Making Friends from Strangers
Our second week in Oaxaca is coming to an end and what a mix bag of emotions it has been. It seriously feels like we’ve been here for months. When we decided to come to Oaxaca we had a starting point and we had a goal but not that much in between, and to fill in that ‘in between’ has been both challenging and reassuring.
First of all, let’s not forget that simple things can become quite difficult here in Mexico; like for instance, the other day we spent close to two hours trying to get a photocopy of a phone bill. Yes, one photocopy of a document! It was neither enjoyable nor helpful, as it turned out we didn’t need it in the end.
We chased our tails like that at the start of this week trying to figure things out and it took us to different places from: ‘can we even do this?’ to ‘how the hell are we going to do this?’ to finally, ‘I think we have a chance’. And in those moments when we were second-guessing ourselves, we would take the time to think about our current position, the opportunities we have, and also how we could be back home wishing we could be doing something more purpose-driven. And after a long ride on the good ol' train of thought, we'd come back and feel reassured, we figured solutions and learned to keep our goals in focus and our drive simple. It's all about giving it a shot.
The beauty of these situation is the silver lining that usually comes along too: after visiting the artisan villages last week, we sat down to discuss the cooperatives we wanted to work with. A cooperative is essentially a group of people with the same values that come together to work towards common needs. We felt that above everything we were so touched by the women at GAAPI Women’s Weaving Cooperative in the rural village of Santo Tomas Jalieza. As soon as we walked into the co-op for the first time we felt that we were there for a reason. Co-op members Humberta and Betty warmly welcomed us and by the time we were leaving they were jokingly trying to plan a week-long wedding for us (ha!). They truly felt like family.
This week we went back and the feeling was the same, they received us with hugs and treated us to Memelas (Oaxacan snacks) and hours of conversation. We talked about their art, about what we are doing, about life in general, we laughed, we shared and it truly felt special. We were both experiencing the essence of our journey. Skye was even invited to make hand made tortillas on a woodfire stove, and was also taught the basics of weaving! It was a refreshing day and we walked away with a huge smile and with warm hearts.
Experiences like these have really helped us define a better sense of direction with our goals for this trip. Over the last 2 weeks we have taken the time to go out to nearby rural villages and meet people, talk to them and make friends from strangers, Oaxaca has proven to be an ideal place for that. -Mo.