juan-de-los-lagosThe Doing Good Works Gang loves to take an old tradition and re-engineer it.  A good example is the annual Juan de Los Lagos pilgrimage.

For over a 100 years, there has been is a pilgrimage from all over Mexico to the Basilica of the Virgin of San Juan de Los Lagos in the state of Jalisco. Most undertake the pilgrimage to honor a pledge to the Virgin made when a family member fell ill or underwent serious surgery or to ask for an intervention.  The walk from San Miguel is 270 km (168 miles) and lasts nine days.  This year the walk will take place January 24 – February 2, 2009

 There a lot of elements here – good works, Mexican traditions, a spiritual component, physical fitness, group energy and of course travel.  But there are a lot of bad elements too – too far, too many locals, high level of physical fitness, and no Best Westerns on the way.

san-miguel-walk1But  a Doing Good Works Gang – CASA (Centro para los Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende – the organization is dedicated to combat and prevent domestic violence against women and children) has been able to create a unique fund raising version – the Pilgrimage Lite.

First the time frame is shortened from 1 to 3 days.  This way you get a once in a lifetime spiritual event and  the emotional rush of walking with the locals without all the pain of the full walk by foot.

Secondly while the Locals gather at the Train Station and the Jardin,  the Pilgrims Lite will gather at Harry’s for donuts at 6 am.  This will calm many Pilgrims Lite who were afraid they would be the only Expat on the Pilgrimage.    Once safe in the knowledge they are not alone

We will depart at 7:00 am with many other Pilgrims (read non Expat)  and great fanfare and spirit!

Thirdly for the real pilgrims (read three day pilgrim) CASA will provide hot meals, water, and snacks every day and at night tents and sleeping pads.  Martha Stewart sheets and pillow cases will be provide for a small charge.

Fourthly, you will have helped support a good works and be able to tell people about your adventure as a Pilgrim.  At that Thanksgiving you will understand.

Fifthly you can take pictures and have evidence of your struggle as a Pilgrim.

Lastly the Faux Pilgrim (read one day) will only have to walk according to their ability  (one person said “It’s only 4.2 flat miles and 2 – 3 hours“) but you can go up to a maximum of 10 miles (Super Hero distance) and then they will be bussed (sic) and bused back to the Jardin in time for the Chili Cook off.

How much does this cost.  Here is the current price List

One Day Walk    $ 100 US
Be an Angel         $1200 US Sponsor a pilgrim from a rural Mexican community or from CASA
Be a Santo             $ 600 US Sponsor 
Be a Milagro        $ 300 US Sponsor
Be an Amigo       $ What you can…every donation is a stick in the cycle of domestic violence!

Pilgrimage Lite is so much more fun that a full dirty Pilgrimage.