Sunday, October 3, 2010


I wrote this for a project that someone else is doing, but here is the unedited version (I need to cut it down, but you'll probably run into this again some place else soon)... It's in the general theme of my interests. Well, I'll let you read it and you can see what you think.


This summer I worked in Huixcazdha, Hidalgo, Mexico. It is a village that grew out of a hacienda, and most of the villagers descended from the seven families. I came to teach English and do some development work in a community of 480 people, where most of them work all day long in the fields using farming methods that Americans used during the colonial period. Nearly all of the men from this village had gone to work in the United States for a few years before they returned home with their earnings and built houses for the families they left behind.

I wanted to do something to help, but to be honest, they did more to help me than I could have ever done for them. They are very poor. They have only had electricity for the past 5 years, and clean water is an option once every three days. The families depended on the work of husbands, sons and brothers to feed them each year, but they were happy. They all invited me and the other teachers into their homes and cooked for us. They loaded us with fruit from their gardens when we walked down the cobble stone street by their houses. They offered us places to sit, promises of future meals we could share with them in their houses, and friendship in its purest form. They sent their children to paint murals with me in the public spaces in the village, and soon adults started joining us too, curious to see what we were creating. They came, everyday, to spend 2 hours with us in the dark cement buildings, learning lists of vocabulary that we thought would be useful to them, and repeating the word “thirteen” over and over again.

One day my partner asked them, what do you want to be when you grow up? The kids, all middle school age in this class, stared back at us with blank expressions. The silence was awkward to say the least. Stop. I told her. Stop, I don’t want to hear this answer. But she didn’t. She called on one of the girls, our best student in fact, and she said she didn’t know. A teacher! Of course, Jacqueline will be a teacher! In the tiny school house with the only real teachers in the village. And you? My partner asked one of the boys. Well, what do you think? He replied. Of course I want to be a narco-trafficker. It’s the only way I can make money in this world. And fast too. What could I ever give them to take away this feeling of being trapped and only having this as an option out of their pre-determined paths? I left with a sickening, sinking feeling that day.

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