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Mexico: More Than Museums

Jon Miller '08

The only way to describe this week for me is to say that it is has been one of the most life changing and eye-opening experiences of my life.  Although this is the second time I have been to Latin America, Mexico City has given me so much more than an opportunity to learn in a foreign country.  I have been able to live and interact with people from a different country despite a sizeable language barrier.  They allowed me to visit their historic sites including the Plaza Tres Culturas, which directly relates to my research project on the student protests of 1968.  It was the site where three hundred to seven hundred Mexican students were massacred during a protest for social justice.  It was incredibly moving for me to see the actual layout of the plaza, read the names of the men and women killed, and envision how the tragedy occurred.  In addition to the academic experiences, Mexico has reminded of just how lucky I am to have my life in the United States.  Every where you look, there is poverty.  From selling used books to jewelry, people do whatever they can to survive, but if they cannot help themselves, then others give what they can to help those in need.    

            I will try to describe an experience I had today that will have an impact on me for the rest of my life.  After visiting the Castillo de Chapultepec, the group unanimously decided to travel by metro to the Basilica de Guadalupe in the northern part of city.  On the way there, I was standing by myself on one end of metro car as two young girls, who were about eight and ten years old, walked on to our car.  Without any parents or guardians, these little girls, who were barely clothed and dirty from probably weeks of living on the street, began to sing in hopes of earning a few pesos.  I reluctantly did not give anything to the girls because at the time, the only money I had was enough to buy my food for the day. However, I looked up to see two young men, who were around fourteen or fifteen, and without hesitation, the tallest one opened up his bag and gave the youngest girl a bag of peanuts.  He even opened the bag for her, and as she walked away with the bag in her hand, she had the most beautiful smile on her face that I have ever seen.  This young man was not wealthy, but he gave what he could because he saw the desperation in that girl’s eyes.  At that moment, I realized how great these people are.  They do what they can to survive, and along the way, they persevere through the difficult times and enjoy the good ones. When this trip is done, I hope I can remember the generosity of that young man.  He helped me grow as a man to be thankful for what I have in my life.  When my college days are past, I will remember this trip for the friends I have made and the incredible life lessons it has given me.  Thank you to my parents and all of those at Wabash who got me here this week. 

     In Photos: Top Left: Jon Miller overlooks Teotihuacan and Pyramid to the Sun. Bottom Right: Dave Coddens, Jon Miller, Craig Engledow, and Justin Raisor at Templo Mayor


Great job. History is most fascinating and I've lived a lot of it..from the depression and WWII and Korea. Indiana, itself, has an intersting history, Am now reading 'Freedom from Fear" an accounting of the US through the depression and the "War to End all Wars". Have many books on WWII from Pearl Harbor to a victory--which has become shallow through the our mistakes, the mistakes of others and the emergence of technology.
I am reminded of a comment once made to me: "Action is not necessaarily progress". I have a pretty good collection of both factual and fictional accounts of US and Indiana history. I'd be happy to send them for your perusal one one provision--that you keep them or return them to me.
Your Grandmother and I send our congratulations on your growth.

Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Ann.

PS: when you have a chance, send me a Wabash College windown sticker

The impact of such an experience will resonate with you for all your life. Feel what you feel.
See what you see.
Hear what you hear.
Live your dreams.
Dream your life.

Thank you for being open and sharing.