During the summer of 2013 I embarked on a privately promoted trip to Mexico for humanitarian efforts. I explored parts of Mexico City, Morelos, San Cristobal, Chiapas, and Guadalajara. During this experience, I met some of the most inspiring people I have ever encountered in my life. The people living in these regions of Mexico were clearly living below the poverty line. Specifically, in a little village named La Pege De Oro within Chiapas, the people lived in small huts that they built themselves. They cooked on open fires and slept on a sheet on the floor. However, everyone within the families worked to make sure that everyone had food to eat at night. Instead of neglecting their problems and reverting to drinking or acting in a counterproductive ways, they focused their negative energy into work and love. The families in these regions demonstrated that they really could invest time to get know and love their children – sometimes better than most families that I have seen in the United States.
But, let’s talk about the astounding drive for education some of these people had. A girl named Guadalupe demonstrated a strong thirst for learning within Chiapas. She worked day and night to try and save up for a local education in the region. She wanted to learn English and eventually head to an American college. She hoped to find an entry-level job afterwards and work her way up to the elite business sectors of Mexico. Lupe originally never attended a school, but she taught herself to read and write. While her spelling and grammar in her native language were not perfect, the amount of effort it took to self-teach such a vital part of day-to-day life was inspiring. Lupe’s story is certainly moving; however, there is one saddening aspect. Lupe was kicked out of her home due to her incredulous love for learning. As a girl in this enclosed part of Mexico, Lupe was never given the opportunities or the resources to get an education. It was simply frowned upon. Therefore, she went to live with this man that agreed to support her. At the young age of seventeen, Lupe got married and ended any potential for a future within that region of Mexico. Once a woman is married, she must remain with her husband. Today, Lupe is a great friend of mine that I call constantly and hope to visit soon. We constantly speak about the opportunities she will have once she finishes her primary education and gets divorced; however, we both see the unfortunate improbability of that outcome. All women should take Lupe as an example. Plenty of us despise school, are frustrated with certain teachers, or struggle with the thought of continued education. We need to be grateful that we even have the opportunity to learn. And, if you are in a situation even remotely close to Lupe’s, let us know. This community can help you break free from that environment. Don’t be scared to open up. We are a site dedicated to making you share your story."