I still can’t believe I’m in Puebla, Mexico… After only two days of being in this beautiful city and learning only a fraction about the way of life for the amazing people who live here, I feel as if a profound change is beginning to take place within me. My perspective, my thought process, the way I feel about things, and my approach to the world around me are each significantly different than they were two days ago. Before I boarded the plane in Denver, I tried to prepare myself for what I might experience here in Puebla. Having never been to Mexico before, I had no way of knowing what to expect. As a result, I was extremely nervous. Even while sitting on the plane, I kept trying to somehow prepare for what lie ahead. Then I looked out the tiny round window next to me and noticed that the earth below, the sky above, and the busy cities in between were completely blocked from my view by the vast clouds of white that had completely surrounded the plane. Seeing this filled me with a certain calmness and enlightened my thinking: If I am to learn the most I can from this experience, then I need to clear my mind; allowing it to be like the view from the plane’s window.
In just these two days, I have learned so much about the social issues that the people of Mexico are facing, and I can’t help but notice just how much they mirror those that exist in the United States: poverty, unemployment, racism, issues with immigration, inadequate public education, political unrest, etc. When I arrived here I quickly noticed that the stereotypes that exist in the United States regarding those from Mexico and the Mexican way of life are horribly inaccurate. Our two countries have much more in common than most people think. I wish each and every person could have the experience of coming here to Mexico and having their global perspective and awareness increased. I wish people could see for themselves what it’s like in this wonderful place, and meet even a few of the incredible people that call this country home. I think it would drastically change the way we view each other. I can’t ignore the fact that we are neighbors, but the kind who only view each other from across the fence or from behind closed blinds. We spend a lot of time talking about each other, but rarely to each other.
In the past two days we’ve met and talked with so many hardworking individuals here in Puebla, who care about their families, their community, and the world they are a part of. From taxi drivers, to Spanish teachers; from university professors to nuns; from fruit and vegetable vendors to those living in a retirement facility. The conversations we have with them, the human connection that exists between use during these conversations, the sharing of thoughts and perspectives – this is powerful! It’s what’s beginning to change the way I am, and it’s what I’m sure would change those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to come here to Mexico and experience this for themselves. If you get the chance to come here to Mexico, don’t pass it up! It will change you.