I want to write about this before I forget. When we arrived in Patzcuaro, it was startng to rain, the plaza was crowded, the vendors were starting to pack up, and the restaurants were closed or closing. The perimeter of the plaza was sprinkled with vendors selling purses, jewelry, cookies, and other items. We checked into our hotel, which a few of us have termed the ‘Melrose place’ hotel, because it’s reminiscent of the apartment complex on the 90’s TV series. Each room was very different in size and décor – so many of us explored one another’s rooms. We had dinner then went to this local bar, about 70 feet from our hotel. I don’t know the name of it but it was small, dimly lit, interestingly decorated (fake decapitated heads littered the staircase and handrail), and had a live musician singing beautiful songs and taking requests from his audience. Monique, Eddie, Viki, and I had dinner at our hotel (which was muy rica – the best consome de pollo I’ve had) and then decided to get a drink at a bar. Well, Monique decided not to come so the three of us went and saw Jasmine there talking to a guy – I want to say that his name was Miguel but I may be making that up. Well, we sat at a table with them, which was next to a window, and listened to the musician play his guitar and sing… I got a vodka tonic and looked around the room and was touched to see that people were singing along with the guy, but not just singing, singing with their heart, not caring who was watching. The combination of the music, the ambience, and probably the alcohol, made for a really emotional, beautiful, experience. I felt so much love that night – it was unexplainable. There seemed to be a energy about the place… I know that sounds strange but it’s true.

We sat next to the window and watched as more AIU people filtered in. It was such a magnificent night and for reasons that I really can’t explain… and when I try, it just sounds stupid. I guess I can just say there were good vibes and the setting was beautiful.

Patzcuaro reminded me of Europe a bit… the quaint sort of feel. One night we went to hear two therapists talk (todo en espanol) about the mental health situation in their region. Basically, anyone deemed mentally ill is sent to a type of asylum where they are treated like animals. Their shower consists of being hosed down like cattle and there is no government financial support so the therapists basically work for nothing (if I understood correctly) and sometimes work from 8a-12a helping those in need. The situations they deal with sounded like they mostly involve abuse – child or domestic. These women and children don’t have anyone to rely on for help and really have to fend for themselves. The situation sounded so daunting that I kept wondering how they keep motivated. No help, no money, overworked, some of the most unbearable circumstances… how do they do it? How can we help?

I know this entry is a bit late… I stopped counting the weeks we’ve been home but I believe this is week three. Mexico feels like it was so long ago but it really wasn’t.