Student’s work in Mexico turns into the summer of a lifetime
Last summer I participated in the global community service program, Amigos de las Americas. After training for 10 months, I traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico where I worked as a catalyst of cultural understanding for six weeks in the rural community of El Nacimiento. I taught a summer camp to ages 4 to 14 that focused on nutrition and general health. I also worked with community members to design and implement the construction of a mural that faced the town’s health center.
Every day in El Nacimiento brought a new beginning, new challenge, and new view of life. I watched the rain fall at the exact same time everyday, walked barefoot on a dry beaten road, was attacked and stung by a scorpion five times, ate more than seven tacos in one sitting, played soccer eight days a week, received complimentary dance lessons from my host sister, drank more coffee in six weeks than I ever have in my entire life, effectively crammed 120 children into a tiny school room for five days a week, spoke a language I couldn’t understand less than a year ago, watched corn grow from seedlings to above my head, discussed immigration laws with my host uncle, played countless games of “Ve a pescar” and “Velocidad” while eating cucumbers with chile and lime, watched my brothers and sisters walk along the irrigation trench with ease as I stumbled far behind and ultimately fell in, and formed life-long relationships with people who have changed my life by simply expressing a love untainted by race.
I never expected to experience so many big changes in my life caused by so many little things. I learned to never say, “I love you” without meaning it; I learned the importance of surrounding myself with people who care enough to sit down with a warm cup of sopa de arroz to discuss religion, relationships, and the meaning of family; I learned to never hold back because I felt shy or apprehensive just because nobody was going to follow or support me; and I learned to never say “never.”
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