Fast forward a year and a half to last December, and I applied for the grant and got it! It is a huge honor and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to combine so many things I'm passionate about: my job, volunteering, international travel, and food.
When I first thought about where I wanted to go, I considered going somewhere really far away that I had never been before. But when I was honest with myself, I just wanted to go back to where my heart was: Mexico. I've been there 3 times since 2005, and can't get enough.
It's called PESA, which stands for Proyecto Estratégico de Seguridad Alimentaria (Strategic Food Security Project), and is a program of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
My good friend Josafat has worked for them for nearly a decade, and is now based out of their headquarters in Mexico City.
But when I was there in 2009, he was in the small city Tlapa de Comonfort, in the southern state of Guerrero. From Tlapa he would take day trips to rural communities all over the state to help implement and evaluate food infrastructure projects.
|Corn storage, Guerrero, 2009|
|Helping with community corn de-graining, 2009|
Well, I guess we are going backward chronologically. In 2007 I spent the end of my last quarter of college living with Josafat and his girlfriend, and teaching English in his grad school. They lived in Cholula, a really sweet little city on the outskirts of Puebla City.
The adjective of a person or thing from Puebla is poblano, and indeed, it's where the dark mole poblano originated. That month I did my ESL certificate teaching practicum and ate a ridiculous amount of mole poblano.
|The view of smoking Popocatépetl from Cholula|
|View from our front door of the |
cathedral atop the Pyramid of Cholula
I'm leaving this week to fly into Mexico City before spending next week volunteering in rural communities. More to come!