Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mexican social workers and a colorful trip!

This week the Social Work students met with Araceli Vallejo, who works in the Procuraduria de la Defensa del Menor y Familia  (The Office for the Protection of Children and Families) in Morelos, which is a part of the DIF – Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (National System for Integral Family Development), which is the Mexican public institution of social assistance.
I really enjoyed hearing about similarities and differences in child services programs between Mexico and the United States. For example, we learned about programs put in place here in Morelos for children who cannot remain in their homes. For example, in Morelos, if children need to be placed outside of their home, depending on their age they either live in a center for ages 0-11years and 11 months, or another center for the ages 12-17 and 11 months. She also described a piece of the adoption process. When assessing if a couple is a suitable for adopting a child, the Social Worker will interview both the husband and wife’s entire extended family as well as the neighbors.

I think this process demonstrates some of the differences in cultural values between Mexico and the United States, particularly the value placed on extended family. What do you think about this? How would you react in the United States if in the adoption process all your extended family and neighbors were contacted? Do you see a cultural difference there?

We also had an opportunity for adventure last week! Last Saturday we had an optional excursion to the Butterfly Sanctuary in Temascaltepec in the state of Mexico to see the mariposas monarcas. A few of us rode horses up the mountain to see the butterflies that clung to the trees in the forest and flew above the treetops. Our group had a picture-taking frenzy – we couldn’t resist posing with the butterflies!

Early the next morning we explored Toluca and visited the Cosmovitral, a stained glass mural and botanical gardens. The murals were colorful and beautiful especially with the morning sun. The sun shining through the stained glass had a great effect on then plants – they looked spray-painted!

After our tour around the Cosmovitral, we drove to the Nevado de Toluca, a stratovolcano near Toluca. Once we climbed to the top we had an awesome view of two crater lakes, the Lago del Sol and Lago de la Luna. For the first time this semester we had to bundle up with scarves and jackets!

CGE Mexico students at the Nevado de Toluca

Week 6 was fantastic and I can’t wait for more!

-- Anneliese Dion-Kindem