Sunday, June 17, 2007

In Mexico for the summer

Hi all, I know its been a while since I've written one of these updates so it is long over due.

Overall I had a really great semester, liked my classes, did meaningful things outside of them, etc. One highlight is that a lot of people are excited about the bicycle-powered laptop workstation that my group spent the semester building in a design lab I took. The campus gym now wants the bike and says they'd love to have more if we will make them.

I'm writing this from the heat of low-lying Huejutla in central Mexico, with a fan gently moving the hot air over my heat-rash speckled body. The original plan was for me to live here with Froy's family for the summer and volunteer at a nearby community clinic. The relevant officials have all been very eager to help me out but suggested that I really out to live within the community. Based on my experience last summer with the appreciation people in Santa Ana
demonstrated because we actually lived in the community, these officials make a good point.

So tomorrow, off I am again to another indigenous community, this time a Mexican one called Tecpaco and it's neighbor Calnali. Tecpaco is the community where Froy is working on his reforestation/agroforestry project and that's where I'll live, and I'll walk daily with the middle school children to the somewhat larger community Calnali and volunteer in the clinic there. I'm excited to get an inside window on what its like to work on the more clinical, medical side of the community health issue to help me decide if I want to be an engineer (and work on things like community water and sanitation systems) or a doctor (and work in community clinics and health promotion and training programs).

The bad news is there is no internet in Tecpaco so i'll be back to the rhythm of once a week access. The good news is that Tecpaco and Calnali are some 800 meters up into the mountains from here so the weather (I am told) is much cooler and more pleasant. And no worries
about the heat rash -- it's getting much better since I got some pills from the doctor and the room I will sleep in tonight has air conditioning. It was funny when I went to the doctor yesterday because he asked how long I (the fair-skinned wisconsin girl) was going to be staying in Mexico. His reaction to my answer that I'm staying for two and a half months was priceless.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll write again sometime once I'm into the swing of things.

All the best,