Wow, it’s really been a rollercoaster, hasn’t it? It seems like yesterday when we boarded the plane to Mexico! This trip has been incredible, and I am so thankful for this opportunity. I will admit there have been a few challenges along the way, some parts where I’ve felt the full effects of culture shock, homesickness, and feeling physically strange from the altitude. Can you believe that where we are staying in Mexico City, Roma Sur is 2240 meters above sea level? It’s even higher at the IBERO campus in Santa Fé at 2545m above sea level!
My favourite NGO: Centro Menses
We visited Centro Menses in Santa Fe, a non-governmental organisation established by IBERO that focuses on community and social service. Ibero already places a strong emphasis on social service as a university. Nonetheless, you can see it in action here. Centro Meneses offers alternative education for all ages, from the fundamentals to higher education and life skills. This organisation provides the community with a wide range of services, including nutritionists, psychologists, and legal assistance.
The theory over the past few weeks has been incredibly fascinating. It has opened my eyes to many different topics and perspectives on those. The subjects/social issues we’ve touched on so far have been: human rights in week 1, migration in week 2, indigenous studies in week 3, and now currently, as I write this, we are looking at poverty which is a topic I am very interested in not just in a Mexican context, but the effects and what it looks like across countries. More specifically, I am interested in learning more about when poverty and healthcare intersect and how that affects populations and people as individuals.
One of the largest displays of inequality and the gap between the wealthy and the poor is in Santa Fe’s vicinity. On one side of Santa Fe live prominent skyscrapers housing highrise apartments, new glossy stores that cost more than my monthly food shop at Countdown, and organic food stores adorning the streets.
In contrast, the majority of Santa Fe does not look like this. Centro Meneses’s location seemed vastly different to the Santa Fe we all knew was where IBERO was situated. The Santa Fe area we all knew and spent most of our time at was, in reality, more of an idyllic version of Mexico City which was always immaculately free of trash and had lots of greenery in public places.
A new friend from Mexico and I went to Tepoztlán. Tepoztlán is a small town two hours outside of Mexico City. It is quite a small town with mountains surrounding it and is one of Mexico’s “magic towns” or pueblos magicos. It has been my favourite place that I’ve visited during this trip.
In the town, we scaled the nearby mountain to visit the nearby Aztec pyramid conveniently located at the top. The pyramid was to pay tribute to the Aztec god of a Mexican drink called pulque. This god was called Tepoztēcatl, the Aztec god of the alcoholic beverage pulque. Whilst here, we came across some wild Coatíes. This was the first time I had ever come across such an animal. It appeared to look like a Mexican raccoon.
Climbing that mountain was something else; there was no straight path, and everything was ascending as fast as a graph showing exponential growth. The trail up the entire mountain was essentially stepping and gripping on rocks and occasionally a small brick path to rest.
After we visited the pyramids and descended the mountain, we visited the nearby street markets. After this, we thought, “hmm, it would be nice to get dinner somewhere nice”, so we went to a lovely restaurant with a view of the nearby mountains and lots of flora and fauna inside the garden.
Takis Fuego: My favourite snack
One fantastic snack that I’ve discovered and LOVE is Takis Fuego. I’ve heard multiple flavours and am excited to try them all. I think ill also bring quite a number back to New Zealand. Customs will get a big surprise if they have to open my bags!
I swear I’ve eaten so much that the red seasoning has turned my fingers red!