A few people started to gather at 11AM on the dot, getting ready to participate in the “Project,” as some participants in the Community Center refer to it. Around 15 school desk chairs, the same ones the children use every morning for the breakfast program, were being lined up in the traditional lines and row style. However, once everyone was settled in, the chairs were realigned into a semi-circle, to enhance group dynamic. At about a quarter after 11 we began to talk about the idea of remodeling the Community Center into something that is more participatory. We played a game to better understand relation dynamics in La Estacion.
Passing around a ball of yarn, each person shared what they liked about the community. With much enthusiasm, the participants like: “To gather…The sense of community that is lived out here is quite intense… That we are close to the center and that the schools, markets and everything is nearby… The trust that exists between the neighbors… That the people are fighters.” Only one person talked about what she did not like in La Estacion.
Winding the yarn back into a ball, the participants had to say what the person before them shared. Then a video was showed about Mapping Relations elaborated by the UNILCO Mexico team, followed by a soap opera show called María Paloma La Pasion de Palomares that was about the community participation in Palomares del Rio in Andalucía, Spain.
We wrapped up our time deciding to meet in a week but earlier during the day so as not to conflict with the time children are picked up from the school. It was stressed that the importance is not in getting together for meetings but in mapping with those who are interested. Don Felipe´s son said that he can obtain a better map than the one we had. Even though he was born at La Estacion, his son has not been in all of the places of the neighborhood.