Sunday Snippet: It’s The People!
As directors of WeHaKee Camp for Girls, we understand the significant impact the camp has on people who participate in its empowering programs. During our recent trip to the beautiful country of Mexico to visit with alumnae and meet families new to the camp, we gained a deeper realization of the remarkable impact the girls and young women had and continue to have on Camp WeHaKee. Girls from Mexico have been attending WeHaKee for many generations – some of our current Mexican campers are third-generation attendees – and the impact these generations have had on Camp WeHaKee is quite clear!
In our first visit to Mexico, we along with Margaret (‘Thatch’), did our best to immerse ourselves in Mexican history and culture by way of our many generous and knowledgeable hosts. As we explored Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City), Puebla and Monterrey, along with enjoying a wide variety of tasty cuisine, we learned important cultural and historical information such as Mexico’s Independence Day is actually September 16 (not Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th as commonly believed in the US) and that the Hispanic culture and Aztec cultures have a blended influence on the greater Mexican culture (unlike the attempted elimination of Native cultures into the arriving European cultures that occurred in the United States). But the most important lesson learned in our brief but meaningful visit is that what makes Mexico such an amazing country is the people!
From the moment we stepped off our plane, we found the people to be warm and welcoming. In the current political climate we were a bit apprehensive as to how we might be received, but our anxieties were quickly erased as we found people willing to help and guide us during our very first visit to our southern neighbors! Although we speak very little Spanish (Hola, Gracias, Baño!), we never felt looked down upon. Instead we found the people to be patient and helpful wherever we went. In addition, we found the Mexican people to be proud of their culture and history and always willing to share their pride in a friendly and educational manner. It was never aggressive or divisive, rather it was informative and celebrative! The popular phrase ‘mi casa es su casa’ (my house is your house) is not just a catchy slogan, it is a deeply held value. We truly felt a sense that the people of Mexico simply want us to enjoy what they enjoy!
‘Worlds Apart, Coming Together’ – the slogan found on the mural in the center of Camp WeHaKee – is what we truly experienced during our short but amazing trip to Mexico. And as we find each summer on the shores of Hunter Lake, the commonalities we share far outweigh our differences. As we embrace our differences in an accepting and enthusiastic way, we can do our part to bring our far apart worlds just a bit closer… camper by camper!
We thank so many who welcomed us warmly to Mexico and helped us ‘enjoy what you enjoy’ – Ana Gaby, Ramon, Ana, Francisco, Mariageles, Jose, Miguel and ‘little’ Maria, Sofia, Ingrid, Walter, Mariana, Paola, Marinieves, Pia, Mercedes, Ivonne (Alma), Adrianna, Andrea, Claudia, Armando, Paula and many, many other! We cannot wait to return and we promise not to wait another 15 years!
Thank you for reading and enjoy your week!