6 days before the 5k marathon I am freaking out because after a couple of months of organizing to bring 13 people with me, 5 have just dropped out and I have a feeling that a couple more may follow. Money has been donated and cashed, bus tickets have been purchased, marathon tickets have been purchased and hotel reservations made that can’t be cancelled.
It all started back in 2014 when as a new Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Mexico, I learned about the program called Mariposas: Mujeres Cambiando el Mundo (Mariposa means “butterfly” in Spanish, and mujeres cambiando el mundo means “women changing the world”). Mariposas is a non-profit organization to help girls from rural communities in Puebla, Mexico, pursue their professional dreams by going to college. The organization was started by a former PCV, Tessa Eckholm. Each year there is a week-long camp where girls from different communities attend at no cost of their own, and learn about topics such as mental and physical health, environmental stewardship and professional development. It’s a space for them to network with girls from other communities, share ideas and dreams, and learn something that they can take back with them to their community. The girls that attend this camp are offered the opportunity to apply for scholarships to attend college.
Former PCV, Jesi Friedly, was in charge of organizing the camp during my first year as a volunteer. She asked me if I would be able to help and give an Indian dance class. I happily agreed. During that week I met so many wonderful girls and my admiration for the Mariposas organization began.
This year, another former PCV, Elena Neibaur, organized a 5K marathon, followed by an eco-fair in Puebla, to raise money for the Mariposas organization, and invited me to bring people from my community, Metztitlán, Hidalgo. I work a lot with women and thought that this was the perfect opportunity to support an organization with a mission I feel strongly about, reconnect with some of the girls I met during Camp Mariposa, and promote healthy activities among the women in my community. Since I am an environmental educator, I also decided to bring women from my office to give a recycling workshop in the eco-fair.
Since the expenses would be paid for by donors, it was an opportunity for women in my community to travel to another state, see new things and experience something different, something positive, with no major cost to them. The easiest part of it all was raising money, and I thank all off my friends and family who donated to give these women such an experience. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, I did find 5 people for the empty spots!