viernes, 26 de mayo de 2017

What to Expect...When You have NO Idea What You are Expecting

Being open minded about this trip was important to me. I did not want to make assumptions or worry about hypothetical issues. Expectations typically lead to disappointment but sometimes avoiding them is impossible.

            My Expectations 

-Thought the tours would be very formal
-Thought it would be easier to communicate since we would be going to a decently touristy area
-Did not think the indigenous people would be as welcoming because of this language barrier


My Reality

-Tours are casual and the people are willing to answer any question
Many of the vendors actually do not speak english
-The indigenous people are overwhelmingly generous and kind to us 

My expectations have changed because of my experiences. Before each excursion or trip I unintentionally create expectations that I later come to realize when I find myself saying "wow" or "that was surprising". 

The more I try to practice empowerment or the act of empowering others, the less I feel like I should intervene with one's needs. While observing the community's needs, yes I think there are many advances they could make to make their lives easier (such as machinery) but that authentic beauty that lies within their culture comes from the hard work they put into everything they do. For example, when we met a woodworker, there were several safety precautions that he could take that were as simple as wearing protective gloves, but he does not find that necessary therefore he uses his blade with bare hands and has even sliced off part of his finger. How he has only done that once is beyond me. Nevertheless he still produces amazing products and does not complain about the process he uses. 

Growing up with my father being a principal, I also paid attention to education. I have met a few children and heard about how next year for high school they will be going hours away to live on their own just so they can attend a decent high school. This is very common and many of the people that have graduated from a university had done the same thing at that age. I would like to address that barrier someday but first I need to ask what is the cause? Is it the teachers themselves? Lack of money is the most common reason, but is there something deeper?

As we continue to visit extremely talented and smart artisans, I cannot help but see the potential that exists behind their work. In particular, the artisan I am assigned to work with makes beautiful hammocks and is looking for new products to make. His technique is time consuming and limits him and his wife to making only 3 hammocks a day (4 hours per hammock). Their business is great because they do not have much competition so they are looking to expand their product line. It has been a bit of a struggle finding a product that they could make using their same technique. I believe that if they could learn to knit, which I think they could pick up on very quickly, they could find a larger variety of products to contribute to their market. But, making hammocks is all they know because it has been taught for generations. It is part of their culture. In the states, we are constantly trying to attain as many skills as possible so it is very different here because the artisans are not always open to learning a new trade because of lack of time or even their own self confidence. They know what they are good at and they excel in that area so that they are content...That, I did not expect.

jueves, 18 de mayo de 2017

Goals Goals & More Goals

As I head off to spend 1/3 of my summer in Bucerias, Mexico, I come to realize that 4 weeks really is not as long as I had initially thought.. That being said, I quickly narrowed down my goals and attempted to be as realistic as possible!

For a personal goal this summer, I would like to learn how to recognize the strengths of my team members by the end of the internship. Teamwork is essential for our project and our collaboration will become much easier if we are aware of each member’s strengths and weaknesses. The quicker we can understand what each member has to offer, the more effective and efficiently we can work as a team. I plan on accomplishing this goal by using self reflection and making sure I am learning from each member on my team. During the internship I will be able to measure the progress I have made when it comes time to delegate roles for the project. My goal is realistic because I will be spending every day with my team members so it would be impossible to not learn more about them! None of us have been close prior to this trip (besides Kyle and Alex obviously <3) and our main interactions have only taken place during class so there is plenty for me to learn!

From an educational standpoint, I am eager to pick up on the language and learn how to effectively communicate in an appropriate manner at a basic level. Although I am Mexican myself, I really do not know what to expect! Overcoming the language barrier will not only be useful for the time I spend here, but it will also allow me to communicate with my family that is from Mexico which would improve our overall relationship. On top of that, I want to become more informed about responsible tourism considering that is our topic of interest. The more credible I can become through the research I do, the better! This will allow me to be able to strategically help local businesses thrive and limit the negative effects that tourism may have on them. Responsible tourism is certainly not a topic many people consider so it is important to educate ourselves with the intention of educating others on how to be responsible tourists. I might even be able to convince my dad to vacation down here some day... responsibly, of course. Regardless, I am eager to be out of my comfort zone and see what I can learn!

Levels of Perception

For my last post I want to tie my experience together with the theme of PERCEPTION . For me, this was a very important topic to discuss and ...