As in country orientation comes to a close, I suppose it’s time to give an update. We spent a week in Tepoztlan taking Spanish classes in what I’d call small town paradise. We’ve hiked to pyramids, swam in waterfalls, visited many old Catholic churches, stayed with sweet Catholic sisters/nuns, and seen some beautiful vistas. We’ve played games with kids, played soccer with migrants en route via trains to the US, gotten lost on weird muddy back roads (thanks Google maps for pulling through every time), tried out dry toilets, learned about ahead of the curve work with people with differing capacities (special needs), and listened to stories of refugees in DF. We’ve laughed together, cried together, sang 90s songs stacked tight in the van together, and been shocked into silence together.

My 9 other YAGM compañerxs and I visited all the work sites we’ll be spending ours years at throughout the central Mexico region. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this group and program after seeing all the diverse and worthwhile places we’re spending our time at. Here’s a quick rundown of them all by place.

  • Mexico City, aka DF: Grace will be working at a refugee house and a longer term migrant shelter filled with wonderful, welcoming people. Gracia will be at a community youth org and an ecumenical studies center (an org that supports ecumenical relationships in religious, cultural, and political contexts). Mel will be making food at a subsidized community food place, hanging out with elderly women, and working at a women’s domestic violence shelter.

    The Basilica in DF
    The Basilica in DF
  • Tepoztlan: Catherine is working with a community youth organization while Justin is getting down with ecological sanitation systems (dry toilets, purifying rain water, etc.).
    Tepozteco Pyramid
    Tepozteco Pyramid

    My casa mexicana in Tepoz
    My casa mexicana in Tepoz
  • Puebla: Becca is going to do awesome work teaching and working with people of different capacities. And I quote from the director, translated, “The only disability they have is the one society puts on them.” Preach.
  • Cuetzalan: Off in the rolling hills of Central Mexico, Hannah is going to be working with an indigenous town at their library, teaching, reading to the kiddos, learning their indigenous language, and frolicking on her beautiful mountain top.
    The group and our fearless leader, Omar (missing our YAGM mama Lindsay)
    The group and our fearless leader, Omar (missing our YAGM mama Lindsay) at pyramids outside of Cuetzalan
    Waterfall loving.
    Waterfall loving. (Las Brisas)

    Steep hills of Cuetzalan
    Steep hills of Cuetzalan
  • Apizaco: Next to the train route up to the US border, Josh will be working at a temporary migrant shelter. Josh is an incredible fit here with his humor, positive attitude, and servant heart.
  • Tlaxco: Using the dry toilets from Justin’s site, digging in the dirt to keep up the garden, and hiking every Friday, Alyssa will be working with an ecological focused primary school.

    Cooking a delicious meal at the cabanas
    Cooking a delicious meal at the cabanas

Know I’m doing well and enjoying being here. I’m excited to move in to my host family on Tuesday, Mexico’s independence day! It’ll be sad to leave the group, we’ve bonded well these last couple of weeks. But that’s not why we’re here. I hope to bring you stories soon demonstrating how these last couple weeks have been energizing, sobering, hope-filled, educational, and challenging. My ideas about Mexico are already changing.

Peace to you all!

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