Day 17 – January 19, 2013
Since it was a Saturday, I stayed at home a little bit longer in the morning before going in to Powell. I just feel so unproductive there. It is not my favorite work environment at all. I would much prefer working alone at home or in a coffee shop, but sometimes you have to sacrifice with group projects, of course. So I worked a little at home on editing some more content (like the timeline info) and then headed to Powell to work with the group. We had a meeting to go over what is done so far and what needs to get done and then I spent the majority of the day helping to edit our main CODECE intro video – trying to get timing right, adding text, etc. I finally headed home around 9, which is rather early by most iMedia standards, but I just needed a break.
What did you learn about culture from the outside book you read?
We were asked to read Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario – the story of an immigrant boy who travels from his home in Tegucigalpa to North Carolina on top of trains and by any other means necessary to reach his mom in the states who had left to work in order to make enough money to send her kids to school and to feed them. I think the most shocking aspect of the story was that it was so recently written and tells the tale of one boy’s journey that took place in the 2000’s. I often forgot that it was a current story and always imagined it in my head to be happening decades ago. I only snapped out of that mentality when the author mentioned modern conventions like a cell phone. It is just so unbelievable that people in other cultures must resort to risking their lives to reach a better life (admittedly, often in the United States). It really made me realize how much I take for granted. While I don’t get to see my parents every day since I live 8 hours away from them, I do get to see them on breaks and can easily make it home to them if need be. Enrique’s entire plight was to find his mom and he had to risk his life to do it – riding on the tops of trains, avoiding getting sucked under the churning wheels, hiding from corrupt cops, staying on the good side of gang members who rape and steal people traveling on the railroads. It just amazes me that this still happens today. I’m not entirely naive…I know bad things happen in the world, but I really do take for granted just how easy everything is for me living in the United States. I am really so fortunate and it is unfortunately sometimes easy to forget this.
Were those ideas supported or contradicted by your experience in Costa Rica?
Because we were closer to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica and therefore a more metropolitan area, I didn’t feel as if we were in a culture similar to that of Enrique’s (maybe more so in the smaller, rural communities surrounding the mountains). I don’t think there are as many instances of mothers needing to leave to go to the United States in order to provide enough money so that their kids can get an education and have enough food to eat. It seems that most people have what they need in San José, although there were still some instances where I was really reminded to be grateful for everything I have at home (whether it was trivial in the grand scheme of things, like not having wi-fi everywhere – more so due to our American service plans than anything – or something bigger, like the amazing opportunity to go abroad rather easily). Overall, Enrique’s Journey was an eye-opening read and does inspire some deeper thinking and greater appreciation making it worthwhile, despite it not really directly applying to the area of Costa Rica our group was in.