Published November 19, 2013
Volume 21, Number 11

Pleasanton Tulancingo Sister City Association Focuses on Cultural Exchanges, Fiestas, and Good Works

The annual calendar of the Pleasanton Tulancingo Sister City Association (PTSCA) is full of activity. Right now, club members are preparing their float for the Hometown Holiday Parade rehearsing for the Posada, a Christmas party for local children; and gearing up for the next round of student applications for the summer Youth Ambassador Exchange.

In April the club will send a delegation of Pleasanton residents to the Mexican city, which lies about 75 miles northeast of the country’s capital, in the state of Hidalgo. At an elevation of 7,156 feet, Tulancingo is sited in the midst of a region rich in history. Highlights range from the ancient: settlements that trace back to 656 BCE, cave paintings, and the Huapalcalco pyramid in the nearby cliffs; to the more contemporary:  battles during the 19th century Mexican War of Independence and an emperor’s residence occupied by both Agustín de Iturbide and France’s Maximilian I.

Today, the Tulancingo metropolitan area is home to a population of approximately 130,000, about 100,000 of whom live within city limits. Over the 30 years of the Sister City association, hundreds of those residents have made the 2,300 mile journey to Pleasanton for the reciprocal side of the visitation program.

In September, celebrating the milestone anniversary of the exchange, the club hosted a 38-member delegation from Tulancingo. The visitors enjoyed an array of activities typical of American daily life and traditions, from tours of local businesses, the police department, and the school district’s Spanish-immersion programs to an antique car exhibit and a Western night hoedown in Livermore. They also had the chance to stop in at Main Street Brewery for a taste of El Santo, a new beer named in honor of a Tulancingo native son who became the country’s most famous “luchalibre” wrestler.

Another example of the intermingling of cultures is the Posada, which this year is slated for Sunday evening, December 15, in the Veterans Memorial Building at 301 Main Street. The classic Latin American festival is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s quest for lodging, with elementary schoolchildren taking on the acting roles while veteran Youth Ambassadors deliver the narrative. Free and open to the community, the dramatization will be followed by games, carols, and delectable Mexican desserts, “just as they do in Tulancingo,” says PTSCA President Rita Galvin.

Perhaps the most transformational activity of the club is the Youth Exchange, which sends half a dozen students from each locale to live with families for a month in the partnering city, to Pleasanton in June and to Tulancingo in July. As the club’s Youth Director for five years, Galvin witnessed several times over the life-changing impact of the experience, starting with her daughter’s participation in the program.

“The parents take wonderful care of the kids on both sides. It’s a great way to learn about a different country, and the bonding between families often lasts forever,” she comments.

The PTSCA also sponsors Pleasanton’s Cinco de Mayo celebration and participates in Fourth of July activities. The annual fundraising auction in August is always a festive event. On the service side, it has partnerships with local organizations that pitch in to support various community needs in Tulancingo. For more information, visit www.ptsca.org.


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