Español, Indigenous self-determination, neurology, & Fair Trade coffee…
Which one of these things is not like the other?
Trick question! All of the above have everything to do with each other; or at least, everything to do with my upcoming summer, and these upcoming blog posts. I was fortunate enough to be chosen for an international medical exchange through the International Federation of Medical Students, which arranges clinical placements for medical students in hospitals all over the world. For the next month, I will be working in the departments of Pediatría and Neuropediatría at a public hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.
Why Mexico? To rescue my Spanish that has been sadly disintegrating ever since leaving Argentina; to build my own relationship with the country that has long captured the heart of Josué (my best friend and fellow adventurer, and as luck would have it, my husband too); and to attempt to understand the complicated relationships that exist between Canada, the USA, and Mexico.
And why Tuxtla? Home to over nine distinct Indigenous groups struggling to retain their cultural identity and independence, Tuxtla reminds me in many ways of my own province. The Chiapas region is the birthplace of the Zapatista revolution, a response to NAFTA’s exploitation of Mexican farmers. This revolution became a driving force in the global Fair Trade movement, a phenomena that I believe could literally transform the world.
The fact that Tuxtla is home to jaguars, monkeys, and crocodiles, with banana and mango trees growing down the street and palm trees lining the hospital boulevard didn’t exactly hurt my decision-making either 😉
I am so humbled to be welcomed into this place to learn: to learn Spanish, learn about medicine, learn about economic trade relations, and learn about Indigenous autonomy in a place that is in some ways is so like my home and yet is also about as different as it could be!
¿Listo para empezar la aventura?