¡Hola, amigos! Hemos estado a México para 10 dias.
We just finished our first week of work. It feels good to have a routine for a while. We have been working with the Epiphytes Garden in beautiful San Cristóbal de las Casas.
As I prepare throughout our travels to be a farmer, I am happy to discover that I have no problem doing hard work on the land. Even though we are only working for about four hours per day, I feel confident that I will be able to handle the work load of a new farm. Surely, I feel sore in the morning, but not overly so. And I have blisters on my hands, but skin toughens over time. Most mornings I have awoken early enough to have time to meditate on the rooftop.
It has been a pleasure working with the eclectic group of volunteers. We are making fast friends. There are volunteers from Norway, France, Belgium, Mexico, Korea and USA on our project team. We haven’t met many Americans in this city. Or, as we are called here, Norte Americanos: North Americans. Because Mexicans rightfully view themselves as Americans as well.
With this group of volunteers and locals (five locals working with us), the language alternates between English and Spanish, but is usually English. We feel quite privileged to speak English natively as it is the lingua franca around the world. At the same time, we are not abusing this privilege and are making efforts to learn Spanish. We are learning more every day. I hope to continue to learn Spanish over the next few years.
We have stayed in two different hostels in San Cristobal de las Casas. For the first three nights, we stayed in a hostel with free drinking water, use of a kitchen, and free breakfast. With our volunteer program through Nataté, our fee includes our current accommodations at Hostal del Centro. The location is wonderful, and the room is spacious. We volunteers mostly have the entire building to ourselves. However, there is little-to-no hot water, the rooms smell rather musty, our restroom doesn’t have a toilet seat, and our bed and door both broke. It is certainly not the end of the world as it is mostly just a place to sleep and (cold) shower, but our stay would certainly be more pleasant in a slightly nicer place. However, I get the sort of feeling that all of this is just making our whole travel experience more rich and complete.
One more week of volunteer work, and then we go to Belize for camping and learning. This weekend we are visiting a Zapatista community and going on a hiking tour.