My time in Oaxaca has quickly come to a sudden end. I feel like this past week went by so fast, but I suppose when you’re preoccupied you’re less aware of the passage of time. I don’t think five weeks is honestly enough time to truly experience all this city has to offer, and I feel like there is so much I didn’t do. But at the same time I feel like I’ve gained so much and have had so many life –altering experiences
in such a short amount of time. It’s an odd feeling.
So how did I spend my last week in Oaxaca? Well I followed my usual routine, with the exception of all the bittersweet good-byes. On the one hand I was pretty excited to see my friends and family in the U.S, but I also knew I was going to miss my new friends and family in Oaxaca.
On Friday after our last medical anthropology seminar, SURCO the nonprofit organization we worked with during our time in Oaxaca, hosted a farewell party for us complete with food, live traditional music, and a piñata. Everyone in my class invited their homestay families, and even the people they worked with at their community placements to the party, so it was a lot of fun. The band, Raíces1, a traditional family music group played jaracho for us. Jarcho is a type of music and dance that originated from the Veracruz region of Msxico. It’s kind of hard to explain what the music sounds like, but Oaxaca Arts2 states “Using traditional instruments such as the jarana (similar to the ukulele), the marimbol (marimba) and the requinto (a type of small guitar), Raíces’ upbeat, acoustic instrumentals intertwine with their strong, clear voices in an original combination of tradition and creativity. With their music, they incorporate folkloric dance that adds percussion with its rhythmic stomps.” Due to an unfortunate phone incident I no longer have the recordings in my possession, but if you’re interested in a sample of the style of music I have included a link to a group that sounds similar to Raíces here.
Aforementioned their dancing consists of a lot of rhythmic stomping, and they were nice enough to teach us, which only added to the fun of the party. After dancing and good food, we said our final goodbyes and truly parted ways with SURCO.
The next day, Saturday, was my last full day in Oaxaca and it was pretty uneventful compared to Friday’s farewell party. I did some last minute shopping for gifts, and then had dinner with one of the teachers from CORAL I befriended. And on Sunday I left the place I called home for five weeks and flew back to the states.
The saying goes “You can take the girl out of Oaxaca but you can’t take Oaxaca out of the girl.” As corny as it is, it holds validity. Even back in the U.S. I still carry my memories and my experiences of Oaxaca in my heart because it has forever changed me.
1 Raíces literally translates to Roots. Every member of the band belongs to one family
2 Oaxaca Arts is a project conducted by the University of Michigan’s Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU) program. In June 2015, a group of GIEU students interacted with various local artists in Oaxaca for about three weeks. Simultaneously, they began a project to build here portfolios of and promote the artists’ work.