Guanajuato, Mexico - Summer 2004
Working with the organization Amigos de las Americas for a second time, I lived in Guanajuato, Mexico for ten weeks. Amigos is an organization focused on cultural exchange through in-community living situations for American students while also performing a development project in one of four areas: (i) local culture promotion, (ii) youth-to-youth leadership collaboration, (iii) healthly households, or (iv) community nutrition.
I acted as a project supervisor. My role involved overseeing the in-community projects being carried out by other Amigos participants on my route. (In-community projects are what I carried out as an Amigo in Bolivia). My route consisted of nine students (eight high schoolers and one uni graduate) in four different communities who organized daily nutrition classes for the children in their respective villages. In addition to this core program my projects included community-based initiative (CBI) secondary projects. It was in this area that I threw the weight of my concentration during the summer, co-writing a grant with community members that would - after hours of meeting personally with the city officials - eventually octuple our existing budget for the CBI in two communities and allowing the construction of playgrounds in each.
At the end of the day, my project in Guanajuato turned out to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. Coordinating projects and secondary projects in four communities, keeping track and ensuring the safety and health of nine participants, and all the while performing these tasks in a second language was difficult, but ultimately proved character I'd hoped I had.