Hola from Mexico,
It has been a long time since I have blogged!!! Trina and I are in Mexico as week speak and our schedule is jammed packed with stuff to do. But, we are having a great time. I don't have a lot of time but I wanted to blog. As part of our participation in the "To Mexico with Love Program" we are required to write reflections each week that we are here. Since we don't have much downtime I am going to post part of my first reflection for you all to read. I hope you enjoy hearing about our experiences...
The one experience that stood out to me the most in the first week here was when we went to visit the service sites for the first time. I remembered that in our pre-departure meetings we talked a lot about some of the poverty that we might see here in Mexico. I expected that I would see many people that I would consider less fortunate than I am. Though I grew up in the inner city, and I knew many people that most would consider poor, before I came to Mexico I thought that the kind of poverty I would see in Mexico would be vast and depressing.
Though I knew that the area around Ideal was going to be pretty nice, I was sure that when I went to visit La Lagunilla I would see some of the poverty we talked about in our meetings. But, I was completely surprised at what I saw when we first visited La Lagunilla. Though I expected the people of Mexico to be a lot different from my family and I, when I went to La Lagunilla I was surprised to see how similar the women there were to the women in my family.
The women of La Lagunilla embodied something my mother used to say to me when I was a little girl. Whenever I was upset because I could not get some toy or name brand shoe that my friends had I would say to my mother, “I hate being poor!” My mother would just turn toward me and say, “You will never know what poor is because you have someone people who love you so much.” At the time I did not understand what she was saying, but as I grew up I began to understand how love is a force that can overcome any physical limitations. From the brightly painted walls, to the welcoming smiles of the women, La Lagunilla is a place filled with warmth and love.
When I looked at the women of La Lagunilla for the first time I realized how much the strength of the human spirit is something that transcends culture, race, and economic status. When I listened to the elder of the group tell the history of the colony of La Lagunilla the feeling I felt was not amazement, but pride. She told us how the women had to rally against the government in order to protect their neighborhood and their culture. She also told us how the women came together to build the community center so that they could have a place where they could help one another with, childrearing and professional skills.
Like at La Lagunilla, in my family it is the women who run the show. The women in my family have always shared childrearing responsibilities, and helped each other advance in their careers. I think I felt pride when I heard the story of La Lagunilla because, quite unexpectedly, I felt a connection with these women. Before going to La Lagunilla I saw myself as helping a group of less fortunate people gain access to information and skills that I had. After the first visit to La Lagunilla, I began to see myself as part of their community and see this service opportunity as a chance to exchange ideas and join a cross-cultural community of women.