¡Hola! My name is Kelly, and I am a sophomore participating in Boston College´s Arrupe Puebla Program. Our Group arrive in Puebla Cholula on January 5th, and since then, we have had some amazing experiences. We have been working lots on building a classroom in Ina´s backyard, as well as a garden wall and a structure for the waterless toilet on CLI´s land. My back was sore from lots of gravel and dirt shoveling, but it feels good to be sore from some hard work! Recently we have been making tons of ¨copa,¨ which is a mud formed from clay, dirt, hay, and water and is used for the for the base of the floor and walls. After some time, it hardens like a brick. I have had more dirty hands than I had when I was three years old, but it has been a ton of fun. This past weekend, Marina (one of our group mentors) and I stayed with the family of a woman name Obtulia or ¨Lulu¨ living in Tecuanipan. It was an experience different from anything I have ever done. She has a beautiful family, living with her husband Memo, 9 year old daughter Amanda, 3 month old son Ricardo, two sisters, and her mother. The family recent lost Lulu´s father, and it has been an extremely difficult time for them. But they continue to work hard, with lots of farming and other household duties, keeping their dear father in mind. Lulu´s entire family was more hospitable than anyone I have ever met, feeding us all different kinds of traditional meals, such as Tamales and Chilaquiles. We were even taught how to make corn tortillas and Tamales, which are both much harder than Lulu´s mother Gloria made it look– it must be from all those years of practice! I felt like such a part of the family during our short time there, and it is something I will carry with me forever. The group has also learned much from Arturo, Miguel, and Ina about CLI´s mission. We have been given presentations on community solidarity, in which they emphasized that humans are the most important resource and how all different elements, political, ecological, economical, and social, must work together in order for solidarity to be achieved. It is amazing to see how CLI has taken these big words such as solidarity and sustainability and put them into tangible actions. It has been an amazing experience to be a part of their mission, and it will be something that does not end once we head back to Boston. Additionally, we went to the Universidad Iberoamericana in Puebla where we had presentations on immigration and human trafficking, issues that are prevalent all across the Americas. It has made me fear how real human trafficking is and how easy it is for many smart women to fall into this cyclical issue and be stripped of their human dignity. I have also had a much different outlook on immigration since coming here. Every family we have met has relatives in the United States or has even been there themselves, and it is hard to imagine to be faced with the huge pressure of feeling like the only way to escape poverty is to embark on the dangerous immigration to the United States. One family specifically asked Marina if it was worth making the trip, and it is a question the group and I find almost impossible to answer. I was able to see the house of a family who is living in the U.S. but has been able to send back money and afford to build a nice new house in Puebla. On the other hand, we have questioned what is the true measure of success. Is it being able to afford a big house and a flat screen tv, or is it living near all of your relatives and have the family bonds that some of us will never experience? Many of the families we have met in Puebla may not be able to afford televisions, showers, or enough beds for everyone in the family, but the love and bonds they have with each other is richer than most of the possessions I own. Life here is not easy by any means, but the smiling faces I have seen make me have hope that they will all make it. These experiences have led us to continue to reflect and ask more questions. What structures do we live in that create these dynamics between our countries? How are we a part of the solution or the problem?
We look forward to our last few days here.
Kelly BC 2014