Buenos Dias, dear readers! It is now less than a week to our departure to Chiapas on Monday and I am sure I am not alone among my traveling companions in feeling in a bit of a scurry to be sure all is ready for the trip. I had my “travel consult” with my doctor today to get a “just in case” prescription of antibiotics and a typhoid vaccine. Since that put me right in travel mode I stopped off at the store for a few last minute purchases; plastic self zipping bags, hand sanitizer and sunscreen.
When I got home I did a “practice pack” of my suitcase mainly to see how much my carry-on will weigh since there is a 40 lb. limit. I found out weight will not be an issue, but volume might! I will make the carry-on work, but I am a bit defeated by the limit to 1 quart-sized bag with liquid toiletries! It looks like I may do well to just buy some shampoo in Mexico.
Even with this busy-ness to get ready to leave, my mind and heart is full of so many thoughts and emotions about what I am already learning about the indigenous Mayan people of Chiapas. That NAFTA has so adversely affected the already poor people in Mexico stirs up much anger. The anger pops up again when I learn that the Mexican government’s “solution” to “helping” the indigenous people is to provide paperboard-cookie-cutter-much-too-small housing developments that even before they are finished look like a slum waiting to happen, not to mention that it will take the people even further from their land.
As I read amazing stories of the indigenous peoples’ struggle for land; how they have worked so hard to survive against such adverse conditions, I am so aware of how little I know of hardship. I can only step back in wonder at the tenacity and determination and faith of these people.
As I continue to read and learn I pray that I will not let anger blind me to the things I need to see and learn in Chiapas. I pray that I will listen with my heart; that I will make the connections I need to make, that I will understand what the “real” issues are and that I will be a “responsible anthropologist”—one who will find a way to make a difference in light of what I have learned.