Friday, April 22, 2011

Hasta pronto

I wrote this in the last week of being in Oaxaca, and although I've arrived safely home to the U.S. I feel given the time and opportunity I would not hesitate to hop on any plane headed back to Oaxaca.

Events have been passing

Hell’s heat the sun is surpassing

Projects and fieldtrips have been great

But I don’t want to think about time’s rate

Faster than a Mexican driver

I should become a contriver

Of a way to stay a few more months here

But go home immediately to those that are dear

Even writing this reflection

Has me missing out some new connection

I’m in love with my swim team

A Mexican experience I didn’t dream

My music class is something new

If music was an animal, the class is a zoo

Tezoatlan, Pasatono, and fat chicken whistles

The fun this poem only belittles!

So please check out the pics

To understand the short and quick

Of all the things that have the semester sick!

muchisimo amor,


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


At times I questioned why I was here. In indigenous pueblos? in families homes? At cattle markets? in gardens on rooftops? This reminded me of why: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment. Living in Oaxaca and traveling around the state gave me huge appreciation for my life and how comfortably I live. The situation of migration is now in my worldview and I understand it is an epidemic in Mexico, whether good or bad it is a reality. I am now thinking about how my actions and choices can alter, enhance or deflate this cycle. I sensorially feel my time here has come to an end at the perfect moment. I am eager to get back to reality, where I can implement new choices and educate my friends and family about everything I have learned here.

Amor, Paz y Papaya. Zoe

I am leaving Oaxaca with a new sense of self. As Kristof mentioned the first week, we each came here with the intention of expanding our comfort zones. The fact that each of us has found a home in Oaxaca speaks volumes to this. I have learned how to lean into discomfort, discover humor in my inevitable errors, and find opportunity in difficult situations. My love goes out to each and every one of you. Thank you for making this semester incredible, full of love, laughter and good food. I'm going home feeling completely nourished.

Be Here Now. Be Now Here.

Con todo mi amor,

Jocelyn “JamJam” Sheff

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Although I can't believe it's over, looking back on the semester I know I have accomplished so much and have had so many experiences- good and bad, but all worth it. As a graduating senior this semester, I feel as though participating in this program has both brought closure to my time at UVM, and has showed me what the world has to offer, and what I can add to it. I'm ready.

Thanks to everyone on the program for bringing something to the table on this trip. I had an amazing time with this group, and we definitely were a good group. Thanks to Mary Lu and Chris for helping and organizing throughout the semester, and to our teachers as well. I really appreciate everyone's work and enthusiasm.

I'll miss everyone. Safe travels, and hope to see you all in Burlington! ¡Nos Vemos!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This has been the most incredible series of experiences of my life. I could not have asked for a better program or group to share it with. Thank you so much to Mary, Chris, all of the teachers, and the group for making this semester as amazing as it was. See you all in Vermont :)

A haiku:

Oaxaca, amor
Pueblos, comida, gente
Change the world, people

~Becky F.

Oaxaca is no longer just a point on a map for all of us who have had the opportunity to experience it, but rather something that we will continue to carry with us as we take our separate paths. The experience has been unique, and I know I will never find another one quite like it—which is both heartbreaking and wonderful. The good people who have accompanied me on this adventure have been the perfect companions for all the mind-blowing meals, culture shock awkwardness, and many, many (many) laughs. While a part of me will stay behind in Oaxaca as I board the plane, I am going to be taking so much more with me from the past few months.

Gracias a todos, y que te vaya bien!

Besos, Heidi Bergt


This past semester in Oaxaca has been has hands down been the best experience I have been lucky enough to have so far in my life. I have met some of the nicest people and formed some very strong friendships. I have learned many things well abroad here in Oaxaca. I have lived a very happily in Oaxaca, we were fed great food, made great friends and I have with out a doubt laughed the most I have ever laughed in my whole life here. I would just like to say thank you to everyone on this trip for making this an awesome experience and a very special thanks to Mary Lou because she really made this trip awesome and I don't think anyone else could do as good of a job! Oaxaca is now a place that I will remember forever and I will always remember everyone I shared my experience with here. Unfortunately we can not bring Oaxaca home with us, but we can take back what we have created in Oaxaca, the memories and the friendships.

See you all in Burlington

Much love, Mike

It’s amazing how we have all found comfort is the original discomfort that conflicted us upon arriving here in Oaxaca. I have always been such a girl of comfort, and over the past months, I have come to appreciate and thrive off of new uncomfortable situations. Oaxaca will forever hold the magic of each of our personal experiences. From El Encuentro to our village stays, to the everyday happenings on “church street” we are all leaving with incredible memories that will serve us a lifetime. I cannot thank each of you enough and send everyone infinite positive thoughts and wishes for our futures. Mary Lou, thanks for everything, you have created an amazing environment for us all to grow into ourselves. Can’t wait to see you all in Burlington!
So much love.

Oaxaca has been one of the most incredible journeys of my young life thus far. It has taught me more than anything to slow down and learn re-appreciate the little things once more. I cannot wait to get back to Burlington and begin to apply all of the things I've learned about the world, culture, food, life and most importantly myself here and how I fit into these newly learned dynamics. Oaxaca has inspired me to re-think the way and for who I am living my life. Muchas gracias y amor para todos! Livy

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


*Nom, Nom, Nom...Nom, Nom, Nom*

Oh hello there! Don't mind us, we are just eating our calcium and vitamin C fortified, fat free 9 grain whole wheat bread. You may be wondering why we didn't just choose the traditional white wonder bread, well, it is because we just had a two week long nutrition class with none other than the fabulous Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino.

After making it through two weeks out in the fields for our farming systems class, a week in the kitchen during cooking class and a week examining food culture, the dieticians glory days finally arrived. Our first assignment was to use the USDA's newly designed interactive food pyramid to evaluate a 24-hour period of our food consumption. We used the results to transition into a lively discussion of similarities and differences between the government health guidelines of the United States and Mexico.

From there we moved onto a study of the "Nutrition Transition", the emergence of malnutrition ensuing not merely from a need for food, but the need for high-quality nourishment. It is marked by increased consumption of unhealthy foods as well as high rates of obesity in places of low income. We visited a community health clinic in San Mateo which was involved in (among other things) the treatment of conditions linked to the nutrition transition such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

On Friday, we had an intense conversation about health among migrant farm workers in Vermont with the program assistant Chris Urban. Unbeknownst to us, many of the dairy farms in Vermont rely on migrant laborers from rural Oaxaca, and other poor southern Mexican states. Their eating habits change to consuming much more meat, processed/packaged foods and sodas. Many other things effect their mental and physical health; culture shock, poor living conditions, lack of physical labor (mechanized dairy production) and lack of needed medical attention. A few students hope to do some volunteer work with migrants when back in Vermont.

We went of field trips for our final two classes. We got up with the sun on Tuesday to visit a community development program in the hills near the city where nutrition deficiency (especially anemia) and obesity coexist together. They aimed to improve nutrition by feeding children healthy food and teaching them the health benefits of everything on their plate. On Wednesday we visited a center that helps communities grow amaranth, which provides 70% of needed nutrients in a diet and is very high is protein.

It's been an incredible two weeks learning with Jean! Now step away from the Coke. I repeat. Step away from the Coke.

- Kristof and Jake

Music Class

Today is or final wrap up session for the music class and we can't believe how quickly it has gone by. We made trips out to the Mixteca and the Mixe as well as a couple of day trips including a bike ride in Etla and a trip to see a 16th century organ. We've gotten to do some dancing, some playing, some jamming and lots of listening. To be around our wonderful teachers Ruben and Sergio has been an excellent opportunity to gain new knowledge. We talked a lot about how the music here has developed with influences from many different styles and we even got to learn some new songs. Remember to look at Mike's post, one of the Spanish students who has been coming on our trips, to watch some cool videos of what we've seen.

Max & Isaac.