Sunday, March 10, 2013

new beginning

¡Buen día! This is Emily Howard, Assistant Chaplain at the College of Wooster. I've been looking forward to this second trip to Tijuana as a chance to learn more, see more, and serve more in Mexico. It was a long but good day of travel yesterday, and now we are settling into the posada and seeing the sights before starting work this week.

In our first reflection circle yesterday, people shared some of what brought them to this place, and why they've come. Many people in our group have visited for many years (the most being, I think, 9 years in a row! and several past and present long-term volunteers among us). Trinity UCC shares a sense of commitment and particular mission with Esperanza International and this city. I am always impressed by the number of folks who point out houses they worked on years ago, have developed long relationships (even marriages!) thanks to Tijuana, and notice the changes and improvements in the city each time they return. Whether it's the music and the colors and the roosters, the families impacted, the differences and similarities in the way of life - they find something meaningful and unique that brings them back. "Why do you come to Tijuana?" is simple - they feel a connection in their life, in their spirit, with the people and the place, and want to share it with others here and back home.

Students' responses as to why they are here were a little different, as many are here for the first time. Many said they feel the desire and have a commitment to help, serve, and give back to others. They have learned about the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. and want to see the other side in person. Or, they knew another student who came and had a life-changing experience -- so, here we are!

As for me, I know one thing I'm looking for this week is to experience the connection between all people - whatever our language, income, work life, religion, culture. My best memories from last year's trip are those moments of surprising connection at the home sites, at the migrant shelter, the orphanage, even out shopping and at the taco stand. Esperanza says one of its goals is to promote global citizenship (actually, the COW says that too!). What connections do we share with this place? How can we promote a good relationship with our neighbors across the border?

On that note, we'll soon be off to "la playa" where we'll see the wall that separates our two countries, and experience Mexico along the shore. More later! 'Til then, chao/adios. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment