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Meet Magdalena Copado at the Library

Magadalena Copado

Magadalena Copado

By Karla Ortiz

There is a person behind the House and Garden Tour and the Tour de Haciendas who ensures that these two events are carried out perfectly and that the guests enjoy every minute of the day that has been prepared for them. Magdalena Copado is the organizer of these two projects. Magda opened her door and told us a little about her life and her professional career.

She was born and raised in Mexico City by her mother Samira Korpela, who was originally from Izmir, Turkey. Her father was originally from Arandas, Jalisco. Her parents separated when Magda was seven, and her father died when she was only twelve. Her grandfather, Tarek Korpela, was the first Muslim to create an Islamic Cultural Center in Mexico.

Ever since she was a child she had to help with expenses and, at the age of sixteen, her mother signed a permit to allow her to work so that she could contribute to house expenses and towards her studies. Eventually, she worked for Pemex for fifteen years in the areas of Derechos de Vía and Patrimonio y Mobiliario, but because of a change of government, she lost her job. She was in crisis because she didn’t have any way to support her mother and her own studies. At age 37 she decided to travel to the United States to look for a job so that she could send money home and finish paying for the apartment. She stayed in the United States for 12 years and during her stay there, she met her husband, Mohammad Azimi, who is from Afghanistan.

While in the United States, she and her husband decided to move to Vancouver, Canada. Over time she grew tired of the fast pace of life there, and after five years, they returned to Mexico. “Living in Vancouver, it is very expensive to have a good life, and to pay for all the expenses, you have to have two jobs and you must do volunteer work. I was already very tired and, although I loved Vancouver, I finally decided to return to my country.” She and her husband saved their money and chose San Miguel de Allende as a place for retirement. When Magda lived in Mexico City, she had traveled a lot to San Miguel with her four-year-old daughter to spend the holidays, and she already knew the city.

Her idea at the time was to set up her own business in something that would show the couple’s roots. She still had dreams of starting a café with a completely Middle Eastern style. However, when they arrived, Magda approached the library and they offered her a receptionist position. A couple of months later, she moved to the House & Garden position. The person in this position previously had a job outside of the library, and at that time they were looking for someone to be on staff, who would be totally committed to the tours. For Magda, it was a challenge to start from scratch in this area. She said that when she started the job, everything was upside down. Getting additional homes to show on the tours was her new goal because people were bored with visiting the same houses. One year later the Tour of Haciendas was implemented, and visitors have toured more than 80 haciendas in Guanajuato. The last Friday of each month, La Biblioteca offers a special tour of canteens, crafts, or vineyards. “I’m always looking for what people might like, and, of course, I am always trying to raise funds for the library. What I like the most is that people are happy when they leave, and I can see that they liked the tour.”

Magda’s work consists of organizing the tours, finding new houses and ranches, publicizing the events by taking flyers to restaurants, hotels, and places where she can reach people who might attend the tours, and compiling sales reports. In her free time she likes to organize conferences for people in general or for the library community. She loves becoming more and more involved.

Time is valuable for her. She manages her schedules so that she can accomplish more during the day. After her bath first thing in the morning, she prays and meditates a little. (Magda practices the Muslim religion that she inherited from her mother). She likes to arrive early at work to get ahead of schedule, and when she gets home, she cooks or straightens up her house. Then she prays before going to bed. One of her favorite activities is to read. She spends at least 30 minutes a day before bed to keep up with her reading. She enjoys the literature of the Middle East and is currently reading Lunas de Estambul by Sophie Goldberg.

Although Magda is delighted with everything she does, she says she would like to have a little more time to do other things like frontenis (a ball game). Her greatest pride is her daughter and every achievement that she has is an achievement for Magda. Currently her daughter works at the Mexican Embassy. She travels a lot, which doesn’t allow her to visit her mother often. But that doesn’t stop them from being in touch. Every day they talk for at least five minutes about how their day was going.

“I miss her a lot, but that’s what she likes, and I’m happy if she’s happy. It’s beautiful, as a mom, to see that she’s already flying by herself.”

Magda’s goal at the library is to encourage the dissemination of information so that people are aware of and understand library projects and the fund-raising activities that support education with workshops, courses, and scholarships. “I have noticed that the library is a reference point, not only in Mexico, but internationally. People come to the library because they already know what it offers.” Promoting culture, reading books to children, and taking books to communities are activities that Magda would like to be more involved with in the library.


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