Today, the school has hopes that the children can one day have more opportunities and choices than their parents, because before the school was started, there could be seen in the neighborhood a vicious cycle of mothers and children not being educated. Ever since the school has opened, however, there has been a great sense of community between these families, as their children are able to receive the education they never had.
Seeing this school was a huge inspiration to me, knowing that efforts to improve the cycle of poverty can be made on such small levels, and yet make such a huge difference in the community. The leader of the school said that they have been able to educate the community through the children, even through teaching basics like personal hygiene and manners. It was adorable for me to see this played out when the three to five year olds “nos saludaban”, or greeted us, by giving us all a kiss on the cheek when we arrived, which is a common custom for many Mexicans.
I know that this experience will stay with all of us future social workers when we are working in the United States or elsewhere. While this excursion was directly related to our Policy and Social Work classes, we also had an enriching week within our Mexican Historical Context course. We learned about many aspects of Mexico’s history, the most significant to me being Mexico’s Independence from Spain. The war started in 1810 and lasted 11 years, finally ending in independence in 1821.
The gift that France gave Mexico in 1910, celebrating the centennial of independence – a beautiful statue called the Angel of Independence, which is in Mexico City.
I truly think it is important for us as social workers and as students to learn about this and all aspects of Mexican history and culture. It will be vital when we are eventually working with people from this amazing country. It will help us to understand where Mexicans are coming from, and to realize similarities and differences in our histories, which have inevitably influenced our different cultures. I can only say I am excited to further this understanding in the future weeks of this program, and I know the other students are as well.
At the base of the Angel of Independence are some of the important heroes of Mexico’s War of Independence, including Miguel Hidalgo.
--By Whitney Boyer