A Tour around Bucerias

By Nitya

The best part of the Human Connections internship experience so far has definitely been the one-one-interactions I have had with our clients.  Last Wednesday, the interns received the opportunity to take a tour through a local community in Bucerías. We visited Don Francisco (who sells painted bowls), his wife (who sells beaded jewelry), Javier (who makes delicious ceviche), and Don Carmelo (who makes cactus salsa, birria, quesadillas, and more). As I walked through the arroyo in the local community, it felt as if I had entered a whole other world. The modest, but lively community reminded me of some towns I had walked through in India, and as I walked on the dirt path I felt a little more at home.

Visiting and talking to the clients in the community was an eye-opening and transformative experience. Before, whenever I saw vendors selling their products on the streets of Bucerías, I always thought that their artwork or jewelry were simple products. I never realized that some of these vendors took a lot of time to make these products by hand. Don Francisco, for example, learned how to paint his beautiful bowls from his father. Don Francisco’s wife took two days to make one of her lovely necklaces.

Next, we visited Javier, which was also a very exciting experience. He sells ceviche. Before meeting him, if I had seen him on the streets selling ceviche, I would not have thought much of it. However, when we met him, I found out that he goes fishing in the ocean to catch fish for his ceviche. Before I knew it, he was putting on his fishing costume and goggles for us. I was surprised to find out that he goes deep into the ocean late at night and catches fish using his own hand-made, slightly scary-looking fishing spear. I realized it was a hard, long, and strenuous process for him to sell ceviche. His ceviche was absolutely delicious!

Finally, we visited Don Carmelo and his assistant Belén, who makes the tortillas at the birria stand. I, along with Mark and Taylor, will be working with Belén for our consulting project. It was clear that Don Carmelo took a lot of pride in his work. He proudly showed us how to make delicious cactus salsa, and then helped many of us attempt to make tortillas. He sat down with us and told us his life story – and the many difficulties he encountered after moving to Bucerías from Guerrero with five children. It was such an unreal experience to meet and talk to our clients – who carried with them such different experiences than mine, but had found solutions to many of life’s challenges.

Meeting our clients on the tour changed how I interacted with vendors in Bucerías. After that tour, I started taking a greater interest in the vendors’ products and asked more questions. For example, the other day, I asked a man by the plaza about his long hammock and was still so surprised to find out that he made it by hand.  Every day, my interest and admiration grows for the vendors in Bucerías. I can’t wait to find out more.