Have you ever had a pure moment, one in which you are completely absorbed and also transported to another time? Early this morning I bought some decadent dark truffles and a cardamom hot chocolate at Kakao Natural, Chocolate Artesanal, and suddenly I remembered a sunny August day in 2005 sitting at the veranda of a white colonial hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in which I enjoyed a lemon spritz. I recall the elegance of the English property, the green lawn with brick pathways, and the smoky vapor of the world’s most impressive waterfall over the canopy of trees far away. We were in Africa, and you could hear the crash of Victoria Falls so many kilometers away. At the table I even remember the cup holders, on the back it was printed World Heritage Hotels as the pressed board wrinkled from the perspiration of our iced beverage. Baobab trees and the large monkeys that crossed the lawn, sometimes stealing our chips. The lunch of chicken was $360,000 Zim Dollars, before the inflation sunk the nation, and before starvation was really epidemic. How I miss those spectacular nighttime stars, watching for comets with friends every evening at the poolside. We felt so eternal.

And then back to Chiapas, Mexico. The quality of the chocolate here is heavenly, but needs a smoother richer finish and needs to be kept at a more stable temperature in order for finer crystals not to form and affect its texture. It doesn’t compare to Recchuiti’s in San Francisco.

And in this corner, I finish tactical notes and priorities for Taller Leñateros, and with the chocolate kind to my soul, I sincerely pray:

I am a conduit of God…of His Spirit, His Grace, His Divine Creativity. He is the infinite Source that channels through me and all things I do are possible through Him. Please give me guidance and aplomb to accept the responsibility to build a flourishing artisan guild and balance their $5 million debt, and let help and wisdom flow through me when I feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

Provide me that sparkle and that wisdom that speaks to people about our common values and our nobler cause. Let their senses be magnified, their minds expanded, let them fall in love with this. Let me be kind to others, let me be their laughter and joy, let me inspire them, let me be of immense value and an uplifting presence to them. All greatness, all ingenuity, all things worthy, all things deserving and good that benefit the Mayan friends, I attribute to You, not me. Let them all experience You through me. It’s not about me. It’s about serving relentlessly so that it’s personal and real.

And here, I’ll articulate my personal objective, a focus in which I would “waste” my days on:

…Create a universe in which the average [American] can experience “Third World” communities beautifully through photographs, stories, documentaries, and through contacting me, so that s(he) can be delighted and inspired to do something worthwhile with their lives. This universe is relevant and reachable, multisensorial. The people are real and genuine. At its core is a mine of valuable and original ideas related to development and improving the lot of the poor.

Life is punctuated by overcoming failures. We have become a shortcut culture scared of mistakes.” – Michael Jordan


Spanish Words of the Day:racimo” bunch, cluster | “consentido” pampered |  “incitacion” incitement | “acoplarse” to fit together | “resplandor” brilliance | “follaje” foliage | “menoscabar” to lessen, to diminish | “disimbolo” dissimilar | “raid” a lift, a ride | “repujar” to emboss