Chronicle of a Day in the Plaza

By:  Laura Olivieri Robles  and Mónica Ocasio Vega

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Giovanni sells lottery tickets from Monday through Friday at the Plaza. Not even a nasty case of the flu kept him from selling lottery tickets to his loyal customers. His friend, Kathy- who did not want to be pictured- kept him company to make time pass more quickly.

 

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While Gladys waited for the bus to take her home she went on and on about how she did not have any children. She was amused of how others had loads of bags full of Mother’s Day presents. “It is a holiday created by the commerce, why does everyone insist on buying presents for their aunt, mother in law and neighbor?”she added when someone was loudly saying all of the presents he had bought.

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Yesenia and Gerardo- who did not want to be pictured- have an on going business in the Plaza, selling a selection of flowers and medicinal plants. Gerardo, an engineer, is the one who cultivates some of their medicinal plants while all of the flowers are brought from big importers like Colombia. By the end of the day all of their gorgeous selection of roses, daisies, lilies and carnations were gone, bought either as a present for Mother’s Day or a nice pick-me up for the day.

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Edmarie Cordova, natural from New York, enjoying a walk with her uncle, Edgardo Soto, while waiting for her mother to come out of the hospital. They came for a short trip to Puerto Rico when her brother decided to come out of her mother’s womb. As a daughter of a Puerto Rican family she naturally has a big stew of English and Spanish in her little head.

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Miriam Acevedo and Carmín Torrellas share their shift at a Jehovah’s Witnesses booth at the Plaza. They nicely greeted anyone who passed by and made conversation with whomever was interested. “We are here to explain what the Bible really says” shared Acevedo, they count with pamphlets of diverse themes addressing questions about God and their religion.

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Julio and Sylvia Marrero, owners of the flower cart located at the corner of the Mayagüez Casino, nicely indicating the flower’s prices to their customers.The couple has been selling flowers for over 30 years. Their business is only open for Mother’s Day and Father’s day holidays

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Gustavo, a professional photographer, is filming the skies over the Plaza for a time lapse he is working on. He’s usually found around the Plaza filming skate videos for Mundorad.com. “I’m here doing the same thing you are” when asked what was he up to.

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Four Eugenio María de Hostos high school students (16 and 17) sit by the square’s fountain during their lunch break. The group said giggling “we’re here killing some time, we already had lunch”. This group of students is one of many that can be seen in the Plaza Colón during lunchtime, because high school students are allowed to have lunch outside of school.

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Santa enjoys a refreshing ice cream with her grandson, Jayron at the Plaza Colón. The boy shared that the treat was his grandmother’s reward for getting first place at a competition on his field day. The boy got comfortable with us rather quickly and started quizzing us on United States presidents.

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Kel, a writer, comes to the Plaza to admire beautiful days and put his thoughts together. Naturally from Ohio, he shared that in his long search for his true home, he found it in the island. “I’m getting the Puerto Rican flag tattooed today at 5:00 P.M., this place is just so wonderful”

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A student from the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez Campus, Fernando, opted to enjoy the sun while finishing an art assignment. He majors in civil engineering at UPRM, “an odd choice, I know” he added. All of his works looked beautifully detailed, he conveyed a great talent even though he said he had not taken much art classes.

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Enrique Maíz Torres, Interamerican University student, orders his regular double shot latte. Maíz began visiting Friends Café about two years ago, and knows well the baristas in the shift. “I always order a double shot latte because my best friend is a barista and he taught me that it’s the best way to get a rich coffee flavor” said Maíz Torres.

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Friends Café barista, Hernán Rodríguez Cortés, handing his speciality cappuccino to a customer. Rodríguez has been working at the coffee shop since 2007. He said “We brew an average of 60 to 80 pounds of coffee a week”

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Siblings Ricardo, 4, Natalia, 2, and Damián, 3, playing and bursting bubbles. The siblings enjoyed a day in Mayagüez, while visiting from Camuy, PR. The mother of the trio said “they’re discharging energy so they can sleep the whole trip back home”

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Humberto Rocio and Maria Jaime, UPRM students, taking a break from studying. Rocio is a computer engineering major while Jaime is a chemical engineering major. The couple of friends visited the café as a way to relax from final’s week at the university.

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Edgardo Gonzalez (red), Raúl Marrero (blue), Ulises Pagán (white) and Frankie Velez (stripes) enjoying an evening match of dominoes. The winning team at the moment was Marrero and Pagán. The gang chose to play dominoes at the Plaza Colón because “there is nothing else to do.”

Relay For Life: A Ray of Hope

By: Jermian J. Román Estrada  &  Yelitza I. Nieves Prosper

15 May 2012

Color Feature

The past April 28 & 29, 2012, the UPRM’s synthetic track was the scene for the annual event of Relay For Life. The American Cancer Society organizes this event in order to collect funds to help cancer patients on their fight against this disease.

Relay For Life is more of a communitarian event more than an athletic one, in which many communities get together in one place to celebrate the fight against cancer and to remember the people who died fighting. The schools, corporations, clubs and even groups of families and friends participates which working all the year to collect funds for the American Cancer Society. They perform many activities and sell t-shirts, hats, and merchandise allusive to the event to collect the money.

As Relay For Life is known worldwide, everyone have heard about it, but only a few know more of it. Many people think that Relay For Life is just walking an entire day in a track.  They ignore that this event involves a lot of meanings, purposes, activities and even prizes.

The principal activities are the three representative words: “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back”. The event starts with the Survivors Lap, also known as the Victory Lap. At night, they make a lap in silence for the deceased. The next day the event finishes with a lap to Fight Back, making a pledge to keep fighting.

Relay For Life started with a parade of all the groups participating, organized by the number of their tent. Every group had a theme of a holiday because of the motto “One World. One Party. One Hope.”  Each tent related the holiday to the fight with cancer.

The student’s organization SHPE-UPRM in the parade. The theme of their tent was “Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian”.The student’s organization SHPE-UPRM in the parade. The theme of their tent was “Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian”.

The student’s organization SHPE-UPRM in the parade. The theme of their tent was “Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian”.

The UPRM band started the parade with the “abanderadas”, followed with the staff of the event and the other groups. Carolina Plaza, Univision reporter, presented the groups while they were walking beneath the arc of Relay for Life.

During this year’s event, the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus had organized 8 teams which were: Sororities of UPRM, Fraternities of UPRM, SHPE, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Business Administration, being Business Administration the group that most funds collected. The relay was from 4 pm of the 28th of April up to 12pm of the 29th of April. The Relay Event makes reference to the proverb: “Cancer never rests”. Due to this proverb, during the event there must always be at least one member running or walking for each team.

Other groups participating were corporation groups like Mr. Special and Sears. High Schools like Eugenio Maria de Hostos from Mayaguez, Segundo Ruiz Belvis from Hormigueros, and some private schools like SESO from Mayaguez participate too. Even when people did not belong to any team, they supported the fight taking short walks on the circuit to complete a lap.

After the parade began the protocol acts to officially start the event. First, they made a prayer. The UPRM rector, Dr. Jorge Rivera Santos, make the commitment to repeat  Relay For Life again in the Campus.

Carmen “Annie” Negron, President of Relay For Life, talked and thanked the staff for their help. They presented the symbol girl, Grecia Kamila Martinez and the godparents, Zamarie Ponce Fantauzzi and Rafael Antonio Martinez Pantoja. Finally, they talked about Relay For Life’s origins.

This event has been celebrated since Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office. In May of 1985, he decided to personally raise money for the fight against cancer by doing something he enjoyed, which was running marathons.

At the time being, Dr. Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours running and walking Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. In order to help Dr. Klatt in his cause, friends of his paid to run or walk with him for lapses of 30 minutes. When Dr. Klatt finished the marathon, he raised a quantity of $27,000. This was when Dr. Klatt saw a glimpse of the future and saw a 24 hour relay marathon where teams would run or walk to raise funds and awareness against cancer which would later become the first team relay event known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.

The survivors, with dark purple t-shirts,  in the Survivors Lap (Victory Lap).  They start the Relay for Life celebrating the fight aginst cancer..

The survivors, with dark purple t-shirts, in the Survivors Lap (Victory Lap). They start the Relay for Life celebrating the fight aginst cancer..

After that, they did the Survivor Lap. Survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories they have achieved over cancer. The survivors were using dark purple t-shirts and a banner which read: “We are the survivors. Your reason for relay.”

At 8:00 p.m. start the Luminaria Ceremony, the participants walked the track lined with luminaria bags in reflection. The Luminaria were a lighted candle inside a paper bag with rocks, which the box have the name of the person that bought it, and the name of the person to whom it was dedicated.

This part of the event was made to remember the ones that had fallen and lost their lives, never giving up, battling cancer.  As the candles were being lit, there were also hot air balloons that symbolized how the light of those loved ones that died fighting cancer, parted away to the sky to remind all the participants and supporters at Relay For Life about their fight.

Each group elevate an air balloon . They symbolized the memories of all the participants and supporters at Relay For Life.

Each group elevate an air balloon . They symbolized the memories of all the participants and supporters at Relay For Life.

At that moment is also taking place the Caregivers Ceremony. These individuals give their time, love, and support to friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers who face cancer. These Caregivers are identified this year with a plastic transparent medal.

“The caregivers are people near cancer patients; we advise, help, care and motivate them.” said Ana ‘Annie’ M. Sebastian, who has been a caregiver for the last three years. “I had been in contact with the woman I care and she has been active and she even forgets about her disease.” express ‘Annie’ referring to the optimist attitude and the good time she has with her patient.

Agnes Fenollal, a breast cancer survivor, gave words of inspiration to fellow kinsmen for their battles which also served as motivation to others that once were in the same situation. “My battle against cancer has been an intense one, full of doubts and questions. I was very scared because I did not know what to expect, which became to be an uncertain future. In the end, my motivation in life has been and always will be my kids, besides God, in whom I trust and believe in. I have faith and trust that God has a purpose for everything, everything is about having a positive and hopeful attitude and living every day to the max.”

“At Relay, you can find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease” express the official Relay For Life website.. Also, you can gather together with friends, family, and colleagues to laugh, cry, and create lasting memories. Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone’s life.

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