» Archive for the 'classes' Category

New Spanish Language Instructor: Mayo

Friday, June 4th, 2010 by Marie

Mayo from a nearby village has been a friend of ours for a few years.  Over some beers at a recent town party, we noticed his natural talent for correcting our Spanish in an understandable way.  Pair that with his basic English, he’s a great candidate for Spanish language practice.

Friendly, very outgoing (though he claims to be shy), good humored and quite intelligent, Mayo spends some of his afternoons chatting with Bosque visitors in Spanish.  He charges for his time, but barely - Mayo is doing this because of his social nature and his curiosity about foreigners and other cultures.  We’re happy to welcome him to the growing team of teachers and Bosque partners.

Mayo with Marta during language exchange

Activity leaders

Saturday, April 24th, 2010 by Marie

You never know what to expect at the Bosque.  Depending on the crowd, activities range quite a bit, both in quantity and type. People engage with each other to develop fun, deepness, and community by leading and participating in a wide variety of activities. Amazing people visit the Bosque and contribute to the vibe.  Their creativity, inventiveness and skills are truly astounding.

Two guiding principles at the Bosque are Participation and Immediacy as we create a more permanent “temporary autonomous zone”.


Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.


Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Here are just a few highlights from recent contributions of Bosque visitors:

Self-Defense Class
Lucas led a self-defense class.  He has spent a year studying Shaolin Gongfu in China and was happy to experience teaching some of what he learned.


Disc Golf
Stephen and Marta created a 9-hole disc golf course.  It’s very amazing and very fun!


Instead of the usual net buckets used for disc golf, they made creative, large, colorful targets:


Mud Wrestling
Stephen and Marta also organized a huge mud wrestling tournament.


Marta and Stephen post-wresting:

Hot Air Balloon
César came to the Bosque with materials to assemble a hot air balloon!  He taught others the technique while he made the balloon.


Yoga, Meditation, and Theater
Javiero led yoga and meditation before breakfast, and also organized a theater performance.


Face painting
Stella, an artist, painted faces (and fingernails) of nearly every visitor she could find.


Dance Workshops
Kali taught dance workshops - very popular!


Permaculture workshop

Raúl led a mini-workshop in permaculture.  Raúl teaches permaculture and natural building in Querétaro with Ruta Ahimsa.


A big thanks to all of our visitors who both participated in and led activities!

Silk Screening Workshop

Monday, January 25th, 2010 by Marie

Cathy and Caitlin led a silk screening workshop!  During the workshop participants designed images to print onto jeans, pieces of fabric, shirts, and hats.

The process is surprisingly simple and produces really nice results.  Paul designed a turtle, Peggy designed something that is not Kokopelli but looks like him, and Silvia made a print of a fun phrase.

Jacky printing the turtle onto his jeans:

Peggy’s design:

Caitlin (left) helping Peggy:

Silvia cutting out her screen:

Getting started (Cathy on right):

Cathy was kind enough to write up really nice instructions so we can potentially re-create the workshop.  Click on the images to see the instructions in our photostream.

Caitlin and Cathy volunteered at the Bosque for two weeks.  They helped build our chicken coop, they fought the pine beetle plague, and they were two very nice people to have here in the forest.  They also brought along their very fine dog who likes to sleep with her tongue sticking out:

Thanks to Cathy and Caitlin!  Come back soon!

Pine needle basket weaving class

Thursday, May 14th, 2009 by Marie

We have a gazillion pine needles on the forest floor.  For weaving baskets, the pine needles need to be long - at least 20 centimeters, or about 8 inches.

A women’s collective in Opopeo (a village about an hour from the Bosque) came to this area and taught the women here how to weave beautiful pine needle baskets.  Socorro is now very talented - she makes baskets to sell in the market and for visitors here - most recently a tortilla warmer for one of our volunteer’s mothers for Mother’s day.  She also teaches a 3 hour workshop on pine needle basket weaving.


During the workshop students learn how to start the basket, finish the basket, and of course, weave the basket.  Students take their baskets home, and also have the opportunity to work on additional baskets in a more advanced class setting.

The art of pine needle basketry has been practiced by indigenous groups on Turtle Island for over 9,000 years.  In this area, working with pine needles, or huinumo, is quite popular.  In the United States, some craft shops sell the long pine needles in areas where the trees don’t grow.  You can even buy them on ebay.


The hat Melissa is wearing in the photo above is made out of another popular material used for weaving called chuspata - a lake reed.  Chuspata is so widely known and popular around here it was even the original name for Honey Cupcake!   The floor mats at the Bosque are all made using chuspata, and we plan to be able to offer a class for making mats, tortilla warmers, and hats out of chuspata in the future.

Below is the group after taking a huinumo class last week.


Basket weaving class vocabulary:

  • huinumo:  pine needles  Huinumo is actually a word in Purépecha, not Spanish.  Purépecha is the indigenous language in this area.
  • Omega nylón:  the type of thread used to weave the pine needles together
  • aguja:  needle
  • hilo:  thread
  • tijeras:  scissors
  • pica:  poke  (for when Socorro tells you not to poke yourself with the needle)
  • el hilo es liso:  the thread is slippery
  • flojo:  loose (lazy)
  • jale duro:  pull it hard!
  • nudos:  knots

Language exchange and learning at the Bosque

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 by Marie

We now have a Spanish language teacher offering Spanish lessons and language exchange for visitors and volunteers who want to improve their language skills while staying here in the forest.

Raúl is originally from Mexico City, and will be living at the Bosque until at least August.  He has been teaching for years, and has been offering lessons to many of his friends and acquaintances who want to become better at Spanish speaking, comprehension, and writing.  He has a legal background and can teach legal Spanish as well.  Raúl is multi talented - he also holds discussions on permaculture, vegetarianism, and leads workshops on natural building.


One of his students, Alexandra from the US, writes:

alexI came to the Bosque with many years of experience studying Spanish grammar but without the ability to hold a steady, fluid conversation.  After a two week stay with language lessons from Raul, I left the Bosque and continued my travels in Mexico, confidently conversing in Spanish.  This is the best I have ever felt about my language skills, and my lessons with Raul took me to a whole new ability and confidence level.  The lessons were fun, effective, and there couldn’t be a more beautiful setting for them.  I seriously recommend the Bosque and Raul to anyone for Spanish studies, regardless of skill level, and I met several other guests during my stay who feel the same.

Other resources we have available include:

  • friends in nearby villages who offer language exchange.
  • movies to watch in Spanish with Spanish subtitles
  • books in Spanish for the beginner to advanced student
  • Bosque dictionary including tools, food items, and forest words
  • Bosque slang dictionary including popular Mexican slang

Visitors to the Bosque speak a number of different languages.  Generally we have a wide variety of Spanish skill level here; beginner, intermediate, advanced and native speakers.  For both Spanish and English students who want to practice, we encourage speaking in your second language when possible.  If the person you are speaking to looks back at you with confusion, switch languages!  For people who would enjoy a rural setting, this could be the best place to study Spanish in Mexico.

Another Spanish teacher will be joining us in late July.  We are recruiting TEFL certified English teachers to offer their classes here as well.  With a mix of English and Spanish students here, language exchange will happen naturally and visitors here will have a very language enriched experience.  Perhaps in the future we will also be able to offer classes in basic Purépecha, the language of the indigenous group in this area.

For more information about Raúl’s Spanish classes, click here.
For more information about Bosque language resources, click here.

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