Ruth Palacios


EVS  Volunteer in México


Highlights of my EVS in Motozintla (Chiapas, Mexico)

I land in Tapachula to start my EVS in Chiapas (Mexico), after three hours of curves and transport changes I arrive to Motozintla, the place where I will spend my next six months, surrounded by nature and authentic people, welcome me with open arms and with much desire. The first two weeks are about recognizing the environment and adapting to the environment;), I know part of the host association team and I visit beautiful places near Moto. I have my first encounters with my new house and my new family, a cozy place despite its shortcomings, the first month I do not have a shower (they are building the bathroom on my arrival), there is no hot water, no washing machine, no water days (they give the water every 15 days, the rest accumulate of rain in some tanks).

First cultural clashes … breakfast too plentiful for my stomach, used to a coffee and a sandwich, forgetting the bread to replace it with corn tortillas, showering with cold water every day (because there is no hot), wash my clothes by hand. .. very kind and willing people, with a smile always on their faces, the slow pace at which they move and act, unpunctuality, the lack of places to be distracted and the excessive concern for my safety at every step I give … to mention a few. It was a strange feeling, I’m used to moving freely, to be and express what I want, but no doubt there should change part of those things if I wanted to be well and calm. The place is not dangerous (I say it after six months there), but at the beginning people insisted that you had to be very careful about walking alone on the street or entering neighborhoods you did not know, not to mention the madness I think you want to travel to other cities in the state on my days off. Being a woman has also been a handicap in many things, some men still have very closed mentalities, and that a woman tells them certain things does not seem the most appropriate; besides, most girls of my age already have several children and their lives are reduced to the house and to the care of their family. Luckily, not all women follow that pattern, and there are already many with careers and jobs that make them more independent, even so, most of the girls I met did almost nothing outside of their home (be it by culture, religion or for pleasure), with what I missed so much to go out with girls and to know them more deeply. On the other hand, I had the opportunity to have a very close relationship with some of the guys in the project and this has helped me to understand many things and to know how they think and how they live the situation there.

I arrived with many nerves and wanting to do things right, and although things were not as I expected, I think we have finally managed to create something super beautiful and unique in the village. Working with the youth and children of the municipality has made me very happy, it has helped me develop many skills that I did not need to use in my day to day, it has made me learn other things, and know other ways of living and thinking. Thanks to our insistence and perseverance we have managed to create a group of young people who want to do something new in their town, as well as creating a youth social space where they can do all kinds of activities. A space created by them and for them! After seeing the need to create something like this in the town, the best we could do is to involve the young people in that creation so that they feel part of the project and their motivation will increase.

I have had the opportunity to know very closely the people who live there, I have visited communities where you start to value the importance of giving even if you have nothing to give … they are mostly very simple people, who live with little and who They are happy despite their situation, maybe because they do not know anything else or maybe because what they have does not need more. The contrast of thoughts is remarkable, but I have also had the opportunity to meet young people with a mentality very similar to mine and who simply feel trapped in that place and with that situation, and that no matter how much they do they do not have enough resources to achieve change your future. For us to find work of whatever it is quite simple, we have a thousand opportunities to get a salary at the end of the month that allows us to become independent, live more or less well, buy what we can, travel … they do not have that, work in the town is quite impossible (most businesses are family), they study in the same town or in the nearest city because their parents cover the expenses, but young people do not have the option of being independent neither personally nor economically, the lack of Employment prevents them from having money to leave their parents’ house, so the idea of ​​the area with the family, sometimes more than an election, is so ingrained. It is true that they have an admirable family value, which in our society has already been lost, but it is also true that most have no alternative but to continue with their family, because they have no way of getting out of there. Being six months with them makes you rethink many things, I have valued much more the family, but also the freedom that I have in my country and the opportunities it offers to grow and be an independent person at all levels, with their good things and their bad things; here everything has a price too high, the fellowship has been lost and we have become very individualistic, but in return you can be what you want and fight to improve.

My day to day in Motozintla was quite routine, getting up, shower, breakfast, mornings in the office preparing activities, evenings with the group of young people and children … In the first months after the activities I returned home, the options offered the people to do something else were limited, so together with my companion we went home, we had dinner and talked about everything and nothing. I went to bed early, I slept more hours than in my whole life (I have made an important sleep cure). In the last months, thanks to that we had managed to have more confidence with the boys, we took advantage to go out to have something with them, to have dinner, to organize weekends, some exit to the mountain … I have also taken advantage in the free days to visit wonderful places of Chiapas and Guatemala, soak up their culture and their rituals, their beliefs and their way of life. It is wonderful to discover and share these things from the perspective of living there and not just as a simple traveler, the depth of what you get to live is multiplied by a hundred. Sometimes I find it hard to understand the ways they do things and how they think, but obviously because I compare it with what I live in my country and what I’m used to, but once you live it up close and it’s part of your day to day life You understand everything better. I saw a lot of contrast between the people of the village and those of the communities (with much fewer resources and mostly producers of their own food). In the communities there are many more deficiencies and less possibilities of everything, and people struggle to survive, work from sunrise to sunset and live in quite insufficient conditions, but they smile, do not think that they can live better, they appreciate what they have and with that They’re happy. In the town, they had some more resources, better jobs (mostly for the government directly or indirectly), access to all kinds of food and facilities to get many more things, but at the same time they have lost that need to self-produce many of the things they need to live, with what they pay for everything and sometimes the salary does not give them, they also get used to living with what there is, but they do not seem so happy … they must work for others

Returning to the project, I loved giving English classes to the little ones through less conventional methods, they were not used to that type of classes and it was wonderful to see how they enjoyed and how fast they learned. With the young people it was a bit harder, we had to balance their expectations with what we could really do, but finally we found a project where they have been involved and where we have also been able to leave a small part of us there. We started with the group dynamics, as a result a lot of young people who did not know each other became friends and colleagues, today some of them are still struggling to achieve things for the people and for the young people (planting project of vegetables and different workshops in the local). We also built a youth social space with reused materials, demonstrating that to create a cozy space it only takes a lot of desire, time and ideas, and that with very little money you could furnish a space to make it functional and beautiful. For young people it also meant a development of skills that they did not know they had, such as creativity, carpentry or painting. It has been wonderful to see day by day how they got over and how they were deluded with everything despite all the difficulties they constantly put us. They have created tables, chairs, decorations, containers, stools, bars, racks … all with materials such as paper, cardboard, wood, paint, plastic, tires … We achieved a small group but very involved in what was , we fed each other. I am proud of what we have achieved and that today and after our departure, they continue to do activities and continue with the project alone.

It has been a unique experience that I will not forget, it has allowed me to know myself a little more, it has put parts of me to the test, it has made me grow and find a new motivation for my future. Motozintla and its surroundings will always be with me, I have discovered that I have a second house 10,000km away, where I have felt welcomed and where I have learned many things. Thanks for this experience, I left Barcelona hoping for a change in my life, and it has been that way, it has even brought me many more things than I could imagine. I would return with my eyes closed to such an exchange.


November 2017

Mix of emotions, farewell …

The month of November begins with the feeling that everything comes to an end, after five months here, it is time to take stock of everything achieved and what remains to be achieved. I have to take advantage of my last days here, prepare the young people so that when we leave, they continue with the activities and the project in our absence. It will be an intense month.

We started November visiting the city of Oaxaca, to celebrate the day of the dead, a very typical event in these lands, skulls, comparsas, music in the streets, cemeteries, traditional songs … living the magic of these parties has been a great choice , a few days of disconnection and at the same time of discovery, to see how they understand death and to see rituals and traditions in cemeteries. It is a day to share with the dead, the “living” bring food and drink to the cemeteries and offer them to deceased relatives / friends, some sing, others simply take the offerings … leave the sweets, drinks and food to the feet of the graves for the dead to feed and celebrate with them that day. It is a very curious act, many people do not have enough income to feed their family as “alive”, but that does not stop them from taking food to the dead on a day like that. This is a country of beliefs and deep-rooted traditions, they believe in what they do and that makes them happier.

Back to reality, to our beloved Motozintla, it is time to organize the last weeks of preparation of the youth space, to finalize the furniture that we have halfway, to organize all the materials that in this time have arrived to the premises and to plan the event of closing of the Younic. In recent weeks we have managed to rescue some of the young people who had disappeared months ago, we got them to attend one of the days and help the rest with the creation of chairs and tables. The part of the cafeteria (the bar), is still not built, but that is the obligation of the owner of the place that wants to assemble it, so we insist that it accelerate its construction and thus be able to sell coffee and products the same day of the clutch and start well and the cafeteria as a business. But we did not achieve anything, the man seems to have other things to occupy his time and at the end of the month he has not managed to build anything yet.

The group of young people is very small, but we are going to look at the positive, that helps us to relate in a much more intimate way. Last month we started meeting with them after the activities, but in this last month, it seems that they are also aware that the end date is approaching, and they are eager to share moments. We organize several outings at night, we celebrate the birthday of one of them and we even venture to spend a full weekend outside the town, where we also meet with the young people of Porvenir (the other group from Mexico, part of the project). We think that gathering them would be a good thing, since they did not know each other and in the future they will be able to create things together, and some of them will travel to Europe and so they can share their concerns beforehand.
Roasted carnitas, corn, beans, corn tortillas … I will miss those moments, at first I felt quite alone in the town, but today we have created a fun group to spend time and share things. Every day there is more complicity among the boys, it is clear that our work in the first months to create a cohesive group and with confidence has paid off, people who did not know each other, now they meet and share jokes, interests, worries … They have managed to create a good team, we are proud of it.

Another good news to finalize the project is that the young people have created a youth association. They have also decided to start with activities in the premises after the opening of the space (which coincides with the closure), hold English workshops for children, first aid, painting, music (guitar) and evenings of projection of films in family.

The last weeks of the month (my last weeks in Moto) have been intense, all the people with whom I have had a relationship in these six months wanted to invite me to lunch, dinner … whatever, but they wanted to dedicate me some time and I was without hours available. As I could, I distributed the days, and day after day I was also eating or having dinner with people, saying goodbye, receiving affection and precious words from those people … I can not ask for more, my farewell started almost two weeks before leaving, and that It caused a great melancholy, I did not want the time to leave.

The day of the farewell (closure of the Younic and at the same time inauguration of the youth social space 9cito) was a mix of emotions, on the one hand, pride in seeing what we had all achieved in just three months in that place, satisfaction to see that we had achieved complicity and equipment among the young people of the town, joy to see that the space was finally inaugurated, but I also felt a great sadness, leaving behind six months of my life, wonderful people who had given me the opportunity to meet them and impressive places where nature was love and lady. Live music (the boys themselves played and sang), people who came to browse, delivery of diplomas, nice words, hugs, recognitions, gifts, mariachis … it was a great event at the end of the project.

When I embarked in June to Mexico, I did not imagine everything that would happen next months. I left my country with a little longing, but after all, I knew I would return. Leaving Mexico and everything I have lived has not been easy, and also not knowing if you can ever go back to see those people or those places still generated a greater sadness 🙁 But life are cycles, stages, and mine ended, I had to I can only say Thank you, thank you for the opportunity and for all the wonderful people who have been in my last six months, Chiapas will always have a piece of my heart.

October 2017

Advancing, “des pa si to”  😉 …

October has gone faster than I expected and what I would like. I have been able to enjoy traditional festivals, see a group of women from nearby villages, continue with the project of creating a youth space, I have shared time with the young people outside the project and with the family …

At the end of September I had the opportunity to go with the coordinator of an association that works with women from communities, dedicating part of their day to embroidering tablecloths, rags, sheets … with typical decorations of the area. Apparently it is one of the few organized groups that are in the mountains, I had the opportunity to share with them a little conversation, they do that job to get some money. But people in the area, mostly farmers, can not afford to pay the cost of embroidery, so their only hope is to attend traditional fairs that are organized in big cities and take advantage of that space to sell them. It is also not easy to obtain a place at these fairs, require them to have a minimum of 200 pieces to participate, and for the moment have not yet managed to reach that number. It was a pleasure to be able to speak with them and share the usual “atolito de maíz” and some “elotes”; not only did we talk about the art of embroidery (where I learned that there were different techniques) but we talked about the day to day, the family … I was surprised to hear that some of the women with only ten years older than I had ten children, and they could not believe that at my age I still had not been encouraged by the first ejejej.

The first week of October was celebrated in Motozintla the party “Mochó”, the tradition of greater rooting in the city, its patronal party. A party that begins in mid-August with the collection of the best wood, the collection of seeds that grow in the marshes and which is the special ingredient in the preparation of the traditional drink, the “Puzunque” (a sacred drink, which many believe that it has a purifying power). During the days of the holidays the women of the ethnic Mochó live together day and night in the house “Mochó”, cooking and serving to the inhabitants who during those days pass by there to taste the typical dishes and the famous drink. After more than an hour of waiting among the many who come to taste that drink, I had the opportunity to taste it, it is a unique flavor, indescribable … and I do not know if it purified me, but it did fill me with good sensations. Talk to the people who prepared it, I observed the dedication they have and the generosity they give off. I also had the opportunity to see the typical dance of this party, where all the participants are anonymous, secretly keep their belongings to that group, and during the dance are covered with masks of animals so that nobody can identify them. Drink, food, dance and marimba … a very beautiful days to share with authentic people and to know ancient traditions, in those moments you forget the year you live, it seems that space catches you and that you are many light years from today.

The project continues to progress, in the last month we have managed to build a large amount of furniture thanks to the donations of people who have wanted to collaborate, wooden armchairs, stools with egg cups, tables and cardboard seats, dream catchers with bicycle wheels, armchairs with tires, decorations with glasses and disposable plates and reused … The truth is that less and less young people come, and that discourages, but we are not going to let that stop us, we want to finish the construction in a two weeks and be able to inaugurate the space to start activities and give a little everything to young people.

The weeks spend working from Monday to Friday, and when the weekend comes, I take the opportunity to do something different, to share time with the family, to eat with them, to play with the little girl, to talk about everything and nothing, to watch how their days go … I like to keep those images in my memory, I know that soon I will not have them and I do not want to forget them. In the same way with the young people, sometimes during the week, sometimes in the weekend … we meet with some and we go out to dinner or take something to share time together, help them with doubts they have, explaining to them what it’s like to be in our countries … or just enjoying a mountain day, nature, good company … you cannot ask for more.

The sensations in these last days are strange, more and more my departure is coming, and part of me wants to return, but another feels a longing for everything that I will leave behind when I leave … people, moments, the day to day…

September 2017

Change of plans, new situations…

What I can tell about this last month in Mexico, the truth that has been a lot of feelings, contradictory thoughts, positive and negative emotions … time passes and less and less to end this adventure.

As for the project there are positive developments, we have managed to have a person lend us a huge place to develop our plan to create a social youth area. He wants to set up his local cafe-market and we have offered to collaborate in exchange for giving us space. We as a team will assemble all the furniture and decoration of the local with reused materials: pallets, rejas (wooden boxes), plastics, cartons, non-reusable cups and plates, tires, old clothes, bamboo … In this way the lord will have his local set up and we will have a space for the young people, where they will be able to carry out (after the construction of the space) all types of workshops and also have a place in Motozintla to meet and share ideas, initiatives … Here there is nothing like it and if the plan works out it will be a very important achievement for them. On the personal side, I love being able to participate in all this, it is costing a little to achieve materials, people still have a hard time giving us things, even if they are the ones that are going to throw, but I will trust that little by little, ahead. We have also done a lot of diffusion of the space and the project talking with the people of the town, attending Facebook programs and posting in the networks part of our activities to achieve more participation. We have recovered some young people who had forgotten about our project and also managed to attract the attention and participation of new people.

There are still issues in the air regarding the project, we must finish closing the contract of collaboration with man, because we don’t want the effort of young people to create the space ends up becoming a gift for the business of the Lord, and for this we must close and fine-tune the conditions of space. This is taking some time, but let’s hope it closes soon.

And I already happened to tell you how I am on a personal level, as I told you at the beginning, are being moments of everything, exciting days and days where you rethink again if all the effort will be something or if with our march will end everything …

The news reaches everywhere, and surely you already have knowledge of the great event that we have had to face here, nature has made its own, and the earth has decided to move too much in this last month. I had already experienced a quake or of almost seven points within two weeks of arriving here, but the one on September 7th undoubtedly takes the prize for the quake of the year (at least for me). It was an ordinary night, after dinner I was talking to the father of the family where we live here, just when I said goodbye and wish him good night to retire to my room, began to thunder the structure of the house … don’t ask me how neither Why, but I knew it was an earthquake. The floor began to move, we all left the house, the alarm began to ring (it is terrifying, really, could raise another sound because it scares the alarm more than the rest of things that are happening). As I had already lived one thought, calm down, in a few seconds he will stop and go. But nothing further from the reality, I wouldn’t know how many minutes or seconds it lasted, but that didn’t stop, the floor moved, the blocks of the house were shaking from side to side, and that was, it was eternal, for a I thought that something else was happening … I was not afraid for my life, it was clear that we were not going to fall anything in the head or anything, we were safe, but the ground was still shaking, the small house was terrified, the family partly quiet and partly saying that it was a great quake … At last it stopped, but the legs followed you trembling. We recovered some tranquility (to say something), but they expected replicas so at midnight and sleepless after the fright was only waiting for another quake to arrive … but it didn’t arrive, or at least did not arrive perceptibly for me . I warned my friends and family, I still did not know the magnitude of the earthquake, but in case the news began to arrive in Spain that they would not be frightened ;).

Luckily nothing happened here, there were no personal injuries and only material damages. But even today, almost three weeks later, there are still aftershocks, the seismic alarm continues to ring from time to time and makes you jump out of bed with a sense of alertness that then prevents you from sleeping placidly. Many days I feel that the ground moves jejeje but already one doesn’t know if it’s paranoia or is real, in the end turned off the alarm because the children were having bad after the fright. But it has certainly been an unforgettable experience, I just hope it doesn’t repeat itself, although to say this here is like asking in rainy season not to rain, after all here is normal for the earth to tremble. But if you can ask for something I only ask that they be of lower magnitude and that does not cause so much damage, because after the lived here in Chiapas of 8.4, has passed the one of 7. 1 with epicenter in Puebla and with many damages in DF.

Living this experience here has also given me the opportunity to offer psychological support to the most affected areas of the coast, if everything goes well next week I will move to Tonalá, Arriaga and Pijijiapan to be able to help all the people who, after the earthquake, suffer panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder.

August 2017

Struggling to create, achieve…

The second month has been an adventure of obstacles ;), and there is nothing that I like more than the challenges. With the group of young people we continue with the dynamics and tried to build day by day with them something more solid, our intention is that they are created and feel part of a group of equals in spite of the differences of each one.

We have also had the visit of Alberto Tortolero, and it has helped us a lot to define part of our ideas and has supported us with the host association so that we receive more support and facilities to carry out all that we intend. His visit has been encouraging, because here things are not always easy, people seem to be excited about our proposals and our work, but only that and only appearance, then it is difficult to see results. And in the end you think if all the effort is in vain or if it makes sense to continue fighting, and that is where Alberto has encouraged us to go forward, thanks, sometimes it’s necessary that external support, that push, because from the inside not always it is easy to see all the possibilities.

I also took advantage of this month to go out and get to know the wonderful surroundings of Chiapas, here we are in a valley, but getting out and knowing has its rewards, hours and hours of car (“colectivos” call here the antique minivans that take you from a side to other) approach you to breathtaking place. Waterfalls, lakes, pure nature, peaceful … has been a respite that has given me strength to return and continue with more desire everything, sometimes you have to go away to return with more desire.

Chiflon Cascade, Sumidero Canyon, Chiapa de Corzo, Montebello Lakes, San Cristobal de las Casas, San Juan Chamula, Zinacantan, Tonala, Boca del Cielo … pure nature, breathe air, sleep in tent (it is idyllic but in rainy season is not recommended, lol so I ended up sleeping on a puddle of water, things that happen), make fire on the lake, wake up in the middle of nowhere … I can’t help it, I’m passionate about nature, well which I have enjoyed very much, Chiapas has some impressive places, in addition its people, pure kindness, disposition … Food of stalls, to know part of the culture, to see rituals, typical celebrations … It is a very authentic place, although in some parts the tourism and the human being has already made his own and has altered all that to turn it into a business.

Back to reality, to my day to day, it comes to face the challenges ;). We continue advancing with the space of the house of culture to achieve a place for young people, but it’s complicated, we need structure and electricity, and for now no one offers to help us for free. “ By interest I love you Andres” say in my town. Classes have started, some of the young people leave us and are much less willing to attend the sessions. In addition it also announces to the director of the school that we are not going to give English classes to the 180 children who wanted (obviously it’s not possible, we have gone crazy?), It’s the school where we make the dynamics with the youth group and children, so we are interested to continue with the good relations, so we propose to do classes in the afternoon and with a smaller group of children. The answer was negative, they did not want to understand that it was not possible what they wanted and they did not accept our proposal, so that we were without room for classes, but don’t panic!! … we will survive.

June/July 2017

Knowing the environment and its possibilities

My first month and a half in Motozintla has been full of ups and downs … The first two weeks I was talking to the Younic project manager here, and with some of the people who participated in his association. Furthermore, I counted on the company and great help of Jesus (the person who was in charge of the Job Shadowing), who helped me to focus some of the options that the locality offered. I visited some of the projects that are carried out: the copalera, agromujeres …

Until the arrival of the rest of volunteers, my role here was more knowledge of the territory and the opportunities, as well as some of the people who are part of the GAL (Grupo de Acción Local, host association in Mexico). Once my three companions arrived, we spent the first few days to visit the locality, we met and decided the two teams that would be formed for each of the localities participating in the project, El Porvenir and Motozintla.

I decided to stay in Motozintla, the two weeks that I shared with the family weighed heavily on that decision, I felt at home. I have my private room on the second floor of the house, is large and comfortable and with what is necessary to spend the next few months: double bed, “mosquitera” (very necessary to avoid mosquitoes at night,  “zancudos” it is said, do not disturb my Sleep and do not suck the blood), a small desk and an office cupboard that acts as a closet. As for the food, traditional Mexican, homemade, and lovingly prepared, I can´t ask for more. My breakfasts in Spain are much lighter, there with a coffee with milk and a small sandwich, step all morning, here I had to get used to having breakfast in large, breakfast example: coffee (American type but more watery), beans, eggs and cabbage with carrot, all accompanied by “tortillas de maíz”. My stomach has had to get used to it, and the first few weeks suffered, but now it’s like new. The bathroom, something that seems simple when the water comes out hot or cold by a faucet or shower, but that is complicated when the house hasn´t the water common system and no water heater. The water I have to take it from a tank they have in the house (collect the rainwater, and also every 15 days, give them water, so they fill the tanks), both wash my hands, teeth, use the toilet or shower I have to do it using cold water buckets. I’m not going to deny it, I’m a lover of cold water in summer, but it’s not the same thing to go under the shower and bathe with cool water than throwing buckets of cold water over you jejej. But, well, the mornings begin more active when the ritual becomes a challenge.

As for the project, what I can say, my expectations in the face of reality were very distant. I hoped to find a project that already worked and where I could contribute my bit and encourage the creation of other complementary activities. But the reality is that there is nothing structured or organized that works with young people, they have only told us what our tasks would be, and they weren´t what I expected or what we were supposed to do here. It’s true, the predisposition and the will of the association is good, but neither the structure of the municipality nor the association itself has support to perform functions such as we understand in Europe. In Motozintla there isn´t a youth center, nor does the association work directly with young people, despite being the target that they proposed in their project and who obviously see the need to do something with them, so we will start from scratch something and expected to have minimal impact on society.

Fortunately, we have succeeded in creating a group of young people who through the group dynamics that we generate and the desire they put to improve their municipality are already today very motivated and cohesive to undertake any type of activity related to the environment. They are young people with initiatives, with desire and with eagerness to learn, only that the society and the structure that surrounds them does not support them too much.

After several sessions with them explaining our intentions, after talking with the responsible and exposing our ideas so that he could see that many more things could be done than English and much more useful … we have managed to form a group of young people with sessions in the afternoons, a group of children between six and twelve years two hours per week, and in the cultural house we have changed the English plan for an intensive morning of 10 to 13 with children to develop social skills. The August approach is yet to be defined.

One of our ideas (I speak in the plural because it’s a decision with Alexandra, my EVS partner) is to create a space for the young people on the terrace of the house of culture, space that they themselves create with the constructions and objects that we work in The different workshops of recycling and that can be like a cafeteria / space of exchange. In this way we hope that they feel part of that space and that they use it to meet, to create events of local products, expositions, evenings of cinema or reading … The idea seems to them attractive, now we must make it real and possible.

Here everything has another rhythm (al ratito todo), and they have very different ways of working to which I’m accustomed, but that is part of the challenge and on a personal level is making me develop some of my skills and abilities even more. Furthermore, I’m knowing amazing corners of nature, local products and fruits that I didn’t know, magnificent people, popular music, walks in the back and discovered of the rancheras (a fantastic way to get around) and stories that make you rethink many things in your life . And as is typical here, “agradecemos la oportunidad que nos han dado y que Dios les bendiga”.



Calentando motores…

Siempre había soñado con pasar algunos meses de mi vida en otro país que no fuera el mío (y no es un decir, es un sueño de verdad, de los que te persiguen a cada rato, cuando menos te lo esperas, y que como no eres capaz de perseguirlos tú, pues te siguen ellos a ti)  , cuando era más pequeña soñaba con pasarlo en algún lugar de África, y no me preguntéis por qué… pero supongo que mi falta de madurez y conocimiento me llevaban a pensar que sería el sitio con más contraste cultural que podía encontrarme. A día de hoy, sigo pensando que el contraste y la experiencia allí sería lo más, pero amplié mis horizontes y decidí que cualquier país podría aportarme esa experiencia y ese choque cultural y vivencial que tanto anhelaba.

En el último año la vida no ha dejado de sorprenderme, bueno…  o tal vez he sido yo, que me he sorprendido a mí misma no poniéndome límites y decidiendo aprovechar el momento y las oportunidades que el día a día me brindaba… anyway, sea cual fuere el motivo, la cosa es que hace unos meses se presentó ante mí la oportunidad de viajar durante seis meses a México, y emprender así una experiencia de EVS en la población de Motozintla (Chiapas). Y ni corta ni perezosa, acepté, no podía negarme a ese reto.

En cuanto supe que la plaza era para mí no podía creerlo, pero tampoco me hacía a la idea de la realidad que se aproximaba. Empecé a ser un poco más consciente de todo el día que recibí mis billetes, pero aún y así seguía con mi vida rutinaria (trabajo, amigos, familia, salidas, entradas…); decidí dejar mi trabajo una semana antes del vuelo para tener algo de tiempo y organizarme, y ahí empecé a sentir esas mariposillas en el estómago, ajetreo de papeles combinado con un sinfín de emociones confusas…. Me voy en un momento estupendo de mi vida, dejando muchas cosas que me hacen feliz, pero quién no arriesga no gana (o eso dicen). Felicidad, expectativa, emoción, miedo, nervios, tristeza, melancolía… la lista es larga e incierta, pero así me siento, a unos días de volar hacia mi nuevo rumbo, rumbo que espero que sea hogar en muchas cosas, … porque seis meses pasan rápido, pero hay que pasarlos…

El momento maleta fue sin duda una anécdota… en los últimos años he viajado bastante y la maleta (bueno mochila, que es mucho más cómoda) la tengo por la mano… pero una cosa es viajar un mes y otra muy diferente viajar por seis meses (o tal vez no… ). Ahí estaba yo, con la mesa del comedor de casa de mis padres con todas las cosas necesarias (que no imprescindibles) para empezar con la tarea en cuestión, y mi madre y mi abuela de espectadoras… un show todo junto. ¿En México hace calor en estas fechas verdad? Pues me llevo todo de verano y un jersey y una sudaderita por si refresca por las noches. Zapatos, pues unos para montaña, unas chanclas y unas zapatillas de esparto (a última hora meto también unas bambas porque aún tenía espacio). Mi saco sabana, linterna, mosquitera, bañador, toalla, neceser, portátil, cargadores, ropa interior, cremita del sol, botiquín etc etc etc. Empiezo a seleccionar la ropa, mi premisa es sencilla… ropa como para dos semanas, alguna camiseta más porque no sé cada cuanto voy a poder lavar, así que un par de pantalones cortos, un par de vestidos, unos tejanos y bastantes camisetas, junto con el pijamita. Ahí empiezan a escandalizarse las espectadoras, mi madre doblando la ropa con un “nuevo método que ha visto en internet que ocupa menos” (lo que viene resumiéndose en enrollar la ropa jajaj lo que yo hago normalmente para que me entren más cosas), y ahí estaba yo.. dejándola hacer, le hacía ilusión participar de la maleta, como cuando una se iba de colonias en la escuela. ¿Sólo esto te llevas de ropa? Métete un par de pantalones más y alguna camiseta… ¡Que no ocupan nada! Después de seis o siete veces con la misma frase de “que no ocupa nada” empecé a reírme… ¿Os habéis dado cuenta de cuantos “no ocupa nada” lleváis? Pues eso ya es media maleta y unos cuantos kg que no estoy dispuesta a cargar en mis espaldas. Se empezaron a reír y prometieron no repetirlo, pero evidentemente alguno que otro se les escapó. En definitiva, fue un momento muy cómico que me gustó compartir con ellas antes del viaje, al fin y al cabo iba a pasarme muchos meses sin su presencia.

El día llegó, mi vuelo despegó (una hora después de lo programado), y lo único que separaba mi realidad de mi futura experiencia eran unas horitas de vuelo de nada (hay que mirarlo con optimismo… al fin y al cabo que son casi 24h cuando lo que te espera es lo soñado?¿). El itinerario a seguir era aparentemente sencillo, pero cuando hablamos de vuelos y escalas todo puede ser una aventura al más puro estilo room-scape. Tenía tiempo suficiente de escala en Ámsterdam y Ciudad de México como para no preocuparme, pero salir una hora tarde de Barcelona empezó a inquietarme… una tontería sin duda, puesto que llegué a tiempo para pillar el segundo vuelo, el de destino a México. Salí de Ámsterdam sobre las 22h, y me esperaban doce horas de vuelo, mi plan era dormir, pero a veces resulta imposible e incómodo hacerlo en un avión con el constante ajetreo de los pasajeros inquietos junto con el ir y venir de las azafatas con cenas, bebidas y más comida… Además súmale la incertidumbre de no saber si mi equipaje  debía recogerlo en Ciudad de México y volver a facturarlo o qué debía hacer una vez allí. Al final todo resultó de lo más sencillo, y si encima contamos con el factor sorpresa de que el vuelo iba casi vacío y que me tocaron tres asientos para mi… brutal… pude dormir prácticamente todo el vuelo estiradita y todo. Al llegar al aeropuerto (dos horas antes de lo previsto) me tocó retirar mi equipaje de la cinta y pasarlo a otra de equipajes en conexión, así de fácil, y ya me olvidé de él hasta que aterricé en Tapachula.

Las puertas del avión se abrieron en Tapachula, y ya el calor bochornoso me dio mi primera dosis de realidad, un aeropuerto chiquitito, donde todo fue extremadamente rápido, maletas y salida, en un suspiro… ya estaba allí, con mi mochila y mis ganas de empezar esta nueva aventura. Me recogió en el aeropuerto un amigo del responsable del proyecto en México, Roberto, me lo esperaba con un cartelito al más puro estilo peliculero (siempre me ha hecho ilusión que me esperen a la salida de un avión con mi nombre escrito en un papel jejej), pero no, solo me identificó por una foto que les mandé. Eran las diez de la mañana, yo llevaba horas y horas de vuelo y de esperas en aeropuertos, pero muy amablemente me llevaron a desayunar a un hotel, desayuno para resucitar a un alma agotada e ilusionada como la mía. La carta era extensa, y en su mayoría con nombres que no sabía identificar (y mira que hablamos el mismo idioma), así que empecé a preguntar por cada plato y me acabaron recomendando los “huevos motuleños”. Ver llegar ese plato, abarrotado de comida: tortillas (tortitas para nosotros) con huevo, tomate, guisantes, jamón, queso, frijoles… y acompañado de un café (el café aquí no es el típico expreso que una se toma por la mañana, aquí más bien parecen infusiones de café, un café americano pero hiperaguado). Ahí empecé a ver que si algo iba a hacer en este país era comer y comer bien, y eso siempre es buena señal.