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Half-time in Xochimilco

Last month marked the end of the road for Graham and Joey - fellow Latin Link volunteers who have been with me here in Mexico City since September/October last year - who returned to the UK after completing their 9 month placements.

See my photos on and videos at the end of this blog.

As one last get-together for us all, Paul and Nydia Johnson, our Mexico team leaders, took Graham, Joey, Myself and a few others out for a daytrip on the canals of Xochimilco - a district of Mexico City which lays claim to the last few remaining canals that, centuries ago, once characterised the whole area on which now sits the famous urban sprawl.

The daytrip was a fascinating insight into the contrasts of Mexican culture itself. As we ventured into the idyllic canals of Xochimilco (pronounced 'sochi-milko'), it could have been as though we were in England. For a moment, it was impossible to believe you were in this shanty-town-clad urban metropolis. But then came the street-sellers and the mariachis - all floating towards us on boats. Can't quite picture it?

Reflecting on the last 9 months and looking ahead

Seeing Graham and Joey head off home has given me much pause for reflection, as I realise I am now half-way through my 18-month placement, and if the next 9 months goes as quickly as the last, we'll, get me a beer in, I'll see you in 5 minutes.

I am left with a very big question as to whether I have a longer-term calling to serving God out here in Latin America or not. I hope to have a better idea on that after I return to the UK. However, it is quite possible that my work might be extended here for a further 6 months, as the 'Stride' programme I'm on allows me to stay for up to 2 years. This is something I plan to review after I've got 'version 1' of the Milamex website up and running, still on course for a mid-August launch.

It certainly has been a mind-blowing past 9 months. I've seen so much here in Mexico that has put my past life in the UK into a different perspective. All the things we take for granted in the UK are luxuries for many over here. Even down to basic things like social security, or having a toaster. From my excursions to Cuba and Guatemala, to the sleepless nights of Mexico City, for good or bad, it has been a great privilege to have had these experiences.

I am deeply grateful to the many who have encouraged me to do what I am doing, and who are providing support either in friendship, prayer or financially. I'm not only fulfilling a dream of a lifetime, but it's also a privilege to serve God using my vocational skills in this way.

I have a lot more planned yet for the next 9 months. In addition to the completion of the Milamex website, I'm looking forward to a possible project in Costa Rica and a return trip to Guatemala. Of course, my Spanish still isn't what I'd like it to be, so I'll be taking some more lessons in there somewhere as well. I look forward to reporting on all this in due course, stay tuned in the meantime. Just don't count on it seeming more like 5 minutes until l return home again.

Xochimilco Videos

Here's a few sweet clips of the Xochimilco canals for your delight. If you see nothing else, at least take a look at the Mariachis - not to be missed.

1 Comment(s):

Blogger Martin said...

Wow! Those boats go on forever in every direction. Wednesday, July 05, 2006 4:52:00 PM  

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