This week I attended our different volunteer positions and visited my host family one evening. I really enjoy going to Buen Samaritano, because I like the work I get the opportunity to do there. I enjoy the reactions I get when I ask for the “man’s” job. Another female student, Danica, and I showed up one day, ready to mix concrete to set up some posts for a clothes line. We received a confused look and a ‘No hombres?’ (No men?) from the women in charge. “No, muy fuerte!” we assured her as we flexed our arms jokingly. She then led us to the lines and we worked for three hours mixing and laying concrete into meter deep holes. We finished 3 out of the 7 holes. Many people here have such a strong idea of what women and men’s roles are. In Canada, I have worked as a carpenter, a landscaper, and a construction worker, all of which are traditionally deemed jobs for men. A number of times I have gotten weird reactions, but I like to prove that women are just as capable of doing labour work as men are.
Mareena is another reason I like working at Buen Samaritano. She works there and it feels awesome to be able to connect with someone from the area. She speaks enough English that we can have conversations and she helps me with my Spanish. Mareena likes it when we tell her about Canada. Her questions are filled with wonder as we tell her about the weather and how different it is from Mexico. Getting to know her has definitely made this volunteering experience better.
I have never been the socialite but I have really enjoy being with my host family. We visit them one evening a week, in order learn more about Mexican culture, practice our Spanish, and get to know other people in the community. I love preparing dinner together, joking around, and laughing about our miscommunications. Dinner is great and the food is amazing, so I always compliment Hilda on her cooking. She is so funny; she will point to my stomach and say “nada!” (nothing) and then grab her own and say “manteca!” (fat) – she thinks I’m too skinny. We laugh about this exchange because it happens every time.
Live Different’s motto is, “Life is about people”, and I’m beginning to see what this really means by taking in people’s stories and getting to know their personalities. It’s such a powerful feeling to really get to be a part of a person’s life, and to impact them in a way that you could not have if you hadn’t taken the time to build these relationships. Sharing moments and memories with others is something I’ve learned is so important. Life really is about that special connection you share with everyone who enters and exits your life.
– Alexandria, Live Different Academy Student 2015