The ProgramAfter living in Japan in the summer of 1993, I did not want to stay home for the summer of 1994. I did some looking around and eventually read about a program in Mexico. The American Friends Service Committee offers a number of opportunities for volunteer work in Mexico and Cuba. Many people had told me about how fun it was to live in a work camp, meet people and help people all at the same time. I was also looking for a way to practice my Spanish skills, so this program seemed good to me.
Arriving in MexicoI was really worried about getting into Mexico alone, so I decided to fly all the way to Hermosillo. Luckily on the way there I met up with a couple people that were headed the same place I was. We made it through customs with no problems (we all got the magical green light) and split the cost of a taxi to the house where we were supposed to meet. Hermosillo is a town of about a million (unofficially) and lies only about four hours south of the Mexican border with Arizona. This was only the starting point for our adventure.
The OrientationWe spent the first few days in Hermosillo in a house that is owned by Los Amigos, the Mexican branch of Friends. There the group converged (eight Americans, three Mexicans; six guys, five girls) and started learning about what we had gotten ourselves into. I was having major problems with the language barrier already, but I decided to keep trying. After we were given all the proper warnings and explained our purpose, we took off for La Quema.