June 17: Day 2: Personality Exploration and Hiking to the Tezpoctoco Pyramid
This picture was taken from where our trek began-the pyramid (almost unrecognizably small without magnification) was where we hiked to!
Today has been incredibly full, incredibly busy, and incredibly great! After breakfast, we opened with a morning reflection activity in which Mark wrote about 20 adjectives on the board, ranging from 'tall' to 'cheerful' to 'aggressive' to 'hard-working' and asked everyone to write down on a private sheet of paper any of those words which they felt described themselves. Immediately after, we went around the circle and theatrically acted out the word from our list which we thought most resembled our personalities.
During morning reflection, Maya acts out that 'happy' is a word which describes her personality
This created a spirited and lively atmosphere that kept people happy and enthusiastic for the van ride to the city of Tepoztlan, in order to hike a mountain to see the Tepozteco Pyramid.
This activity consumed most of the day, from after breakfast until before dinner. The Pyramid is thought to have been created by the ancient Aztecs between 1100-1350 AD, and the students were very impressed to see something that was older than virtually any construction in the United States. Additionally, the hike itself was extremely beautiful, and was a new experience for almost all the C.E.S.A.R. students-5 of the 6 had never hiked before, and none had ever before been on a mountain. This meant that the ascent, scheduled to last about 45 minutes, took approximately 2 hours! This made Michael's comment early on, perhaps 10 minutes into the hike, that, "this is the longest walk [he's] ever taken" extremely ironic! However, the students handled themselves with a steadfast motivation to reach the top. Before long, all had figured out a hiking pace that worked best for themselves.
By the time we reached the top, all six students expressed a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, especially when they saw how far they had come. Michael described the experience as, "tough but great," and, upon reaching the pinnacle, Shacquan declared that, "Mexico is fun! I wanna come back next year!" For the leaders, it was satisfying to see the students broaden their horizons not only with respect to cross-culturalism, but also in terms of life experience.
Nyesha observes the city of Tepoztlan from the CCIDD bus
Myzel, Michael, and Shacquan approach the mountain
Quan and Myzel rush up the path
C.E.S.A.R. climbs the steep mountain!
The ecological beauty of the hike
Almost to the top!
In all its glory: The Tezpoctoco Pyramid
Maya, Nyesha, and Pachan are satisfied to have made it!
The group sits on the Tepozteco Pyramid
The slightly foggy view from the mountain´s pinnacle
Uniquely Cuernavacan: A Mariachi Mass
At night, the students, leaders, and various other CCIDD employees attended a Catholic 'Mariachi Mass.' This mass took place in a church built circa 1500 AD-older than any in America-and, beyond being delivered in Spanish, had another culturally new aspect to it: rather than being accompanied by the music of organs, a Mexican mariachi band supplemented the ceremony! This is intended to fuse the European-introduced religion with indigineous music so as to create an experience that is uniquely Mexican. The students were all ecstatically happy upon returning to CCIDD, and clearly enjoyed the mass a great deal, even though the sermon was not delivered in English.
The group outside of the historic church
Myzel with a member of the mariachi band
The church after sunset