We are two French students and – thanks to the organization Mexico Accueil – we spent two weeks in Cuernavaca with the association Amigos de los Mayores – Mexico.
The desire to help is present since the beginning of our project. One of us is in a gap year and the other one is at the end of her studies. We were supposed to go to the Philippines. This humanitarian project was cancelled because of Covid-19. We therefore headed to Central America with the aim of traveling, but always with the hope of finding an association where we could give even a few weeks of our time.
We were put in contact with Amigos de los Mayores – Mexico, an association that has been rooted in Cuernavaca for several years. One of the projects of the association is the Casa de día San Agustín. In these, the elderly find a space where they are listened to and accompanied. Every day is normally punctuated by sports, manual activities and meals. However, it has been a year since the Casa de Día had to close its doors due to the health situation. The association has reinvented itself so as not to leave the elderly alone to go through the health crisis and organizes home visits.
For the past two weeks, we have been visiting two or three elderly people in La Lagunilla every day, accompanied by Yahaira, a volunteer from the association. Having a small number of visits each day allows each visit to be a quality time – a precious concept for these elderly people who hardly leave their homes. Some of them live in poignant solitude and we feel their need to talk and have company. We were very touched by their generous welcome and by the immediate trust that these people give us. We were able to discuss many topics such as their experience with the pandemic but also their past, their families, their favorite places in Mexico and what they enjoy most as activities.
We also did a manual activity workshop with some of them. This time, it will be painting and collage. The objective would be to make these workshops accessible via Whatsapp so that the maximum number of members of the association can participate remotely. But this is not easy as they do not all have access to the internet.
We are now going to continue our trip to Mexico and are leaving very touched by the people we met but also by the welcome we received at the Lagunilla. We hope to be able to come back one day and see the Casa de día open. Thank you to Cathel Dumont, director of the association, for trusting us and to Otila and Enrique for welcoming us into their family.
Apolline and Guillemette.
Photo credit: Amigos de los Mayores Mexico