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Journals from Instituto Cultural Oaxaca - Oaxaca, Mexico

2014-03-19 Over a Month

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Hierve el Agua Fun!

It is hard to believe that I have been in Mexico for just over a month now! Things are starting to feel more familiar, such as having routines and getting better at navigating the city. I have been getting a better sense of the layout of the city and learning how the transportation system works. Since my last journal entry I have gone on a couple different excursions and have started teaching English classes in Teotitlán de Valle. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we take combinations of either buses, a van, and/or taxis to Teotitlán de Valle. There we have the opportunity to teach English to a variety of people using the town hall as a school. We are divided up into pairs or groups of three, and each group has a level of students to teach. Most of the students are children, but there also a few adults who are interested in learning English, in order to help them communicate better with tourists who may not know Spanish. Teotitlán is known for their production of hand woven rugs, and by being able to communicate better with tourists would help their businesses. I help teach a group of 7- to 11- year-old children with another Linfield student who is an education major. Overall I have enjoyed teaching in Teotitlán, even though I am not an education major like the majority of the Linfield group here in Mexico, I am actually a nursing major. The excursions I have been on include going to Hierve el Agua and San Martín Huamelúlpam. To get to Hierve el Agua I took a taxi with three other people from the Linfield group to Mitla. From there we took an hour or so long trip in a camioneta, which was a truck with seats in the cab and a place in the back of the truck for people to sit as well. The road was very curvy, but the views were amazing as we traveled up the hill. Finally, we reached the top of the hill where Hierve el Agua was located. Walking just a little further on a trail, we reached the water. Hierve el Agua is a pool from a spring that bubbles up out of the ground. We went for a swim in the pool and found the it to be surprisingly cold and salty. The view from Hierve el Agua was also amazing because it was surrounded by large hills. San Martín Huamelúlpam was an excursion that the whole group went on. Getting an early start, we all piled into a van which we rode in for about two and half hours to reach the small town. Our first stop in the town was at a middle school to learn about how rural schools work in Oaxaca. When we arrived, we were welcomed by the school and led to the library for a meeting with some of the staff members. This meeting enabled us to learn about the types of classes taught, how the school works, and what materials they receive from the government and parents--and what they lack. It was interesting how much support the parents provide there. Parents constructed the library we were in and every day lunch is made for the students by parents at the school. We then had the opportunity to interact with students through simple activities. After that, we enjoyed lunch, thanks to the parents, and then went to a presentation about the town that a few of the students put together. Our next stop in San Martín Huamelúlpam was to the city hall for a meeting with some officials that helped us understand the school systems in Oaxaca from their experiences, followed by a visit to the community museum. The museum had different artifacts as well as information on some of the old medical techniques and remedies that had been used. Our last stop was to an archaeological dig site located within the city. We climbed to the top and were able to see the city and the surrounding hills. There was also an old, empty tomb that we were able to go into as well. So far this trip has provided me with many opportunities to learn about different parts of the history of Oaxaca as well as to experience and learn about different cultures. I look forward to learning more! Until Next Time, Shelby

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