Tuesday our group had a busy day, starting off with an excursion to the Congreso de Morelos (Congress of Morelos). We met with Laura Alejandro Ramirez Verduzco, Asesora Direccion de Desarrollo Legislativo (Advisor of Legislative Development). She gave us a tour of the Congress building and talked to us about what goes on there everyday. She told us about some of the currents issues being discussed in Congress, such as Dengue and the mosquito fumigation project, the current swine flu crisis, clinic for women’s health issues and indigenous rights. The majority of seats held at Congress are by the PAN (National Action Party), with 14. The others are held by the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), PRD (Democratic Revolution Party), New Alliance, Green and Independent senators.
CEMAL students sitting in Morelos´ Congress
Up next in the day, we left for an exciting visit to Juan Cintron’s  house. Juan Cintron is the owner of Floto Mex, a car part manufacturer, whose international business runs out of Cuernavaca. Cintron talked to us about a wide variety of issues, from his big theme of education, to poverty, NAFTA, Mexican Politics, business and immigration issues. His big topic of education really stood out to a lot of us listening from a social work perspective. He talked about how depriving people of education means condemning them to a life of poverty. Overall, Cintron was a very refreshing speaker and challenged us to think differently about our own social nets that are set up in our countries. One thing he said that stuck with me is that as social workers we’ll be “helping people survive the system and not succeed it.” A negative aspect of our job that sometimes becomes a reality. This was a very provoking thought and put my future of social work into a different perspective.
Mexican Flags hanging over senate seats
The rest of the week we were busy with classes and getting papers written for our final weeks here. This weekend was a holiday that brought us some adventures. Friday a number of us spent the day on a trip to the Zoofari outside Cuernavaca. Que padre! We traveled in the vans about 45 minutes away to zoo that you drove through with live interaction with the animals. A giraffe greeted us by sticking it’s head into the van to eat some of the food we purchased before hand. A monkey through a rock at a student, we met a very hungry hippo, a camel took another student’s entire bowel of food and we all took turns sitting and taking a picture with the jaguar. Overall it was a wonderful day and probably the best zoo experience I’ve ever had.
A giraffe greets us as we enter the Zoofari!
--By Devin Thomas
 Laura Alejandro Ramirez Verduzco, Advisor of Legislative Development at the Morelos, Mexico Congress; tour on April 28, 2009 of the Congress of Morelos in Cuernavaca, Morelos, MEXICO.
 Juan Cintron, owner of a car part manufacturer called Floto Mex in Cuernavaca, Mexico; conversation on April 28, 2009 in Cuernavaca, Morelos, MEXICO.