One of the final activities we did was to write down on slips of paper (about 4 each) a strong image, a new thought, something impactful, something radical, that we will take with us back to our daily lives from this week.

These were a great way to capture everyone’s different perceptions and to fill in the holes of how rich and complex our week was to create a mosaic of our experience to share with others and to remember ourselves.

Some of the most memorable occasions on this trip were…

Martha’s speech about the people of San Salvador Atenco fighting for the land and how she described the bandana and the machete really had an impact on me. Seeing how she talked about this victory being just the beginning filled me with passion for their cause.

What is the point of campaigning and all the posters with the PRI and the PAN if the Mexican government is corrupt and the candidate buys everyone out?

The many indigenous people in Mexico–their culture, their traditions, and their commitment to living in community.

The movement story of the Zapatistas really moved me as well. How the people saw they were being abused and exploited so they took up arms against the government but did not use weapons, but order and power speeches instead.

I cannot get the image of the policemen repeatedly raping and torturing the women of the indigenous community out of my head. All I can think about is the absence of justice and the darkness of humanity.

I have been shocked to discover how ignorant I was to the issues we have been dealing with. I hope to pursue learning more about the Latin American world.

It was neat to learn about & see the work of Maria in Cuentepec. It was hopeful to see these women getting resources from the government and improving their economic condition.

I really enjoyed learning about the Zapatista Movement.

While visiting the community at La Estación & interacting with a little girl, Elvira; it showed me how happy and content a child can be while living in that kind of environment.

“The other side of the story”
I feel that this week I have heard the other side of the story, opposed to what I’ve known my entire life in the U.S.A.

I really enjoyed listening to Martha and how her pueblo was not noticed but she and others did everything possible to take back her community.

The techno night really connected me with everyone. Everyone was dancing and I felt “socially accepted” in the Mexican community. And plus…I’m a dang good dancer.

Learning more about NAFTA and the consequences of free trade. The importance of sustainable livelihoods for all people but especially for those who work the land.

I want to go down to Chiapas and befriend the Zapatistas. I would love to see the community-building in action.

After learning about globalization & NAFTA I feel that I can now express to others in the states that may not know about it (I was one of them before coming here) and show them what I have learned from this experience.

I know Pastor Kim is telling us tomorrow, but I need to hear about what we, as US citizens, can do to help the conditions in Mexico and what actions or changes I can make in my lifestyle in California.

When we went to La Estación, the owner of the house said that she left to work at age 13 since her village did not think it is important to educate women. Also, when asked what she does on her free time, she said she has no free time but works all day.

Visiting the indigenous community on Thursday; it was the first time I truly felt that there was a lack of “western influence.”

I want to go home and invest in micro loans….Cuentepec’s grant for organic farming is AMAZING!

The model of shared leadership, education, and decision-making processes of the Zapatistas.

The speaker of San Salvador Atenco and her story of how women were treated was the thing that stuck with me the most.

I was really happy with this group and how interested and eager they were to learn about Mexico.

I was surprised at my reaction to the immigration video we just watched. Out of all the documentaries, this was the one that moved me to tears and I had to force them away.

The strength and perseverance of the various social justice movements in Mexico (Zapatistas, Atenco, etc.) and the USA (SOAW, No More Deaths) really drives me to be better informed and more civically engaged…to actively advocate as a local and global citizen. Do, walk, love.

Talking with Luke, Pastor Kim, and Sister Kathy about all the opportunities out there to do the kind of work I want to do. Seeing their passion and knowledge for these issues really inspired me.

National, continental, and global trade policy seems incredibly unjust and immoral. With great power (wealth, political influence) comes great responsibility. How on earth can I add my voice to create fair and sustainable changes in such a seemingly overwhelming system favoring those with the power?

I am really glad we learned about a few different injustices happening in Mexico. Honestly, I did not know about NAFTA, the WTO, the Zapatistas, and conditions of the campesinos. I also really enjoyed learning about all of these things.

The School of the Americas Watch. Sister Kathy’s story and her courageous will as an activist.

The people of San Salvador of Atenco. These indigenous people have inspired in me a sense of pursuit for social justice.

Does the control of media in Mexico remind you of the movie “V for Vendetta”? If so, can you imagine a “V” figure tapping into the network?

Who is responsible for change? The government or the people?

After meeting with the women in Cuentepec, I have strongly considered giving a micro loan through Kiva or another organization, because those are the kind of people it would be helping.

Though I do not believe everything Sister Kathy stated, she did impact me on the basis of what she believed needed to be done. I love having knowledge on all sides of stories, and this session made me want to just research more on U.S. policies.

I really (times a million) appreciate this trip after reflecting on the lifestyles I have seen or learned about in comparison to my own. This week has, hands down, been the most humbling course of events I have ever endured.

Going to the pyramids and reflecting on all of the amazing opportunities and experiences I have had in the last year.

Being exposed to the government corruption here really opened my eyes to how our government is corrupt as well and made me want to consider and think about and research that more.

Down with the School of Assassins and up for the construction of a training school for peace-makers.

I was surprised on how open the women were from La Estación and Cuentepec. I didn’t think they would be so open and welcoming.

La Estación. To be in a place so far removed from the places I see everyday in the U.S. is unnerving.

I liked how the Zapatistas stuck with us throughout the trip; it seemed so radical but we embraced it the most.

It made me sad to realize that there have to be foreigners to testify against the Mexican government in order to give credibility to the experiences of the Mexican women who were raped.

I also enjoyed the first discussion we had with the professor. I took a lot of knowledge from it– for example the best and bad presidents.

Getting to see the faces tied to a micro loan, the work that goes into developing programs around them, the pride that the cooperative members have/develop…this has definitely informed and inspired me. (Cuentepec, Artesanas Unidas, the leaders and members of those communities).

Pastor Kim and Luke’s seemingly endless knowledge on the problems of the Mexican people and their will to help them.

I also loved visiting the different indigenous communities because my parents are indigenous too and I don’t only get to see their point, but also about other people.

I am very easily hurt when mislead or lied to, so I was shocked and hurt to find out about the School of Americas. Unbelievable.

The prophetic voice and witness of Sister Kathy-for her hope, her vision of shalom, her hospitality towards others who may be of different mindsets than her own, and for her continued work for justice.

The women’s cooperative was a very powerful thing to learn about for me. I spend so much time dwelling on the problems of the world and possible solutions that it was amazing to see programs that I’ve only learned about in theory, in action.

After watching the documentary on the Zapatistas and hearing Martha speak about her village made me really want to learn more about the Zapatista movement.

In the documentary on the Zapatistas, there was a quote about women in Honduras or some country to the effect that, “What? They can work for Nike so they can buy lipstick?”