  • Entered client data into a master spreadsheet; and
  • Filed the Staying Healthy Assessment in the respective client chart.

Stanford program faculty assisted in the design of the project and in administering assessments; provided consultation as needed; and coordinated data collection and analysis.  Am independent British medical student in Oaxaca also assisted with the project.

Findings

A total of 422 children (more than 70% of the CEI clientele) participated in the project.  The average age of the participants was 11.9 years old, and the great majority of the children responded directly to the questionnaire themselves.

  • Demographic findings:
    • On average, the children lived in houses with more than 6 residents.  The highest number people in one household was 15.
    • The majority of the parents had migrated to the city from other parts of Oaxaca.
    • 46% of the children (and their parents, when present) reported speaking only Spanish in the home. Other languages used in the home included:
      • Triqui (23%)
      • Mixteco (14%)
      • Zapoteco (14%)
      • One or two families spoke each of the following languages at home:  Ohimanteco, Chontal, Cuecateco, Chatino, and Mixe
      • Over 33% of the children have a relative who has moved to another part of Mexico or to another country.  Among these, the target destinations within Mexico included Mexico City, Veracruz, Puebla, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Mexicali.  Those who knew the whereabouts of their family members in the United States reported that they were in California, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, New York, Arizona, Indiana, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Nevada.

Height and weight measurements indicated that among those surveys, 28% of the children were overweight or obese and 12% of children were underweight.  Both extremes may correlate with malnourishment, which can impact growth as well as overall health.

Basic analysis of self-reported health habits suggests the following:

  • The children who participated generally had good health habits and understood why these habits were important.  Parents who were present generally confirmed their child’s report:
    • 96% reported washing their hands with soap after using the bathroom, before meals, and after playing with animals,
    • 95% reported drinking only purified water; and
    • 95% reported that they are up to date on required vaccinations.
  • Oral health was an area of some concern:
    • While 91% of children reported having their own toothbrush, only 88% reported brushing their teeth daily; and
    • Twenty-seven percent (27%) of children reported never having visited a dentist.
  • Risks associated with second-hand smoke exposure were high, as 26% of children reported that someone in their household smokes.
  • Virtually all families have a regular source of health care in their community; the vast majority of families use the local Centro de Salud and a certain number cited the local pharmacy as their primary health care provider.
  • Access to diverse and healthful food supplies is quite limited.  Many children reported going without meals on a daily basis.
  • Most parents describe their children as being in good health, though there are many who have questions and concerns as well.
  • CEI clients and their families are most interested in the following class/workshop topics:
    • Nutrition and exercise
    • Child development
    • Sexual and reproductive health
      • Sexually transmitted diseases
      • Family planning/birth control
      • Abortion
      • Oral health
      • Diabetes
      • Cancer
      • General anatomy
      • Influenza
      • Mental health
      • Drug addiction (including tobacco)
      • Domestic violence

Nov
07

Welcome to Becari!

At the Becari Language School, we specialize in offering many different options for any person interested in learning our beautiful Spanish Language. To study at Becari is not only a new language but also to enter another culture. We are a medium size school which prides itself on careful and sustained attention to each student regardless of his or her level of proficiency with a staff of qualified teachers who have ample experience in the field of Spanish as a second language.

At Becari we offer different programs according to the student’s individual needs, making it possible to advance more rapidly in one’s knowledge and practice of Spanish. We emphasize oral communication, conversation, grammar lessons tailored to the student’s level, including a a variety of enjoyable and productive language learning exercises.

Becari’s teachers welcome every new situation we encounter from the wide range of students who come to our school. For example, through private classes of one on one, we can prepare students for special examinations which require intensive individual instruction. On the other hand, with five or more students we can offer special field trips, cooking or regional dance classes, Spanish language films, etc.

Our regular program consists of three hours of small group classes, five days a week, divided into two sessions, with a different teacher for each session. The intensive program includes four hours of class, divided evenly between two different teachers. The super intensive program of six hours daily is also divided between three teachers.

Becari Language School is flexible in its scheduling, and a student can enter for as little as one week or for a lengthy, indefinite period of study. We also have special programs for one, two and three months of study.

 We are looking forward to welcoming you here!

Becari Language School
M. Bravo # 210
Plaza San Cristobal
Oaxaca, Oax.
Mexico, 68000
Tel/Fax: 011 52 (951) 514 6076
E-mail: becari@becari.com.mx
Please visit our Becari website at: http://www.becari.com.mx/