Today is day 5 in Mexcio and I am clearly in the honeymoon stage of settling in. I loooove everything...the weather, the food, my host family, my spanish school, the buses. While I could do a whole blog on each of these topics, I'll do a really brief synopsis as this week I want to share with you about an experience I had on Saturday.
On Saturday, I went with my hosts Angeles and Fernando to celebrate mass at a local Federal Prison. Angeles and I boarded a bus at about 2:30 and rode for an hour. We got off, met some other people and waited for another hour. More people, cars and a cube van arrived and then we drove to prison, about another 15 minutes away. We all had to sign in 4 times, surrender our ID (in my case my passport), was stamped with invisible ink, and was patted down. We then walked through some fenced areas into the exercise yard. Lots of food appeared (I didn't realize we were serving a meal) and the inmates lined up. I gave each person a mango. I am not yet clear if the government provides only a bit of food, or no food, but it is clear that the inmates eat when food is brought in or when family members bring it. Visitors must wear red or pink, the two colours inmates aren't allowed to wear. After the meal, there was a very quick clean up and mass was celebrated, including a talented worship band of inmates with guitars and a large instrument, I think was a bass cello. The inmates were very appreciative of this group, who spends almost all day Saturday with them each week. Like in Canada, the prison culture and hierarchy was visible in many ways. Inmates can were jewelery such as watches, brackets and rings. Some people had very expensive jewelery and some people clearly had nothing. It was an incredibly moving experience and at same time (as I found Canadian jails) to be very sad all at the same time.
This week, I'll continue learning Spanish and adjusting to life in Cuernavaca, the city of eternal spring. Let me know if you have particular questions and I'll try to address them in future blogs!