I have successfully gotten settled into my new home for the next year. My host mother, Ofelia, lives here with Andrea who works at a nearby restaurant. (It is called Las Mananitas and is one of the most expensive restaurants in town... check out the website and you will see why!)
Leaving our Mexico orientation was a bit sad as I enjoyed my time with my friends, but I am also eager to see what awaits me this year. I think it is safe to say that all of us are both excited and nervous. Though we all stayed in the convent here in Cuernavaca for 10 days, it seemed we hadn't really left home. It was our own little sanctuary to return to after a day of site visits and whatnot. So when Ofelia arrived to take me away, I was a little frightened to leave everyone. But this is how the program works... we mustn't hide ourselves away as a group of Americans. I know after time everything --including my Spanish-- will feel comfortable.
Tomorrow I officially begin my job with "La Red". I am taking a day trip to Mexico City (D.F.) with my supervisor to have a general meeting with people involved in the planning of the movement. It is really serendipitous that this is happening on my first day, sort of my own personal orientation to what is happening. It will also be extremely important because I can meet some of the key people in the group. Especially in organizations such as this one, it is critical that people feel they can trust the other members. I will be able to get to know the people as well as let them know who I am.
This is a very exciting moment in time for me to be involved in La Red. They are becoming better recognized, more popular, and carry more weight with the things they are saying. Starting on September 9th, we were invited to visit 6 different states in the southern part of Mexico. Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Guerrero, Juchitan, and Puebla. The caravan hopes to engage the people of these states with four questions:
1) How is the state affected by the war on drugs?
2) What strategies are being used by the host state to confront the war?
3) In what ways do the mission of "La Red" and those of the host coincide?
4) What actions together can we take to help stop the war and build peace?
The caravan will conclude on September 19th in Mexico City with a speech in the central square (zocolo). It is a big deal for "La Red" and for Mexico. It is a piece of how this movement seeks justice and dignity for all the people killed by drug violence.
I will find out more about what will happen and how in the next few days. So sit tight and I'll let you know as soon as I know more. :)
I will leave you with what my supervisor left me with after my site visit: "No hay caminos para la paz, la Paz es el camino. -Ghandi" (There is no path for peace, peace is the path.)