Saturday, June 21, 2008
Week Two- Lucy
Noel and Theresa, our Borderlinks guides have dropped us off at the home stay. I'm staying with Viviana. Our host mom, Gloria is awesome. Viv and I are eating vegetarian this week which interesting to me…in that I hardly noticed I wasn’t eating meat. We have two host brothers; one is 17 who we don’t see very much. The other is 5. He’s name is Jesus Miguel and our typical days at the house were spent playing checkers—incorrectly.
My first day with my home stays was filled with children (as was the rest of the week)! It seemed that every street was simply filled with young children playing pick up games of soccer and basketball. Though it certainly wasn’t true, I told one of the children that I was Michael Jordan in basketball. Silly enough, one of the children, Francisco said I was the same height as MJ! However, another child, Jose said that MJ was probably a little bit taller! In case you are wondering, I’m really only 5’7 err 5’8 on a ‘good’ day.
Anyways, this week was spent at the Children’s Camp at the Casa—Borderlinks’ Mexican base. The camp mainly focused on diversity, people and cultures throughout the world. My first station was crafts. Rachel and myself were responsible for passing out coloring sheets, crayons, and glue. We were really surprised when we saw all the children coloring the woman from Kenya as a Caucasian woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. Rachel did a more accurate depiction of a Kenya woman when a boy names Alberto became thoroughly flustered. He kept asking Rachel, “but why is she so dark?” He was so perturbed by the situation that he took Rachel’s picture and showed it to our Supervisor.
However, the most lasting memories were probably those spent with the members of the DE group and the children who became our close friends. Every night reflections were held over coconut paletas. We shared tons of stories with each other about our families, personal backgrounds, and even mistakes we had made. There were more than enough jokes and smiles passed between our selves. Time after camp was spent reflection about our own lives and stories to one another.
Finally, the children who stepped into our lives will never be forgotten. For me, it was my neighbors: Miguel, Andres, Jose, Choakey, Francisco, and Jesus Miguel. (Yea…there were A LOT of kids.) My host mother said that one of the biggest problems in her neighborhood and in Nogales, was the children who were left to fend for themselves because of their parents’ at work in maquiladoras or other forms of unjust labor. Children were still playing in the streets long after Viviana and myself went to be bed. Children at camp were often wearing the yesterday’s clothes or looking as if they had not had enough to eat. Yet through their meager means and my language inadequacy, they taught me something invaluable. Love and friendship prevails over politics, economic plight, and even language barriers. When I woke up on the morning of our departure, I saw all of my young neighbors waiting to say goodbye at 7:30am on a Saturday morning. Love and friendship persist in a place where it would seem so foreign and ill fitting. Nineteen years into this life and I’m realizing that I’m learning more about love and friendship from 7 and 12 year olds than I ever did from my own experiences.