Humane: Do Some Good
"Better Together" is the way of Mexico
I am in Mexico for a month, gathering stories from Rotarians, their spouses, friends, and local community members who are upgrading a high school in Las Varas and a small elementary school in Las Palmas. I asked some of the old-time Rotary International volunteers who have been on many projects: how has the experience changed you?
One woman thought for a minute, and said, "Well, I've been on five or six of these projects and I noticed something about the way I behave when I return to Berkeley. Now, when I walk down the street and see a group of African-American teenagers coming my way, I no longer feel that old instant reflex to cross the street. Now I simply smile as I pass."
At dinner one evening, I asked the same question to a woman sitting across from me. She also had to think for a minute. I said, "Just think about. We can talk later." I thought maybe she didn't want to disclose anything personal while at the table in hearing shot of others. But then, after only a few seconds, she said, "The first time I came on one of these projects, I was assigned to paint a wall. I got up on the ladder and began. In a few minutes, a couple other ladders appeared each side of me and Mexican men and woman joined me at the top of the wall. I have to say that I felt uncomfortable. I'm used to working alone, and rather like it that way, but nevertheless, was not about to tell them to leave! As the days went by, and each time I began a new task, I found myself encircled by locals, ready to help me. I loosened up a bit, and started to appreciate their different way of doing things, and actually, you know, I just have to say it, I even liked having the help! Despite the language barrier, we were able to communicate. It's amazing how much you can convey with a smile and a nod."
It's one thing to travel the world, it's quite another to spend some time in your travels working alongside your fellow Earthmates who happen to breathe the same air, marvel at the same sunsets, and look up at the same stars every night.
Rotary International brings together leaders from all continents, cultures, and occupations who step forward to create positive change at home and abroad.
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