Sunshine, Sweat and Smiles – Seycove Secondary in Mexico
On the first day here we loaded up the bus and headed south. We went to Benito Garcia, a village where Hero Holiday has been working in for over a year, to check out the schools our participants have built and talk about Social Justice issues. As we stood on the hard packed earth, with kids around, looking and smiling, we talked about statelessness. Together we learned about the challenges of no possessing a formal identity. We talked about the reality that face families in that area who do not have their papers, how it limits their freedoms and puts their children at higher risk. We talked about the people around us, who are living and breathing, loving and hurting, giving and growing… and how without their papers they do not technically exist. For lunch we hit up Sand Dollar Beach, a beautiful spot here on the Pacific with soft sand, sloping dunes, and yesterday it had great waves to boogie board on. After some hang out time in the sun shine we loaded up again and headed north back to town and to the graveyard. There we talked about children. The child death rate in the world. We talked about why it is that people living in poverty seem to continually have big families, and about the ones that ended up in front is us, marked by a cross and some colourful plastic flowers. One of our summer volunteer staff, Kelsey, is a veteran of Hero Holiday and shared her stories of kids that have made an impact on her. About Danica from the Dominican Republic whose short life and sad ending last summer is forever remembered in the hearts of our interns last summer. And about a small girl in Thailand, who lives today surviving horrors of a life of trafficking, and lives in hope. Each story, each topic, each view in front of us pulled at the minds and thoughts of the students and adults alike. Times of discomfort at the injustices in the world around are are so valuable. They keep us motivated, in touch and concerned. The day isn’t over yet. We headed to a local crafter market, and the students got a good taste of bargaining as well as an exposure to what it is like to be approached by kids selling their wares, using their charm to convince. We checked out the local coffee shop and ice cream stand. Not to worry, both are tried, tested and true for our Hero Holiday participants and very much enjoyed by the Hero Holiday staff and volunteers. No stomach worries there. The evening was a relaxing one, hanging out and getting together for the first days reflections on the trip. This is an awesome group, both the participants and leaders, observant, involved and definitely willing to get the most out of this experience as they can. It is going to be a great week!