Archives - ‘Mexico’

Fin de stage et retour

January 22, 2010 | Vincent, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, stagiaire, PorFin (Porvenir Financiero)

Après près de 4 mois de stage durant lesquels j’ai littéralement silloné le Mexique, le 21 décembre dernier j’ai pris l’avion de retour pour le Canada.

Mon expérience avec mon organisme hôte PorFin a dépassé de loin mes attentes. Durant ces derniers mois, j’ai eu l’occasion de visiter et séjourner au sein de 5 coopératives de petits producteurs de café éparpillées à travers le pays (Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas). Au cours de ces séjours, j’ai analysé l’évolution financière de ces organisations et identifié différents facteurs de succès. J’ai également étudié le thème de l’accès au financement et en suis venu à des conclusions plutôt surprenantes, compte tenu de mes hypothèses originales et de celles de mon organisme hôte, PorFin. En effet, j’en suis venu à la conclusion qu’il existe bel et bien une offre en financement rural dynamique au Mexique - développée grâce à de généreux programmes gouvernementaux et réformes bancaires au cours des dernières années - mais que beaucoup d’associations de petits producteurs en sont malheureusement toujours exclus. Les facteurs les plus souvent à blâmer: manque de formalisation financière (états financiers déficients etc.), manque de garanties et historique de crédit négatif. Ce dernier facteur a en effet particulièrement dévastateur sur 2 des coopératives étudiées, particulièrement suite la crise du secteur café en 2001-2002.

Au-delà de mes études de cas, mes séjours au sein de ces coopératives m’ont permis de rencontrer des gens tout à fait hors de l’ordinaire : d’anciens révolutionnaires zapatistes, des pionniers du commerce équitable etc. J’ai aussi développé une nouvelle appréciation pour le développement du secteur rural, au coeur des discussions sur la sécurité alimentaire, la lutte contre la pauvreté et contre les changements climatiques. Mon expérience au sein de ces coopératives - toutes certifiées équitables - a aussi renouvelé ma passion pour le commerce équitable et rappelé l’importance et l’impact de la consommation responsable sur les pays producteurs.

C’est donc la tête pleine de souvenirs et de ces réflexions que j’ai pris l’avion pour revenir au Canada le 21 décembre dernier. Mon retour au Canada aura cependant été de courte durée - déjà depuis le début du mois janvier, je suis de retour au Mexique pour ma recherche terrain de thèse. De plus, j’ai également reçu une offre d’emploi post-maîtrise d’une des organisations associées à PorFin. Ainsi, dès avril et mai, j’aurai l’opportunité de m’installer pour 2 ans ici au Mexique et à continuer à oeuvrer dans le secteur café en tant que directeur d’un projet rejoignant 19 groupes de petits producteurs au Mexique, Guatemala, El Salvador et Nicaragua. Sans le savoir, mon stage aura donc eu un impact significatif sur mes plans futurs…

Sur ce, meilleures salutations du Mexique!

Fin de la première semaine de travail

September 14, 2009 | Vincent, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, stagiaire, PorFin (Porvenir Financiero)

Je termine ma première semaine « normale » de travail – partagée entre San Cristobal de Las Casas et la ville de México! Je suis actuellement en préparation de ma première visite au sein d’une coopérative de producteurs agricoles, la semaine prochaine.

J’en profite pour écrire quelques lignes sur mon organisation hôte, Porvenir Financiero (PorFin). PorFin a été créé il y a quelques années dans le cadre d’un projet financé par la Banque Interaméricaine de Développement (BID). Son objectif est d’appuyer les coopératives de producteurs agricoles en Amérique centrale à professionnaliser leur gestion financière et ce, par le biais de formations, d’ateliers, de « coaching ». Le but de PorFin est d’aider ces organisations de petits producteurs à mieux gérer leurs finances et à accéder à davantage de financement.

En raison du grand terrain à couvrir (Mexique, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador) PorFin dispose de plusieurs bureaux dans chaque pays et d’une équipe assez importante. Par coïncidence, l’équipe mexicaine au grand complet était présente lors de ma première journée au bureau (voir photo ci-dessous). L’équipe pays compte 7-8 collaborateurs (tout dépendant si on m’inclut!). Une équipe bien multiculturelle incluant 2 catalans, un italien et quatre mexicains.

Le siège de PorFin au Mexique est à San Cristobal de Las Casas, une ville au passé colonial d’à peu près 150,000 habitants située dans les hautes terres de l’état du Chiapas. La ville se distingue d’autres régions ou municipalités du Mexique par sa forte concentration de population indigène – à l’origine du soulèvement zapatiste de 1994. San Cristobal de Las Casas est aussi un arrêt touristique obligatoire au Chiapas : plusieurs sites mayas (Ocosingo, Palenque) sont à courte distance. De plus, le charme de la ville ne se dément pas : les ruelles étroites sont bordées par des maisons coloniales et églises. Le climat est aussi assez agréable : croyez-le ou non, il fait plus frais ici qu’au Canada à ce temps-ci de l’année (en raison de l’altitude). J’ai quand même de la chance de pouvoir passer une partie de mon stage dans un tel décor.

J’écris davantage une fois sur le terrain, dans les bureaux de la coopérative.

Felices fiestas patrias!

September 14, 2009 | Vincent, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, stagiaire, PorFin (Porvenir Financiero)

Petit mot sur une fête très importante qui aura lieu ici la semaine prochaine (qui veut dire deux jours de congé forcé pour moi) : la fiesta patria, la fête nationale du Mexique, les 15 et 16 septembre. Au Canada, on a souvent tendance à penser que le Cinco de Mayo (5 mai) est la fête nationale des Mexicains… Alors qu’en fait, cette date est plutôt une fête régionale dans la région de Puebla qui, pour une raison ou une autre, est devenue la fête nationale des Mexicains et autres latinos au Canada et aux États-Unis.

La fiesta patria est difficile à manquer : à tous les coins de rue, on vend des drapeaux mexicains ces temps-ci (voir photo ci-dessous). Ceux-ci sont partout : dans les fenêtres, sur les voitures… On célèbre ainsi le fameux cri de l’indépendance du village de Dolores (grito de Dolores) proclamé par Miguel Hidalgo, un des héros révolutionnaires mexicains – cri qui est reconstitué à chaque année par le président du pays au cœur du Zocalo (place centrale) de México…

Sur ce, felices fiestas patrias!

Mexico, Mexico…

September 8, 2009 | Vincent, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, stagiaire, PorFin (Porvenir Financiero)

Saludos desde San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico!

Pour ma première contribution à ce blogue, j’en profite pour me présenter: Vincent Lagacé, je suis étudiant au deuxième cycle du programme Développement International et Mondialisation à l’Université d’Ottawa. Au cours des quatre prochains mois, j’aurai l’opportunité d’effectuer un stage avec l’organisation mexicaine Porvenir Financiero (PorFin) (eporfin.rootcapital.org/) – une organisation dédiée au renforcement de la gestion financière des coopératives de petits producteurs agricoles en Amérique centrale. Dans le cadre de mon stage, j’aurai l’occasion d’appuyer leurs activités au Mexique, tout particulièrement celles ayant trait au rapprochement entre institutions financières locales et coopératives de petits producteurs agricoles dans le sud-est mexicain.

Mon horaire est déjà très chargé, ce sera tout un mandat! Objectifs ambitieux, nouveau contexte, environnement et langue (tous mes rapports et communications doivent être en espagnol!)… L’expérience cependant en vaudra largement la peine et j’aurai l’opportunité non seulement de faire une contribution concrète à un projet de développement en cours mais aussi de sortir des sentiers battus et explorer le Mexique rural et agricole.

J’espère pouvoir utiliser ce blogue pour partager quelques unes de mes aventures et expériences ici au Mexique avec vous au cours des prochains mois. J’aimerais le plus possible faire en sorte que ce blogue ne soit pas un monologue – n’hésitez pas à me faire parvenir vos commentaires ou questions.

Hasta luego!

Speechless, yet too many things to share!

March 26, 2009 | Mélissa, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, Intern, Centro Comunitario Roberto Alonso Espinosa

Amazed, fascinated, enchanted, awed, I would even go as far as saying in love… Yes, that would be how I feel about this beautiful country. I have been told quite a few times that I had to be a Latina in my previous life, well I agree! I feel at home, Latin America is.

Way too often, we tend to only pay attention to what we hear and see in the news. Of course, I am not denying the violence that is caused by the war of the drugs that is going on in other states, but, this has got to be one of the most charming countries, because of its scenery, its fulfilled history, its culture, its architecture, its tradition but more importantly its people. The kindness of the people, the simplicity and joy of the children… no needs to say more, it says it all. Every day I am amazed by the truthfulness and authenticity of these children.

As much as sometimes the children just do not want to listen, I cannot be angry with them, after all, they are children and they are full of life (and they are just too fun and funny!)! They do go to school in the morning and early afternoon and not all children come to the center afterwards to do their homework and do different activities in math or sciences for example. So, really, I cannot blame them for being talkative and wanting to play, they do quite a bit of work (more than other children here)! But unfortunately, not all of them have the chance to come, because it is so worth it: it really helps the children. One particular student, I remember from when I started, she also just had started. She was very shy, very closed and to herself. A month later, she now reads in front of the group, plays with the others, have friends and talks to others sometimes during my class (this, to me, is just awesome)! She always comes to tell me words she knows in English and asks for more. She’s a great kid just like the others. I could share other observations, but we’d be here for a while!

Thus, I want to share with you three experiences I had this weekend. On Friday night, I went with a friend to a show done by children to celebrate the arrival of spring. Her child is five and she was in the show. It was a first for me as this kind of show, I had only seen in movies (or so it seems, of course at my elementary school we did shows, sang, dressed up, but it wasn’t the same). You know, the type of movie that children will make a show at school, all dressed up in animals, trees, flowers, etc? You know what I mean? Well, that’s what we watched and it was quite fun. There were different groups, dancing and lip singing to songs. A song with many cute little sheeps singing and dancing to a song… another one was flowers and little ducks… another one, white rabbits jumping around… and on and on. I enjoyed quite a bit!

On Saturday was the wedding of a girl at work and I had the chance to be invited. I mean, who would not want to assist to a Mexican wedding? Really? The ceremony at the church was quite similar to what we have, due to the same religion (ie. Catholic). They did put a rosary around the newly weds at the church and had the parents sitting next to them (which I haven’t seen before). Another interesting fact is that when it is time for the communion, only a handful of people actually do go to the communion. I was explained later that it is because the people believe that they can only accept the communion if they confessed before hand. I don’t think I need to tell you that religion takes a very important place in the Mexicans’ lives.

At the end of the ceremony, they gave us little bells and rice to throw at the couple. We were told that after all we were not allowed to throw it as it would make a mess… I think some did not get the memo because they threw it anyway. (By the way, if you ever get to throw rice, don’t throw it like a baseball, it really hurts. I speak by experience.) We then headed to the reception. I have to mention that this wedding would be in the middle class range (more towards higher class than lower). It was in a beautiful reception room which welcomed about 300 people (my rough estimation). The tables were beautifully done, with chandeliers with flowers, napkins with their initials, tequila shooters (presents for the invitees) and candies. The colour theme was burgundy and white. I won’t describe everything, because again, we’d be here for awhile.

But, I had my first live Mariachis experience. There were 9 of them, singing and playing music away. How amazing. I added to my list of things to buy: a cd of mariachis. The newly husband also sang to his newly wife. The food (chipotle cream, bread, spaghetti, rolled up meat with spinach and cheese, salad) was amazing, but by far the best thing had to be the cake. Imagine a light yet fresh and sumptuous piece of pineapple cake with just enough icing, not too sweet, just perfect. A piece of melting heaven in your mouth (I have to say that I had been craving cake since I have been here). We then danced the night away… A friend from work showed me a few dance steps (he takes dancing classes), so it was really fun. It is the kind of dance that you just do not want the song to end. So, the night ended really well with a mission to take classes when I get back to Ottawa.

On Sunday morning (March 22nd – World Water Day), we woke up with another kind of mission: to explore the waterfalls of Quetzalapan (about 15-20 minutes of drive outside of Zacatlan by bus, plus another 20 minutes of walking this time). It was a beautiful, sunny, warm but with a nice breeze kind of day (ie. Perfect). When arriving on site, a huge trampoline is on your right (only for children up to 8 years old, I was not happy) and facing you is a beautiful stream. Walking through, reminded me of Central Park in New York City (minus the little palm trees)…

A bridge made of rocks crosses over the stream. People are sitting on rocks, letting their feet enjoy the water. And then, comes the fun part. To see the waterfalls, you must go down stairs (I wanted to ask how many steps there were, but I forgot). Let’s just say that there were lots. On the way down, a man going back up said to us out of breath: “If you think going down is something, wait until you have to come back up!” After laughing jaune, we continued down to arrive to the old mill that used to produce electricity for the town. And then, there were no more stairs. All there were were rocks and a yellow rope to hold on to (a lady was in high hills, I am not sure how she managed). You go down a bit more, you start hearing the water, and you continue a bit more and then, out of nowhere appear to your left the beautiful waterfalls. My reaction was to literally drop my jaw open. I am not sure what I was expecting, of course waterfalls… but I was expecting something smaller I think. They are not the Iguazu or Niagara Falls, but they are definitely worth the detour. Sitting there on a rock, with the sun warming you up while the water drops of the waterfalls are cooling you down, was one of the most relaxing things I have ever done. The sound of the water, the trees, the nature, aw, that is what nature is all about. There was no other perfect way to spend this beautiful day of water. Then, came the time to turn back up… not the most fun part, but we managed! Plus, it was lunch time (about 2pm) and quesadillas and a big bottle of water were waiting for us on top!

I hope, that with what I have just shared with you, I have convinced you even just a little bit about how amazing the Mexican culture, the people, the nature is beautiful and worth seeing and living. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still not very conscious of the environment, as can witness the side of the roads. But, fortunately, it is becoming more and more popular, and ecotourism does exist.

Celebrating nature and water

March 26, 2009 | Mélissa, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, Intern, Centro Comunitario Roberto Alonso Espinosa

The third week of March is a perfect time to celebrate the nature and its beauty. Not only does it mark the beginning of spring, but it is also (on March 22nd) the World Water Day.

Thus, on Monday, we welcomed the spring with a special gesture. After having a short talk about what signifies spring with the children, each children planted sunflower seeds along the path leading up to the center. Being my favorite flower, I proposed to plant them as they are such a beautiful symbol of the sun, of life and of joy. Unfortunately, I will not be able to see them grow, but I have especially requested pictures to be sent my way when they will be grown. The children definitely enjoyed this activity, especially since it was a beautiful day. To allow them to imagine what their flowers will look like, we had bought the day before grown sunflowers at the market. For some of them, it was their first time seeing and touching a sunflower. Their little lighted up smiling faces were definitely something to see. This gesture will teach them the importance of taking care and loving what surrounds us as they will need to make sure to water their seeds in order for them to grow.

To celebrate the World Water Day, I did a quick research on the internet to find interesting facts about water for the children. By the way, did you know that on average, one North American (yes, that would be us) use 400 liters of water PER DAY? One European uses daily 200 liters… while one person in a developing country uses on a daily basis only 10 liters of water. And this includes, drinking, washing them, cooking… Find the error. There has got something that WE can do to lower our consumption of water… For example, there are still people who water their driveway (find the error again!) and their lawn… Is it really that dramatic if your lawn is not the greenest out there? … Just wondering! Anyway, I am not writing to lecture you… so getting back on track, with the facts I found on the net, I made two posters for the children and for whoever else took the time to read them. Thus, on Tuesday, during my class time, instead of doing the usual English class, I talked to the children about the importance of taking care of the water. I also separated the class in accordance to different percentages that were found such as 1 out of 5 children do not have access to safe water. This exercise hopefully made them realize the importance that water has. I also asked them to write, on a piece of paper shaped as a water drop that I cut, what water signifies to them. These water drops were added on a third poster to finish up the World Water Day series. Hopefully, the years coming up, they will be able to use the posters and maybe add to them. The children seemed to enjoy this activity… Only the future will tell if they learned something.

And to finish up this post, whoever said that recycling was not cool has not seen my new purse I just found, here in Zacatlan. Check it out…

Yes, it is a purse made out of bags of chips.

Kermes, un dia de juegos, sonrisas y comida!

March 17, 2009 | Mélissa, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, Intern, Centro Comunitario Roberto Alonso Espinosa

What a day…. A day fulfilled with laughs, tasty food, games, children, parents and friends!

That is how I can best described the Kermes that was held at the community center on March 15th! It was held from 10am until 5pm. What a success it was! And thankfully, the day was so beautiful and hot!

The goal of the Kermes is to fundraise money for the center, while entertaining and offering a day of fun for all. (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermés) The way it works is fairly simple but requires a whole lot of organization prior to the event.

Different teams were in charge of different things. For example, there was a team (parents and an employee from the center) in charge of making and selling quesadillas, another in charge of the tacos dorados, another in charge of the beverage, etc.

Some educators were in charge of the games such as bowling, bingo, etc. I helped out where it was needed… sometimes at the bowling game, sometimes at painting children’s faces (I discovered some new talents that need to be worked on! But I’m a pro at painting a face of Spiderman haha), sometimes at tiro del blanco. When someone wanted to play a game or take part in an activity, they had to pay (usually 5 pesos) and if they succeeded what had to be done, they received a prize (usually toys and books for children). Otherwise, they had a consolation prize (usually candies or smaller toys).

This is a great event and a great way to get the community together and for people to discover the community center, its beautiful buildings, its educators and what it does for the children. Many of the children who come to the center came and participated whether it was at a soccer game or just to eat the delicious food! I must say that my favorite had to be the quesadilla although the tlacoyos (again) were not far! I didn’t get to try everything, there was just way too much food!

This event, that takes places once a year, as previously mentioned is a great way to get parents and people from the community involved. This was a great demonstration of local collaboration and what can people, who come together, can do! The ultimate goal was to raise 10 000 pesos, and over 11 000 pesos were actually raised! This money will be of great utility to the center. Reflecting on what is entitled of international development, this was yet another great example of how local (grassroots) people can make a difference, with perhaps a little bit of help from the outside! When people have the resources, they can do a whole lot!

Mélissa

Spider, churro, English, English, English and more English

March 8, 2009 | Mélissa, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, Intern, Centro Comunitario Roberto Alonso Espinosa

So this week can basically be summarized with the words in the subject line.

I started teaching English to the children this Monday. It’s great to be able to teach them every day, but can I say that 30 minutes fly by, especially with children! By the time that they all have arrived, found a seat, sat down, it is already 4:10pm. And then, I have to make them be silent! That’s quite the challenge in itself! So the other educators have been helping me hurry the children to settle and to be quiet. I actually had to enforce discipline quite a bit as some would speak or disrupt others…. I even had to take one student out of the classroom. I made him sit outside with his chair for 5-10 minutes and then asked him back in only if he were not to talk! I didn’t want him to miss out on the entire class but wanted him to learn a lesson. I think it worked. We’ll see next week! I have so much admiration for teachers who do this every day, for more than 30 minutes!!!

So far, I have taught the children questions/phrases such as “How are you”, “Fine, so so, very good”, “How do you say ___ in English”, “What is your name”, “My name is”, “Quiet”, “May I go to the bathroom”, “Thank you”, “Good afternoon/morning/evening/night”, “teacher”, “I don’t understand”, “Please speak more slowly”, the alphabet and we started the numbers on Friday. It is actually going quite well and I can tell the children are catching on. Like it is often said, children are like sponges, they can absorb a lot of information and considerably fast! If anyone has any experience teaching English as second language to children, any advices/suggestions are welcome!! I want to teach and help them as much as I can before I go!! It is so much fun and satisfying seeing them learn and ask how you are in English!

I woke up on Wednesday morning with this pain (it felt like a really bad sunburn that I had scratched by accident) on my ear… Turns out that it was a spider that had bitten me. At least it wasn’t in my face or my eye! It still hurts and is a bit swollen, but I can proudly say that I have survived (haha!) a spider!

On a short but fun note, Friday after work, I went out with four of the educators I work with and I had for the first time “churros”! It’s a sweet treat that you can get filled in with what you want… strawberry, chocolate, dulce de leche, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churro

Anyway, let’s just say that it made my night!! It was so good, and I must have some again SOON (I can’t believe that a month had passed before I had churros!)! And to make the evening even better, we had argentinean empanadas (made by a real Argentinean). Amazing, reminded me of when I was there!

On this note, I just made myself hungry!

Bon appetit!

Mélissa

A month in Mexico!

March 1, 2009 | Mélissa, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, Intern, Centro Comunitario Roberto Alonso Espinosa

Yesterday marked a full month of me being in Mexico! I repeat myself, but does time ever fly by!!

This week was yet another good one. I even had the chance to teach the children how to play “Ballon chasseur” (not sure of the English translation) and they enjoyed it! We are supposed to teach them a few new games so I was glad to teach something that we used to play at the elementary school ;). I think it got even more their attention because it is from Canada, another country! Plus, I love this game and have been wanting to play it for so long! So, it was quite fun :)

On another note, I have asked my supervisor if I could have a certain amount of time with all the children every day to have an English class (an official time for me to teach so that I can have all the children’s attention). As of right now, I am unable to speak to all the children, and some are more advanced than others so they catch on a bit more. But, in the end, not having a time set with all the children is making the learning and teaching more difficult. So, as of Monday, I will start teaching English classes for 30 minutes every day. It’s not very long, but it is definitely better than nothing! It will also allow me to teach them (all together) basic questions such as “how do you say ____ in English” and “what are you doing”. And having the opportunity to have “official” English classes every day will definitely help them to follow up, review and learn! I will still continue to converse with the children one on one when they are doing their activities. So, in the end I think it will definitely be more productive with doing both (plus creating English material in the morning)!!

A mother has asked if I could also teach an English class to the teenagers… I will check with my supervisor if we can come up with something! I think it would definitely be worth it! I am also taking on officially the classification of the books of the library. I’ll be using the Classification Dewey… and am not sure if I will have enough time to finish up by the time my work term ends!!! But certainly I will do as much as I can!

And, another happy note, I have finally learned how to make homemade tortillas! It is quite a long process but it is not difficult…. although my first tortilla didn’t work (haha!). We made them with a tool to flatten them (not by hand!). Hopefully I will be able to make some when I get back to Ottawa! The typical tortillas are made of corn and they are quite heavy actually. I eat one with my meal and I’m full. But here, the people is so used to eating them that they can eat up to 3-4 tortillas at lunch.

Cheers!
Melissa

¡Los niños.. fuente de vida!

February 23, 2009 | Mélissa, maîtrise en mondialisation et développement internationale, Intern, Centro Comunitario Roberto Alonso Espinosa

Helping and working with children has almost been like a revelation to me. It is actually my first time working with children of this age (approximately from 7 to 12 years old) and you know what? I really enjoy it. I say this because, how many times have I said to whoever wanted to hear that I would not be able to work with children!!! Countless times. This is the proof that you always have to try before saying that you would not be able to. Lesson learned!

Their desire of learning, their curiosity, their energy, their laughs are things that I absolutely love sharing with them every day. I like to think of myself as a child, because quite frankly, 80% of the time, I am! Thus, I have no problem connecting with the children. Whether we are learning to count to 10 or learning the colours. I have to say, that I am most likely learning more than they are! Not because they do not listen or because I don’t teach them, but because they have so many things that they want to tell me about!

Someone said to me at some point: “The ambience of the center must be sad because you work with children who live in rural areas, who do not really have money.” And I replied: “In fact, it is one of the most joyful places I have been lucky enough to experience.” Not only the bright coloured walls, but most importantly the smiles and laughs of the children and of the teachers make this place joyful.

It is true; the children come to the center with smiles on their faces. Of course, some are more fortunate than others (and we all have our “grumpy” days) but there is no doubt that having the chance to come to the center every day after school is very enriching for them. It is such a positive learning atmosphere. There is a doctor and a nurse on site who work at the center. The children had a chance to have a talk about our five senses on Friday so that they know how to take care of them.

The children absolutely fascinate me. I will be honest: there have been moments that I just wanted to cry because a child is having trouble (either behaviour problems or anything else) and most of it may be because of their lack of money or support. It is not always easy, especially since I am quite the emotional one! Nonetheless, every day I am at the center, I do not see the time fly by, especially when the children are there. Their eagerness to learn more, to socialise and to spend their energy is incredible. They have this way of focusing on positive things (whether it is intentional or just natural to them…)

The teachers also fascinate me. Their passion for the children, the hard work they accomplish every day so that the children develop themselves the best way they can…
That is quite an honourable profession. The teachers have received training to be able to teach the children the Montessori method (Google for more info!) A lot of the teachers have their own child to raise but they still want to help raising other children so that they all can have the same opportunities (The slogan of the project is: “Porque todos merecen las mismas oportunidades” My own translation: “Because we all deserve the same opportunities”).

I am very far of considering myself as an expert in the domain of children. But this experience has definitely given me the thrive, the desire to do more and to learn more.

As I have previously mentioned, some children have a little base of English while others do not have any (or do not appear to have any). Thankfully, almost all of the children have come around and are no longer shy to try to speak English with me. I am teaching the children now to say “good afternoon” and to greet with “how are you? I am fine/so so/etc.” So, the next day when they do say “good afternoon teacher Melissa”, it makes my day! I cannot wait to see what we will be able to accomplish by the end of my volunteer term. And every morning, while the children are at school, I either search for activities to teach English as a second language or create English material for the children (I have never cut so many paper and coloured paper!). No doubt that it is worth it.

I don’t think I have given the website link to the project that I am working in, so if you want to see more, check out: www.proyectoroberto.com.mx (I believe it is only in Spanish). Presently, there are two community centers; one is located in Lomas de Chamontoya (México City) and the other in Zacatlan de las Manzanas (Puebla) where I am.

Besos,
Mélissa