So far this internship has hit all my expectations. I expected to be emerged into the culture and lives of local artisans. I hoped to talk to local artisan and hear their stories in person. I hope to walk around the neighborhood and feel like home.
What I did not expect and I am humbled to have met people like Jorge, Martin and Damien. All three amazing men that were open about sharing their experiences and knowledge about the culture in Nayarit. I have learned to take in this information that all three have given me and spread awareness about it. There is not a lot of ways where I can help the 5 tribes in Nayarit, but I can bring awareness of their culture and traditions.
Exploring the cobblestone streets of San Sebastian and learning the towns history and secrets from Jorge, our guide, was heartwarming. Learning about different parts of Mexico is a dream come true for me. Through the stories I hear, I understand Mexico’s past such as the Revolution. I had no clue buildings, such as the church, would make holes through their walls which were used for guns during the revolution.
When traveling to Tepic, away from the coast, away from the tourism – I loved it. Tepic reminded me of my hometown. Martin was our tour guide for most of the visit. His stories were my favorite. We sat and talked about what my views in life our, being raise as a Mexican-American. One thing he said to me is, “I know you will return to Mexico and live here. And when that happens you have a home with me. You will be someone in life, and you will prove your family wrong.” For only knowing me a couple of hours, his words meant so much to me. I wish to explore the sierra one day like he does, living among the natives. I know I will see him again one day.
Damian, a Huichol, left me amazed with how much he loves his indigenous community. I’m amazed even after leaving his town with his parents to pursue an education he still wants to return and bring awareness to his community and show to tourist what his community really is. The whole family were so welcoming and open about their traditions. I felt honored to have been hosted by him and his family and have been welcomed with a traditional meal.
Everyone is so open about talking about their experience. With a simple question they are willing to tell us anything we are curious about. The needs of the community is the need of responsible tourism, without them knowing the term really exists.
There needs to be a better understanding when tourism comes to these towns to explore responsibly. To help the host community better themselves rather than affect them. When hearing Damian and his plans to bring tourism to his indigenous community through tours in the following years, not to advertise his community but to bring awareness of their existence and traditions, was extremely humbling.
These opportunities of meeting people like Damian, Martin and Jorge is what gives me learning points on how to better my community at home as well as local communities in Mexico.