On Wednesday we took a break between immersion days in the villages to act a bit like tourists. We were treated to the beautiful and steep (remember little shoulders on the roads) countryside of Michoacan. Instead of combis we now luxuriated in the comfort of a full-sized bus.
Our first stop was Zirahuen Lake where some of us took a boat ride. Avocado orchards and raspberry farms grace the hillsides around the lake. On the “it’s a bit strange note,” the restrooms cost 50 pesos for women but were free to men. I guess it’s the toilet paper?
After the lake we drove on to the city of Uruapan. It seemed much more urban than Patzcuaro. In the city is a beautiful park that included a natural spring from which the water was diverted to many different man-made waterfalls.
For a biologist it was a wondrous place as it hosted many butterflies I’d never seen and many different liverworts (a plant), mosses and ferns. All and all it was very peaceful.
Note the ubiquitous painted flower pots at this restaurant near the lake.
In Uruapan were were treated to a very nice restaurant. Kathy here enjoys a steak and fries. She was craving some “American” food.
After our day out we had a much more sober event visiting a family in a small village and discussing immigration with two young men, a 15-year old girl (with her baby) and their relatives. It was a time for questions and answers. I learned that one of the young men had been deported recently and now has a pregnant wife in the States to whom he’d like to return. The other young man would prefer not to return to the U.S. The girl, to me, was the most tragic case. She went over the border at age 11 with her parents. In the U.S., she was raped by another immigrant. She became pregnant. She returned to Mexico and family to have her baby. Her parents remained in the U.S. She has no power. The remittance sent home from the U.S. keeps these families in their homes and clearly elevates the standard of living. What I took away is that nothing about immigration is simple or necessarily what it seems.