domingo, 4 de junio de 2017

When we know better, we do better

I came across this quote the other day and it could not be more relevant to my life right now.

Coming down to Mexico, knowing the work we would be doing but not knowing how to go about it, was something we needed to be educated on. Our first tour was a good place to start. The format of the tours is very informal. The artisans invite us into their homes and tell us about their lives and how they got to where they are. Each story is different but the similarity is the underlying reason behind why they came to Bucerias - for a better life.

The first artisan we met was Leonarda . She is a part of the Huichol culture which is one of the five indigenous groups here. Leo's story is a long one but it can easily be summarized. When she was about 11 years old, her older brother snuck her out of the house in the middle of the night to travel to Bucerias in order to make money for their family. Running away from home at such a young age is actually common here. Her brother knew no one in Bucerias. They ended up finding work as dish washers at a restaurant and the owner gave them a place to rent out.Their goal was to save up enough money to bring home for their family, but when the time came, they only had enough to send one of them back to their hometown. Leo's brother decided that he would go and then come back to her. He never returned.

Leo continued her life, had two kids along the way and has formed a relationship with her brother even though she had abandoned her years ago.

Meeting Leo reminded me of privilege. Growing up with an endless amount of opportunities, I still made excuses. Leo grew up having to make her own opportunities and had every reason to give up, but never did. She was constantly looking to improve her life to help her children. Being the first story I heard once I got here, she opened my eyes.

By no means I think because we grew up with more, that we do not have our own set of problems. We obviously do. But what I want to implement back in my hometown is a sense of perspective that allows the children we raise to be appreciative of where they came from. So many of the artisans here have moved away from their hometown because they could not make a living, and they appreciate where they are now. Many of my peers (including myself) have been fortunate enough to appreciate where we were brought up and not having to run away at age 11 to make a financial contribution to our family.

Leonarda set the framework for my approach here in Bucerias . Storytelling is a huge aspect here at Human Connections and it's my favorite part of the tours. When I walk through the Plaza and see all of the vendors who are trying so hard to sell, I wonder what their stories are and if they went through something similar to Leonarda . Sparking these conversations around the world could have a huge impact on several lives. Having an open mindset is beneficial because I want to know more and learn more about these people because when we know better, we do better.

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