Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm HOME!!

Hola, everyone!

I don't even know where to start! The trip was absolutely amazing. I learned so much and got so attached to the people (especially the kids) of Bautista Grande.

It was such a wonderful experience -- We helped fund and begin two construction projects: a new bathroom and a well, providing them with a reliable water source as opposed to the rain-catching basins they currently use.

We also were able to teach a LOT in the classrooms (both education AND health lessons), which was SO much fun! The kids are super energetic and it helps us learn directly from them while they learn from us as well. It is always something different and with each grade came new challenges and obstacles to overcome while teaching. While the villagers were down in Chamula for a festival, we stripped the walls and washed and painted the classrooms. It's amazing what a coat of paint can do to a room!

The medical committee had the opportunity to complete a number of projects, one of which was the health fair. Our entire team helped out with booths teaching and demonstrating handwashing, blood pressure, first aid, food safety, toothbrushing, and nutrition. The villagers seemed to be very interested and I know many mothers were especially eager to learn so they could better their lives. What an amazing feeling. Along with the health fair, we also collected heights and weights of gradeschool children to calculate and chart BMIs, handed out hygiene kits, and did eyesight screenings.

Because of the cultural committee's great planning, we taught the children a dance and participated in a flash-mob at the closing ceremonies. The kids had a LOT of fun (and we did too!). We also painted a mural on a wall outside a building in the village. It turned out GREAT and we all were able to participate in the painting.

Microenterprise was able to work hand in hand with a government microfinance group called Ban Chiapas and actually granted a loan to a small business of 7 people who make clothing so they can improve their business.

Along with our work in the village, we had the opportunity to go shopping downtown San Cristobal, where there was a huge open market along with many shops along a pedestrian street. We ate good food (including Domino's Pizza when we started craving familiar American food!), and explored a lot. We had the opportunity to attend a local San Cristobal LDS ward one Sunday (SO cool) and also took a boat ride down Chiapas' Sumidero Canyon. It was pouring down rain, so we were cold, wet, and didn't get to see any crocodiles, but the canyon was GORGEOUS!!

I am SO grateful for this opportunity. I am even thinking of studying global health along with my nutrition degree. Wouldn't that be amazing?



  1. Jess, these pics are AWESOME!!! I'm so glad you had a good time. What an amazing opportunity! :) I'm way jealous.

  2. What BEAUTIFUL pictures Jessica. You are so talented! I'm so glad you had the chance of a lifetime to make a difference in other people's lives. I'm sure they will never forget you! Love you...