ElsieStorm's Travel Journals

ElsieStorm

 
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  • 34 years old
  • From Minnesota, United States
  • Currently in Oaxaca, Mexico

In attempts to become somewhat less Norwegian, and a little bit more Mexican....

My views on my first week in Oaxaca....

In attempts to become somewhat less Norwegian, and a little bit more Mexican....

Mexico Oaxaca, Mexico  |  Dec 18, 2009
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 And as I looked at that mother, walking through the streets with a baby strapped to her back, a basket of goods in one hand and a toddler in the other, I just thought about how strong of a woman she has to be 

….I have dyed my hair brown and have officially moved to Oaxaca. I’m here. And it is wonderful. Oaxaca is beautiful and is a delight for the senses - I am surrounded by lush mountains, gorgeous flowers that overhang cobblestone streets, barking dogs, brightly colored houses, fabulous music and delicious food. The food here is so good and healthy - it is by far the healthiest that I have eaten in months – and it’s fabulous!

I arrived to Oaxaca on Monday night and have been exhausted ever since I got here, as my body and mind are still trying to adjust to living in a new country. I find that I am understanding Spanish well, however am struggling with forming sentences and trying to speak it consistently. I think that part of the reason that I am so exhausted all of the time is because my mind has to concentrate so hard on what everyone is saying, and it just completely wears me out. However, I am beginning Spanish classes next week and am hopeful that this will help to increase my comprehension.

While I’ve been here, I have found that I am experiencing a little bit of culture shock, especially when it comes to the vast differences between the rich and the poor. This is the first time where I have been to a country where there has been such a huge gap between those who have money and those who do not. Last night my colleagues and I were standing in the center square waiting to go to dinner and I noticed this small girl who could not have been older than two years old sitting alone on the sidewalk. As we walked by her, I couldn’t help but stare and wonder where her mother was. I kept watching her, until her mother finally showed up and I realized that her mom was one of those women who walk around trying to sell goods to people on the street. When she came back to her daughter, she took her by the hand and they started to walk away, and as they were walking away I noticed that this mother also was carrying a very small child on her back and as soon as I saw that tears began to well up in my eyes and I just started to cry. I thought about all of the mothers that I knew in my life and how almost all of them have had every resource available to them while raising their children, and how even with all of those resources, raising a baby (let alone a baby and a toddler) is still an extremely difficult job. And as I looked at that mother, walking through the streets with a baby strapped to her back, a basket of goods in one hand and a toddler in the other, I just thought about how strong of a woman she has to be and how even when I think that my life is hard, it will never be as hard as hers is. Knowing that just made my heart feel completely overwhelmed and I just stood there with tears running down my cheeks. While I was standing there watching her walk away, my co-worker said to me “She may not have a lot, but she does have love…she does this for the love that she has for her children.” And when he said that, I realized how right he was, that even though even she hardly had anything, she had enough love for her children to be walking through the streets at 8:00 pm, trying to make a living to support them in whatever way she could.

I’ve been thinking about this mother and all mothers in general ever since we left the square last night, and I have decided that while I am here in Oaxaca that I am going to do what I can to help support the women and children that are here. Tomorrow we are going to a women’s cooperative called Vida Nueva to help out with their annual community service project. I’ve heard that you can buy good presents there that in return help support the women there, so for those of you who are expecting Christmas presents from me, there is a chance that I will be buying them tomorrow.

I wish that I had a picture of the little girl to post, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking her picture. At some point, when the time is right I will post up some pictures of the poverty that can be so prevalent here at times, but I can’t do that until I can make sure I am able to take them in a respectful manner.

However, for the time being here are some pictures of my time here.....xoxoxo

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  • User Profile Photo
    Joy wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2010
    R U Elsie, Grant J's friend from Duluth? I stumbled upon your posting while doing some research on NGO's and water filters for a class I am teaching. I hope that your experience in Oaxaca will be great. Have you tried the banana leaf wrapped tamales?

    Joy (Grant's aunt from Mpls)
  • User Profile Photo
    Anna12345 has read ElsieStorm's journal and gave it a thumbs up Fri Dec 18, 2009
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    Great post! I'm interested to keep reading especially while I'm sadly not in Oaxaca...
  • In attempts to become somewhat less Norwegian, and a little bit more Mexican....

    December 18, 2009
    3 Photos | No Video

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