Calls For Action, Musings

The Life of Masks in San Miguel

May 31, 2020

I have never seen so many creative, colorful face masks in my life.

They are everywhere. Personalities shine through with choices.

Are you a traveler? Perhaps an African print is up your alley. Or an animal lover, there are masks for you too.

Cook, seamstress, booklover, gardener, coffee lover, artist, a follower of Lucha Libre, photographer, writer? You can be a walking billboard with an unspoken welcome to others sharing your interests.

When we moved to San Miguel in 2018 and went out shopping, we carried our Trader Joe’s bags amazed at how many introductions ensued. People missing that food emporium. The bags were icebreakers. 

In the time of COVID-19, one can find a mask for each outfit. Forget the matching shoes.

My husband and I just purchased new masks. Our third each. We have seen a progression in the style and artistry of Narea Kim Ellis, our mask maker of choice. The last purchased, our favorites. But that could change next week. Variety has been key, and with each notice on her Facebook page, we are pulled to purchase another and support her cause.

When the first call went out to wear face masks we went searching through Centro, settling for flimsy, barely-there blue squares with elastic the width of a pin that broke on the first try. Amazon was sold out for every option we looked at.

THEN, the more we walked, the more masks we saw in cubby holes, doorways, shop entrances, and on tables in parking spaces.

Abrazos San Miguel on Zacateros has some great masks also. They employ 13 seamstresses and their families, many of who have been working for them 5-10 years.  Masks are available for adults and children and are double-sided. We love the color and design, especially the Frida’s!  They DELIVER every day 3-5pm,  SHIP to the US every day at 3pm, and follow all sanitary guidelines and only one person at a time allowed in the store. Tell Patrice we sent you and say, Buen Dia.

It is fun and encouraging to see entrepreneurial spirit flourish throughout the town. Not only with mask makers but also restaurants and shops for take-out or delivery. Houses with a window or doorway have opened up to sell herbs, baked goods, coffee, flowers, and more.

There are those who take requirements to don masks seriously and then there are people who seem to lack understanding of the concept. As many chose to wear the “let me protect my chin” option as those who cover both nose and mouth.

To me, it takes as little effort to have a mask dangle below the face as it does to just pull it up. Why do things half-ass? Why put a mask on your child, but not on yourself? Why wear none at all?

If someone can’t afford a mask, I have seen several organizations offering them for free. Groups of women are using donated cloth to make them in sewing circles.

San Miguel steps up to the plate yet again. And in trying times, resilience and community shine through.

You just got to love it!

So embrace it, take care of it, and stay healthy. Wear a mask and let your personality out.



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