A group of youth, from Philanthropiece’s Youth Global Leadership program, are currently in Laguna San Ignacio.  They are in the final stages of  designing the YGL program and are assisting Philanthropiece with some essential, on the ground work.  Below is a post from Lee Lazar, Philanthropiece Advisory Board Member and one of the trip leaders, after the groups’ first full day in Laguna San Ignacio.

Greetings YGL fan club members,

Today was our first full day in the Lagoon so I would like to bring you up to date a bit.

First, here is a quiz for you. The answers are at the bottom.

 Question Number 1

For our first meal in Mexico, we ate:

A.    Arroz con frijoles, rice and beans

B.     Arroz con pollo, rice with chicken

C.     Sushi and tempura

Question Number 2

 For our second meal, we had:

A.   Arroz con frijoles

B.   Arroz con pollo,

C.   Bean sprout with avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread

(See answers below.)

Next, I will share one worst and one best so far.  

Worst moment

The fourth or fifth or sixth or seventh or eighth time our overnight bus driver turned on the interior overhead lights on the bus to let passengers on throughout the night on our 12 hour journey south to the town of San Ignacio.

Best quote, a tie

 Referring to our toilet on the bus as we cruised down the highway, Peter said, “I didn’t know whether to sit down or stand up”; in other words, I didn’t know whether to fall off or fall in.  Peter also said, referring to one of the many home made fresh daily salsas that we have, “try a teaspoon of that one and you will remember it in a month”.

We arrived in La Laguna early yesterday afternoon after our plane ride, van ride, bus ride, car ride and truck rides from San Diego to Laguna San Ignacio.  With about an hour left to our journey, on the very bumpy dirt road from San Ignacio town to the lagoon, we stopped for a stranded motorist.  The locals explained how you would never, ever pass a stranded motorist, and indeed, three cars stopped even though the road is not heavily traveled, and each driver launched into their stories of a time they were stranded and the people that helped them and how it would be absolutely inconceivable not to stop in a small town such as this whether or not you knew the fellow travelers.  Ironic, I thought to myself, since so much about what we read is related to violence in Mexico.  I wouldn’t stop for a stranger on the highway if I were headed into my town of Boulder.  At any rate, the stop lead to more stops for popsicles, to say hi to this family or that, and in due time we arrived in La Freidera where we are staying at Antonio’s Baja Expeditions camp.  

Last night, even though we all slept poorly the night before the trip because of our anxiety, and slept even worse on the overnight bus, our group accepted an invitation to a Quinceñera of one of Jordan’s English students.  Eventually, everyone would arrive, but our group went on the early side and after a bit of live music and dancing left by eleven.  

It’s dusty here despite our proximity to the water. Today, we spent the morning interviewing fishermen in the community of El Cardon here in the lagoon.  This is part of our work for Philanthropiece and it gave the YGLers a chance to practice their Spanish, meet many new people and hear interesting and in at least one case riveting stories about fishing life.  In the afternoon we took a boat ride with some of Jordan’s English students, from El Cardon, out to the mangroves where they fish and on to a little mangrove island.  We have captured some post card perfect scenes, at least in our mind, of warm waters, kids jumping of f their fishing boats to swim, herons perched like sentries on the top of the fisherman’s boats, the sun dropping to the horizon with its cast of light on the water.

Tonight we continued with our task of designing the YGL program and set out the schedule for tomorrow … helping to build an earthship house with a local family and some of Jordan’s students whom we met today and then interviewing fisherman from a different community about their lives as fisherman.  We wonder if they too see fishing as a vanishing way of life in this region.

As I write to you all, YGLers are gathered at a camp fire that the hosts built to welcome us some more to the lagoon.  YGLers are saying that one of the best parts of the trip so far has been to be a part of the community gatherings because of the relationships that Philanthropiece has here.

We are having fun, the kids are getting along really well, and we are all well with but a few scrapes, a touch of fatigue and some dusty contacts to report.

Your children are the best we could have chosen for this mission.



By Lee Lazar, Philanthropiece Advisory Board Member & YGL Coordinator