Today was long, exhausting, hot, and extremely fun! We got up around 7:00 AM (after about 4 hours of sleep) and enjoyed ice cold showers. Refreshing. Then we set out for breakfast at TEC’s cafeteria, a little zombie-like, but still excited for the day ahead.
After breakfast we were given a tour of TEC. We received many curious stares, for a few possible reasons: because we were all wearing matching grey Cougars t-shirts, because we were all in shorts while most students were wearing jeans and sweaters, or (most likely) because we’re a group of 21 incredibly good-looking girls (plus Bob!).
Citlalli, our awesome guide and coordinator, revealed some surprise news – a trip to Club Pachuca for a tour and meeting with some professional soccer players. The facility was incredible, and we also got to see a video about the Pachuca soccer team, which has had some amazing victories in the last 15 years. Afterwards, we got to meet and take pictures with several professional soccer players.
After Club Pachuca, we headed back to the TEC campus for a presentation on the social projects we will be participating in and for lunch. Lunch is the most important meal of the day in Mexico, so we had a lot to eat! Then we found a grassy space and soaked up the sun. A few girls from the soccer team hung out with us there, so we chatted with them and they helped us learn and practice our Spanish. Some people went and got helado (ice cream) to help cool off from the heat we are SO not used to.
Around 3:00, we met with the whole TEC soccer team. It is made up of a mixture of high school and university girls. We were paired up with buddies to talk with and learn more about each other and our teams. We all exchanged stories and had fun visiting.
Next we headed back to the dorms to shower up for our social project and the Welcome Party that would follow. The purpose of the Responsabilidad Ciudadana Social Project is to help youth make goals and decisions about their futures. We met up with some university students who have been involved with this project for a while, they explained what we would be doing, and then we headed over to where the middle school youth were. The students were given a sheet to write down goals for themselves in five areas of their lives and we were to talk with them and help them however we could. None of the youth spoke English, but our university buddies helped us with the language barrier by translating for us.
After we were finished goal setting we headed outside for an activity similar to “The Human Knot” except with every other person holding a bandana. Everyone grabbed hands/bandanas and we got all tangled up and then had to work as a team to get ourselves untangled by stepping over, under, spinning around, etc. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and having a great time. Many of the students wanted pictures with us afterwards. It was amazing to see how we made their days just by being there and helping out. So much fun!
We stopped for snacks and water at Wal-Mart and then headed over to our Welcome Party. As soon as we arrived, our TEC soccer buddies came and found us and we all sat down together. A group of students performed two dances for us: one intense tribal story and a lyrical to a Lion King song. They are headed to nationals in Monterrey tomorrow. Awesome performances!
Then the mariachis arrived! It wouldn’t be a Mexican party without them. They performed a few songs, and soon enough, everyone was up and dancing. We danced in a big circle, in partners, and as a huge group. Then they sent us outside for traditional Mexican tacos. They were AMAZING! The mariachis played outside while we ate our tacos and quesadillas and visited with our new friends. Soon everyone was dancing again. It seems like everyone we met here has so much energy; everyone is always smiling, laughing, and excited about whatever we’re doing.
Just before we left the party, Betty, a girl on the TEC soccer team, suggested that we do a Harlem Shake. Of course, we had to. Bob videotaped the huge group of us flailing wildly to the music. Celia even managed to fall off a chair and onto Corms, who quickly held the chair up in the air and continued dancing with it. We also got to the girls to put on “Low” and Kacey gave us a quick taste of her dance moves. Priceless!
Now we are off to bed to catch up on some much needed sleep. Looking forward to what tomorrow holds for us!
Raquel B. #23