Sunday, July 26, 2009


One of my favorite parts of the trip was going along with the social work people. (Every day there was a schedule that outlined what we would be doing and had spots available to sign up to go along with the professionals. There was physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, and special ed.) We went and visited a variety of people and places that really gave me a different perspective on Mexico, the people, and was very humbling. First we visited a kindergarten school that has a breakfast/lunch program to make sure the kids have nutritious meals every day. (They gave us tacos here, wherever we go the people always want to feed us or give us drinks. They are all so generous!) Then we went to a place where the old people hang out, like a senior citizen center. One of the most eye opening things was going to a brickyard. Here people live and make bricks. The conditions they live in are appalling. They were literally piles of garbage. For a living the people would make bricks out of mud to sell, and also collected garbage off the street. The lady we went to talk to had had a couple of kids in drug rehab, there’s lots of problems with drugs and alcohol here. After this we went to a house where the lady was going to have her grandkids taken from her because of the living conditions. The last place we went was to the jail, it was quite intense! There were only around 30 people there, but we went right inside and even went in one of the cells. We were able to talk to the only woman there, it was very sad to here her story. As we were leaving the inmates gave us 2 of these basket/vase things they make out of folded paper that they give to their families to sale. Being in the jail was a little creepy but very interesting.


In the morning we painted more at El Fuerte. The kids were in school, and at their lunch break they all came out and wanted us to play soccer and jumprope with them. I had fun doing jumprope, they’re really good! I had a cool experience too. I was sweeping the big basketball court, when a lady and her daughter came and started sweeping too. Pretty soon there were a bunch of young men who had come to help shovel off all the dirt too. It was neat to see that our example of service inspires others to help in their own communities. Even though we can’t change all the worlds problems at once, and sometimes it seems like the little things we accomplished in two weeks don’t have a very big effect, when we perform small acts of service such as painting or cleaning we never know the effect it will have on other peoples attitude and outlook of life and service. In the afternoon I went with Lorena, the nurse, and some other kids to do health presentations in a rural town. While they did health presentations on hygiene and nutrition and exercise, I played with the kids. Afterwards the moms all got a hygiene kit.


This is when the real work started. In the morning we went to the school in El Fuerte. The rest of the week would follow the same schedule, El Fuerte in the morning to do work projects, and Jamay in the afternoon. In El Fuerte we put this plaster/paint stuff over all the building. A new roof was also put up over the lunchroom area. In the afternoon we painted a playground in Jamay and cleaned up the grounds. The kids are so adorable, they always come up and talk, but I only know a few phrases in Spanish.
The picture of the lizard is one that crawled onto me!

Sunday June 21

I went to and LDS branch with probably 12 other people. We ended up getting to the church an hour early, so we had our Sunday school lesson in english before Sacrament meeting. I had the opportunity to play the piano for this, then they asked me if I could play for Sacrament meeting too, and Bonnie lead the music. I was glad for the chance to be able to play the piano for these people who I don’t think normally sing with a piano. They sure can sing!! It was an amazing experience to hear these people sing their testimonies so strongly in a language I don’t even understand, but you could feel the spirit. The rest of the meeting I couldn’t understand, but the structure was familiar to me, and it’s nice to know the church is true wherever you are. They even had 5 confirmations done during the meeting!
Later we went to a HUGE market, they had absolutely everything you could ever imagine! What’s funny is that they sale american clothing brands, many at a much lower price. Some are fakes, and some are the real things. I saw a pair of Old Navy flip flops, the real things. They were the 2 for $5 kind, but were $10 each! I would never pay that much!
That evening we went to another party for us hosted by the Rotarians, but their families were there too. It was really fun, there was a big covered pavilion, basketball court and soccer field. The people there really are just the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Saturday (June 20)

Today we went on a tour of two tequila factories. Yep, I experienced one of the most important things important to the Mexican culture. First, we went to a factory that showed the “old way” of making tequila, they had horses that smooshed up the agave plant. It smelled quite horrible in the factory. They gave samples (ages 21 and older!) and cute little bottles of tequila and hats. I got a tequila hat. Then, we went to another factory. It was quite something! The factory and grounds were so beautiful, there were even stained glass windows in the factory. The owner who gave us the tour was so nice, there were 2 different bars where they gave us drinks and appetizer things. After this we went to a very nice restaurant for lunch. Most of the restaurants are not fully enclosed, this one had beautiful gardens.


We painted a playground at a school in La Primavera (I think?). There’s an elementary school for kids with disabilities, and another school next door. It was our first day of painting, and everyone was pretty excited- no one realized we would be painting every day for the next 10 days! We also painted trees, they do this to keep off the bugs. At night we went to a welcoming party hosted by the Rotarians. The Rotarians are just the nicest people ever, and they are so grateful for everything we give them but they give so much to us too!

Good night sleep tight.....

Don’t let the bedbugs bite!- Literally. There were bedbugs in a couple of the peoples beds. Pesky little things. Speaking of bugs, there’s lots of bugs in Mexico. One day we were cleaning up the floor of a church we had painted. There was cardboard that was on the floor. I picked it up to move it, and this HUGE spider ran out. It was the biggest spider I’ve seen in real life. Just it’s body was probably an inch long, with these long legs. I know, there’s bigger spiders than that other places, but I’ve never been so close to one! It was absolutely disgusting and scary. There was crickets all over the place. Those are just gross. Another time I was sitting on the stairs of the big church in the plaza when a guy pointed to something on me. It was a cockroach!!!!! I’ve never seen a real live one until then. Luckily, it was only about an inch long

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Only in Mexico

Actually, I’m sure some of these things occur other places, but they were sure things I had never seen before.
- They put sliced up hotdogs on pizza and in scrambled eggs.
- Driving down some streets there were dogs just sitting on the roofs!
- I not sure there’s even speed limits there. It’s a nightmare driving there, let alone trying to cross some streets! Cars seem to follow no patterns. I still have no idea how they know which streets are one way and which ones aren’t. Some of the streets were pretty narrow, and with cars on both sides I wasn’t sure our bus would make it through!
- One of the days were doing social work stuff and so we were being driven by this lady in a big polygarig van. She stopped in front of a building to run in to go to the bathroom. We were just parked in the middle of the street, when a big dump truck came up. There was no way for him to get around, so both cars just stayed there until the lady came back and moved. It was just funny to be parked right in the middle of the rode. That wasn’t the only time she just stopped in the road!
- Most of the stop lights were hung horizontally instead of vertically.
- Toilet paper doesn’t go in the toilet. I figured this one out the first day.
- Another thing about driving- The cars pass each other all the time, often with 2 cars driving parallel in one lane with a 3rd right behind.
- Lots of the trees, especially in the Plaza, were cut into square shapes. It looked cool.

Flying to Guadalajara

On thursday June 18 we flew from Salt Lake City to Guadalajara, Mexico. It was about a 4 hour plane ride. When we got there we got onto the Amigo Bus (that's really what it's called), a big yellow school bus, and drove an hour to Ocotlan.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting ready to leave...

This week a group of about 30 people will fly to Guadalajara, Mexico to spend almost two weeks doing humanitarian work. These people are comprised of the team leaders, mentors, professionals, and college and high school students. There are people from a vary wide range of backgrounds. Since November 08 the Mexico 2009 team has been getting ready for this trip! While there we are going to be doing physical therapy work, social work, construction projects, and microenterprise. Woohoo!