We were actually able to catch our breath a little bit between the events and travelling from city to city we’ve been doing the past four days. But first, our wake-up came early at 4:00 a.m. in order to leave for the airport at 5:30 a.m. to catch our 7:50 flight to Tuxtla, Gutierrez. The drive to the airport was a bit harrowing as we woke up to quite the rain storm which left many streets flooded. Our bus driver took us a different way to avoid the flooded roads, but it ended up taking longer to get to the airport. Heavy traffic and flooded streets got us to the airport just in time to get through check-in, security and a bus ride to our plane. There was very little time to spare. That created a little anxiety for all of us.
We had a great experience on Viva Aerobus, the low cost / no frills airline of Mexico. Once again, we experienced the most gracious and courteous people in a service industry. The flight attendants were so friendly and helpful, I felt like I should tip them when we left the plane.
Even with an early flight, we didn’t arrive at the hotel until noon. For lunch, deb and I were able to enjoy a stuffed crust pizza at Domino’s. The stuffed crust pizza is one of the outcomes of the work that U.S. dairy farmers are doing with Domino’s which has helped increase cheese sales. It was fun to have this taste of home today. After lunch, deb and I did a radio interview with the Minnesota Farm Network, which heard about our trip here in Mexico and wanted to share it with their listeners.
Our hosts had a special treat for us for the late afternoon, which was a 3 hour boat ride on a river that took us through the immense, beautiful Sumidero Canyon. The canyon walls were 1000 meters high. Given the early mornings, long days and kilometers and kilometers of bus rides we have taken in the last four days, many of us were lulled to sleep off and on by the lapping of the waves against the boat. It was an amazing event and it allowed us all to catch a little bit of a break in our crazy schedule this week. We actually arrived back at the hotel before 9:00 tonight!
During the boat ride, and in between catnaps, many thoughts came to mind about what I learned this week:
– I can step outside of comfort zone more than I thought I could
– Mexico has beautiful tile floors everywhere, and they are slippery
– Rivers in Mexico have alligators in them
– The people of Mexico are genuinely nice and beautiful, inside and out
– My life, and its problems and worries, are extremely small in the big scheme of things
– My life is extremely rich with all I have been blessed with
– I have met my match in regards to always having to know what the plan is (yes, Andrea, I’m talking about you)
– People on boats in Mexico, wave to other people on boats, evidently this is a universal practice.
Tomorrow, we will be meeting again with farmers, this time at the University of Arts and Science in Chiapas. It is our last day here. We will head for home on Saturday. It will come with mixed feelings. Our group has worked well together; we’ve enjoyed our time together; we’ve worked hard; learned a lot; and had a lot of laughs and fun too; but most importantly, I believe we made a difference this week. We made a difference in our lives and we made a difference in the lives of the people with whom we met.