Last week, all of the residents of Casa CEMAL and Casa Verde loaded our suitcases into two vans and headed off for a five-day rural homestay. By the end our visit, I think that everyone in the Social Work and MG programs would agree that the tortillas that we ate in Amatlan were some of the best of our lives. Some of us even got to try our hand at making tortillas of our own. Personally I did not excel in this area, but I enjoyed eating the delicious, if lumpy and misshapen, results of my labor. In addition to our culinary adventures, we also had some really important experiences that will inform our careers as social workers.
|Host families and Students|
For me, the most influential part of the visit to Amatlan was hearing about the experiences of two men who had spent time working in the United States. It really felt like an honor that they were willing to share their emotion-laden stories with us. One had crossed the border without documents and one arrived with a work visa but, despite their differences in immigration status, they were both subjected to many hardships during their time in the U.S.
Seeing both men weep while recalling memories of injustice and mistreatment in the States along with the pain of separation from the family that they had been forced to leave behind in Mexico was moving. For me, it was enlightening to learn that these men did not plan on settling in the U.S., they didn’t even really want to be there, but poverty and a lack of jobs forced them there. Our experience in Amatlan opened a door to a different world- the world of Mexican workers in the U.S.- which will allow us to be both more informed social workers and more compassionate human beings.