Hasta Luego!

Spread the love

group-at-cabin.jpgDuring our last weeks in Mexico, we decided to take a trip down south of the Baja coast. Our first night was spent in a cute little cabin in Catavina, where we shared the house with a lovely little kangaroo rat and a friendly bat. The bat and I didn’t personally hit it off, and while Shane reassured me he was “just like a mouse but with wings”, I somehow still did not feel inclined to befriend him. The cabin was really awesome however, completely solar powered and even had hot showers and a balcony for stargazing complete with telescopes! We went on a hike through the desert and discovered literally every plant in the desert is prickly. We saw some 200 year old cave paintings and even learned that what the desert now used to be the bottom of the ocean, as our guide showed us remnants of shells and coral reefs!Our next stop was in a little village off the highway where we soon discovered they had horses – and we could ride them! I think this may have been more exciting for me than anyone else…but they waited patiently for me as I galloped alongside the Mexican highway over and over again. And then just one more time. Zoe and Allie also took a turn on the horses, and then we set off on our way to La Mision.La Mision is an enormous old church that has been looked after by the same family for 7 generations. While the original building has obviously disintegrated considerably, a replica of the building has been restored and it is gorgeous – all white stone with incredibly high ceilings. Our tour guide took us around the property and showed us the many fruit trees as well as the hot springs nearby!When we drove into El Baril the next afternoon, we all could not believe our eyes. We all thought with amazement: “No. One. Lives. Here.” It literally looked like a ghost town, and we could not imagine what on earth we would be doing here for two days. We pulled up to a little church where the teachers of the elementary and secondary schools lived together, and they let us stay in a spare room for the night. We didn’t know it yet, but this stop would turn out to be our highlight of the trip.We learned it looked like there was no one in the town because the sea had been too rough to go fishing for five days, and many people had left town to make a bit of money elsewhere. We hung out with the teachers for the evening, who took us on a little tour of the schools they taught in. Who would have thought that in the middle of nowhere Mexico, in a little fishing village on the Sea of Cortez, we would find a little school room stocked with hundreds of books and a Smartboard?! We were enthralled and spent the whole evening playing with our new toy under the guise of “looking through the English program we were going to teach”.teaching-english.jpgThe next day we all rose early to head off to school to teach the kids some English. Three of us headed to the secondary school, while the other three went to the elementary (where the Smartboard was). This would prove to be our favourite part of the trip. I personally went and taught the secondary school kids, all ranging from age 12-13. I might also note that when I refer to all, I mean all six of them. Their schoolroom was also very stocked, with shelves and shelves of books and even three computers! We went through the English textbooks that they already had and went over the pronunciations and taught them some basic conversational English. It was the first time we had taught without a translator and it proved to be easier than expected! We had a lot of fun and tons of laughs even with the language barrier. Even after just an hour with these kids, we really bonded and I was sad to leave them! Our time in El Baril was perfectly completed after a meal of lobster and scallops, prepared for us by the kindergarten teacher! Once again we were overwhelmed by the hospitality and generosity of people we had just met, but who welcomed us like long-lost friends.After El Baril, our last stop on our trip was in Guerrero Negro. We got there in time to grab a hotel for the night and sleep, and in the morning we headed off to see the world’s largest salt mine! It was really cool to see all the different steps that go into salt production, especially the fields full of pure salt – perfect for salt men and salt ball wars!salt-ball-fight.jpgAfter Guerrero Negro, we started our long drive back to Zapata. Overall, the trip was full of lots of sing-alongs (who knew Shane could belt out “I’m Every Woman” with the best of us?) good food, good company and laughter, and was definitely an awesome way to spend one of our last weeks in Mexico.Next came the task of saying goodbye to the places and people that we had fallen in love with. We could no longer say ‘Hasta luego – see you later’ but some chose to anyways because it was somehow easier than saying “Adios – Goodbye”. saying-bye-to-maria.jpgAs we said farewell to Maria at the nursing home and Cesar at the school, we promised that our friends would come to visit them in the new year. School of Leadership students are taking a break over the Christmas holidays now to see friends and family at home in Canada but will soon be reconvening to start the next part of their experience. The group that was in Mexico is anxious to see what tour life on the road is like and the groups that toured Canada in the fall will be journeying to Mexico to meet Maria and Cesar. This new year is an amazing opportunity for these School of Leadership students as they give hope to teenagers in Canada, share love with families in Mexico and bring change in their lives and those around them. To find out how you could be part of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s School of Leadership, check out www.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute).org.Alex, a School of Leadership student living in Mexico

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 8th, 2011