Kate in Mexico

Kate, a senior psychology major, is participating in SMU-in-Oaxaca during Winter Term. The group will spend two weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico, and then travel to the Sierra Madre mountains for a week. While in Oaxaca, the group will take classes on ceramics, weaving and painting with talented craftsmen. The students also will engage in a service learning project, will enjoy Mexican traditions related to the holiday season and will collect oral histories.

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The Magical Town of Calpulalpan

We are in an even smaller town in Mexico, Calpulalpan, which is home to less than 3,000 citizens and again is operated on a communal system. The town is run by a committee, and everyone has a job they do without pay.

Calpulalpan is considered a “Magical Town” by the tourism department of Mexico. We have had ample downtime here, and today four of us enjoyed a very nice hike. We hiked for a little over three hours and were able to view many indigenous plants and animals to the area.

It was raining a bit and is quite cold, but we enjoyed every minute of our hike. We were able to visit a fresh spring, where another girl and I were either insane or brilliant and had some water straight from the stream. Our guide spoke only Spanish, and we spoke very little, so we think he said it would be all right but we are not certain.

The cabins we are staying in are very nice and have large fireplaces to keep us warm. Everyone in the town knows everyone, and so we are well received anywhere we travel. Yesterday we got to see some children practicing their music – their teacher quit but they love music so much they practice on their own. We distributed some of the school supplies we have, and they played several songs. This area has a real small-town feel.

We are heading to the warmer side of the mountains tomorrow and because of the rain today are supposed to experience some rough roads, so our bus is going to be on the road no later than 7 am, which is early to all of us!

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