Is the home of working people -- builders, nannies and waiters
The children in Oak View come from Puebla, Mexico,
On the way to Veracruz, beneath a big volcano
They brought Christmas traditions we don't have in the States,
Like posadas and pozole and tamale-filled plates
So this year the Independent felt it would be only fair,
To head into Oak View, and find stories to share.
We hope you enjoy and learn something new,
See you next week, and Merry Christmas too.
There are essentially two Oak Views.
There's the calm, quiet Oak View during school hours when most kids are in class. And then there's the daily spectacle of school letting out, when hundreds of kids hit the streets.
No one knows this better than Jose Maldonado, a 27-year-old Oak View native who can't walk anywhere in the neighborhood without being followed by a pack of smiling 8-year-olds. Maldonado works at Ocean View High School, coaches basketball and helps run an after-school program at the community center.
"He watches out for the kids and they really look up to him," said Carissa Santiago, 17.
With about half an hour until the krump dancing begins (more on that later), Maldonado offers to lead a small tour to several shrines to the Virgin de Guadalupe in the neighborhood. Luckily, there's one just a few blocks from the community center, a massive shrine with hundreds of roses and assorted flowers, plus dozens of pictures of the Virgin Mary, whom legend says appeared to a native Mexican man almost 500 years ago.
The Dec. 12 anniversary is celebrated each year in Oak View with a candlelight procession from shrine to shrine. Once participants arrive at a shrine, they say prayers and then form a circle around a group of Aztec dancers, who offer an indigenous performance.
For many days after the procession, residents leave their porch-side shrines intact.
"This is something that comes from my heart and shows my love for her," said resident Magdaleno Garcia.
Longtime Oak View resident Gabriela Garcia said she had been helping construct shrines for nearly three decades and continues to help organize celebrations for Puebla.