One to Remember
Today was the last day of the trip, and definitely was one to remember. This was our excursion day and after the emotional rollercoaster of the house dedications, it was a relief to be able to relax after a busy week. But this was a trip of truth and reality so before we could continue to the day of activities, we stopped at a graveyard.
Firstly, this did not look like the graveyards we have back in Vancouver, with the green grass groomed, and the tomb stones cut clean, with the graves spaced out and neatly arranged. This graveyard was packed with graves, some having stones others crosses made with sticks, and pieces of paper showing the dates of birth and death. The graves were tightly packed with barely any room between them, and the surrounding ground was just bumpy dirt and rocks. It was strange to see that in a place where people bury their loved ones, that it was barely kept or groomed unlike Vancouver, where all the graveyards are spotless and kept so nice. It seems fitting to keep a place of such tragedy and sadness looking spotless but I suppose in Mexico it is a privilege that they don’t have.
As we walked through the graveyard, I began to take notice of the dates of births and deaths. It was absolutely shocking to see the amount of years people lived for. People died so young. As we made our way through, I found graves where babies died the same day they were born, and some only living lives consisting of a couple weeks. It made me angry to think that these babies and young children were denied the rights of getting to live life. A child being stripped of a right to a life they deserve.
Santiago’s story proved just that. We all gathered around one grave, and there Santi stood and bravely told us that it was his daughter’s grave. His daughter had a premature birth and her lungs were too weak to breath on her own, and the medicine she needed was not available in this part of Mexico, so she tragically passed away after she was born. I admired Santi so much for telling us all his story, he was so brave and courageous to be able to share this sad event in his life. But he wanted us to know that all his daughter needed was a simple medicine, one that I am sure we could access easily in Vancouver. But because of where she was born and the health care in Mexico, she was unfortunately unlucky. It was an emotional morning for us, and I can not even begin to imagine what Santi has been through because of this.
I am so privileged to live in a place where health care is so amazing and that I have all the opportunities in the world, when these people living in Mexico are denied so many things. It breaks me to ask myself “why am I privileged?” “What is so different between me and a child living in a third world country?” It seems like a lottery, and some of us just aren’t as lucky as the rest. I realized how many children in the graveyard who may have lost their lives to something simple like needing a certain medication that the hospitals just don’t have, or getting sick and not being able to acquire the correct medicine. After we left, it was emotional for me, but again another eye opening experience.
This was our excursion day, so although there was a lot of emotions and tears, we headed to a volcano which was we hiked up to the see the glorious view at the top and on the way home stopped at the pool for lunch and tan which was all well and good!
The last night we were there, we spent around a bonfire singing, roasting marshmellows and the whole deal, and I found myself sitting back and taking a look at the amazing people that I grew so close with on this trip, the amazing memories that we all shared, and the changed people that we now are. It was going to be interesting to return home, to be exposed to the lives that we have so full of privilege and opportunity but no matter how hard it may be, I knew that I have 58 people who I could count on, who counted like my second family.