Comments from Celestine Wanjalla

When I decided to take this class last semester, I really didn't think much of it. In fact, Mexico had never been a really big interest to me, though I was familiar with Acapulco and Cancun for their 'importance' as major recreation areas.

At the beginning of the spring semester I began reading the book, 'Mexican Lives' and this spurred more interest in me and gave me a general idea about the people and culture. However, this was just but a whisper of the beauty and uniqueness of a culture so pure yet modern.

Despite the poverty and difference in landscape, Mexico generally has the same road system like the US. The bigger towns have highway roads connecting them and within the towns are feeder roads.

The density of mountains in the country is so wonderfully placed making a 35hr drive seem like a 15hr drive. One concern I had was about deforestation which is so extensive that it might take double or even triple the time it took to destroy it - to rebuild it.

I learned so much from this trip and even if I tried there is only so much I can put down on paper. I learned about the beauty of life in its own right and how it can be met anywhere as long as one is willing to experience it. About how two people very similar yet very different, speaking different languages and having different cultures can have a good time together and learn from each other. I learned how to get peace or rather be at peace with myself by allowing my self to be captured by nature.

I had never snorkeled in water before, didn't even get to practice in my bath tab before I left. But now I can say I did and it felt great despite the fact that I drank so much water. There is this wonderful feeling when one swims so close to live shrimp and fish that they can almost feel their fins move.

The spirit of adventure was something that rejuvenated my energies and has put me back at the stand that, 'I can do anything in this life.' The first step was rolling rocks in search of a snake and knowing at the back of my mind that it was very possible to find a cobra lying there. My first and only individual catch in Mexico was a small frog, which we later identified to be Leptodactylus melanoties. All the students and teachers were so friendly and the learning atmosphere was great.

The experience with the inspection officers was also exciting. Kind of brings to mind that jungle beat and rhythm in my ears, like they have in the movies just before a lion gets its prey! Not that we had anything to worry about, but it was just the sense of not knowing what to expect and the fact that Dr. Moore would switch off the music as we approached them, and everyone would remain silent.

As I sit here and pick out what to tell you and how best, there is just so much that I cannot put down. You have to be there to see it and know what the experience is.

A Chinese proverb that Bruce mentioned while at Real de 14 is, ' the accomplishment of a 1000 mile walk begins with one step!'

I believe that this trip opened my eyes into being a better tourist. When I climbed the Quemado mountains and looked beyond the world, I felt I had conquered. Now I realize there are other higher mountains in life (both physical and symbolic) but it's just the beginning and I am gassed up!
Last updated on 16 April 2001.
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