This year, I spent the beginning of my summer traveling and experiencing Mexican culture in its purest form for the first time. Having never left the States before, flying to Mexico alone was a very big milestone for me. My parents dropped me off at the airport, and made sure I knew how worried they were for me and promised to pray for me while I was away. I, on the other hand, was very confident in my ability to navigate and seek help when I needed it. Luckily, I made it to the Puebla airport in one piece and with all of my luggage. Our advisor and professor drove us to our hotel late that night, and then I began my eye-opening journey of experiencing Mexico and all that it had to offer.
We had class everyday from 9am to 12pm and studied Mexican history and culture as well as human trafficking. Our studies on human trafficking were the most impactful, but I’ve discussed my thoughts on that in previous blog posts, so I’ll try to keep it brief in this one. When we weren’t in class, we were out exploring the city, meeting new people, practicing our Spanish, and admiring the architectural beauty of Mexico. One of my favorite parts of the program was our many visits to and from inspiring advocates for human rights in the city of Puebla. I’ve always been the type of person who has to write important things down if I ever expect to remember them, and since I am so bad at trying to explain how meaningful this trip was to me, here are the bits and pieces I wrote that I feel could sum up my experiences in Puebla and Mexico City:
“It is easy to teach someone something new. It is much more difficult to change something that is pre-exisiting,” (on the topic of human trafficking issues with law and culture in Puebla)
“Passion is contagious,” – Mariana, the founder of ANTHUS CASA. A program designed to help human trafficking victims regain their freedom and rebuild their lives.
Tropicalize: To learn something from one country, bring it back to a different country, but adapt it to fit the culture and needs of the people.
Faith is bound to Hope, fueled by Anger and Courage, which produces Charity.
“A disease of the heart that could only be cured by gold,” (describing the Spanish colonization of Mexico)
“It is difficult to recognize and understand privilege if you have never been denied of it.”
“If our home governments were run justly, we wouldn’t have to leave them,” (regarding immigration to the US)
“Eventually we will all have nothing, what you give while you can will be all that matters,” (from a migrant shelter in Puebla regarding admittance to the US)
If those thoughts are hard to process, I apologize, however they were the most important words I took home from Mexico. While there, I learned so much about myself and what I value. More than any textbook could ever teach me. I encourage any and everyone who is curious about and issue, a culture, or life to go out and experience it. Talk about it. Learn. Share. It’s the only way we can move forward.