San Jose Staff Helping in Mexico
During the last week of February, San Jose staff member, Paul Spitzmueller, who also teaches at Bellarmine College Preparatory went to Guaymas, Mexico with eleven high school students to volunteer his time to a community in need of support. The trip had a few goals in mind that included an immersion experience into Mexican culture, accompaniment with the people they serve, and finally, to understand their context in the setting of global poverty. Both the school and the trip aimed to move students into a space that challenged their traditional ways of thinking.
The days consisted of working with a Franciscan community in the morning, fulfilling certain projects that needed to be complete (ie. community clean up jobs, interacting with the youth, etc…). This year, they returned to a house covered in tasteless graffiti. They scraped the paint off, re-painted the surface, and replaced them with student-painted murals of Mother Theresa and Jesus. As a side note, they've found from past experiences that walls with murals (typically with a Christian theme) are respected and valued much more by the community and tend to be preserved better than blank walls that are seen as empty canvases. The students who did not work on the mural planted a garden. In the afternoon, they served food at the soup kitchen and listened to the stories of the local homeless. For many of the students, this was their first time hearing Spanish spoken exclusively at meals, providing a good challenge and opportunity to deal with their comfort zones. During the evenings, they went to a local boys and girls club to play with you kids that ranged from 7-12. This club is the only kind in town, started by an American 14 years ago, it serves as a social outlet for kids to go and play safely with others as soon as school lets out. It's an effective way to keep them off of the streets where they are exposed to drugs and violence.
Labels: community, san jose