Final Reflection by Elena

The rush of waves created by an island breeze…sand squishing between your toes… the sound of seagulls overhead… Life is a Beach. Life is more than what one makes it, because no two paths are the same. Mexico enlightened my spirit as the land unraveled my mind, and let it soar free! I was unsure of what to expect of Mexico because of the many reflections I have heard about it. My first expectations of Mexico diminished as my mind became accepting of everything that was, instead of how it was said to be.

This is my reflection in regards to the experiences I shared in such a beautiful, humble environment.

Mexico not only caters to its people; it also welcomes newcomers. I don’t speak Spanish nor have I been out of the country or ever experienced the ocean. All of these new things set me far outside my comfort zone. It was then that I realized how much I was missing by lingering within the confinement of my own mind. Volunteering is something I do avidly in the states. I wanted to join ASB to help serve others and to be involved in other parts of myself I have not yet unleashed. I feel as though the plethora of people, organizations, and experiences I have encountered along my path has led me to growing as person, and defining what I should be doing as opposed to what I thought I wanted. I have never felt so welcome and cared for as I did while in Mexico. The people there taught me the importance of religion and family. While serving at Casa Franciscana in Kino, I became a part of a community and felt the faith of all those around us.

I have many mental snapshots of ASB in Mexico.  Here are just a few:  playing kick ball with a family in Naco; holding on to Brett for dear life in the ocean because he is a lifeguard; having a deep conversation with Vince while rolling in the waves on the water; braiding Darling and Soledad’s hair, and enjoying the company of everyone in the group when we all sat down to dinner. The snapshot that will always remind me of how important kindness is happened on Wednesday at Casa Franciscana in Guaymas.  In the meson (dining hall), the ASB group and I were fed before our volunteer duties began, and as migrants and others began arriving for the noon meal.  I got full from the meal of vegetable soup and crackers, and had an apple left over. I don’t like wasting food, so I offered my apple to a gentleman waiting for his meal with several others. This man and all of the others looked very tired and hungry while they watched us eat.  When I gave him my apple, I thought I was being nice but this small act of kindness would teach me more about life than any other act I had ever done single handedly. I gave this man my apple in the hopes of helping one person, but instead of eating the apple himself or storing it away for later, to my astonishment he took just one bite and then passed it to the other people sitting at the table with him.  This chain reaction of kindness showed me how extraordinary people are. A single person can make a difference, but when a group of people are kind to one another — that is when the world begins to change.

I loved my experience with ASB and all it offered to me. Because of this experience, I have decided that I will continue volunteering locally and in other countries during the summer.

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