After 10 years dedicated to Entreamigos and the children, community and environment of San Pancho, our dear Indira Santos has moved to Chiapas, Mexico to accompany her husband in his Phd studies. Her vibrancy, her huge heart, her quick tongue and indominable spirit will live on in our hearts and in the legacy that she left to all of us at Entreamigos.
Indira joined Entreamigos just after arriving from Chile with her two young children. She jumped into our fledgling activities on the street, helping to teach art classes, wrangle kiddos and somehow keep them safe, laughing and productive. Indira, full of life and overflowing with musical and creative skills proved to be the perfect complement to my more serious, more studious self. Right from the beginning Indira was intense. She had a really clear sense of how the world should be and when it wasn’t and she was quick to say so. She loved our small community and loved our work but couldn’t believe that we weren’t doing anything to help or promote the care of the environment. Within months of arriving she was rallying for town clean ups, for the planting of trees and the use of recycled materials in every project that we did. Indira animated every story, every art project, every interaction with a sense of awe for the environment and the responsibility to care for it. Everything I know, I learned from Indira.
After a few years, Indira joined forces with Erik Saracho and rallied to start a recycling program in San Pancho. It wasn’t a hard sell to me, I just asked the hard questions like “who is going to do it?” and “how will we afford it?” and “what will we do with it?” Indira didn’t much care for my questions and didn’t wait to have the answers, she just went ahead and did it. As a warrior in the truest sense, she fought for what she believed in and was willing to back it up with whatever it took. We accomplished a recycling program and for the first year we just stored the materials; bags and bags and packs and packs of plastic, glass and cardboard were piled up in the bodega until we could find a buyer. We jumped in to teach other communities to recycle and eventually there were so many of us, that we attracted buyers to the region who were interested in purchasing our raw recycling. On many a day, it was Indira out collecting, out cajoling, out rounding up her recycling or the bins that disappeared into peoples’ backyards. It was Indira rallying the staff, the community, the kids and even the government to get involved, to do their part. For Indira, caring for the environment wasn’t optional, wasn’t this extracurricular choice.. for Indira, caring for the environment was a responsibility intertwined with being alive and she instilled that understanding not only in me, but in everyone that she touched.
Today, ten years later, Entreamigos is a model of sustainability recognized by the Federal Government as an education and training center. Entreamigos has designed and developed education programs that are being taught in dozens of public and private schools all over the region and have even traveled to schools in other countries. At Entreamigos you can buy a gift to take home that is handmade on-site by local residents who have learned not only to recycle, but how do re-purpose items to be beautiful, functional and continue to support the cycle of education-environment-community that is the mission of our work. Entreamigos receives thousands of visitors every year and inspires them with our commitment to make an impact in our community, and our heart for doing it in the very best way.
Indira is and forever will be part of the spirit of Entreamigos. She has left us with stories to tell for generations and we will hold her fiery, warrior spirit as our guiding light and continued inspiration in the work that we do to defend our planet and protect our community. We love and thank her with all our heart, we already miss her dearly…