Thursday, May 19, 2011

Farewell Zacatecas

10 months turns out to be a very short time. Today is May 19, 2011 - almost a year and half since I first wrote my advisor here in Zacatecas seeking a university affiliation for my Fulbright application. When I sit back and reflect on how many changes, emotions, challenges, and life shaping experiences those months have held, it leaves me with a profound awe of the fullness of the past, and an excitement for the future. 

Today I fly out from Zacatecas for a summer of music making and time with family in the United States. In early July, however, I will be returning to Mexico this time to Mexico City. I am excited to be working in the microfinance department of the Instituto Mexicano de Investigación de Familia y Población (IMIFAP), a not-for-profit organization promoting economic and social development throughout Mexico. I am looking forward to continuing in the trajectory my Fulbright experience has sent me on, and I am confident my time at IMIFAP will be well spent. 

Noemí de la Torre (SEDEZAC), Daniella Burgi-Palomino,
Aaron Malone, Matt Rolland, Dr. García Zamora (UAZ)
To close out this phase of my Fulbright research, all three of the Fulbright scholars in Zacatecas decided to present our results at the University of Zacatecas this past friday.  The presentations went well, with a small but friendly turn-out. Our advisor, Profesor Rodolfo García Zamora, shared a few meaningful words at the beginning, commenting that he still remembers the days in 2009 when he began receiving our emails about the possibility of working at the UAZ with him. Almost two whole years ago! That made me appreciate the investment we all made in seeking the Fulbright, and all the planning it took to get here. What an adventure. He also observed the change he saw in each of us after we had our first 'visita al campo' (field visit), to Nochistlan back in October. We rightly observed that we returned motivated, moved by the reality of need and interest in migrant-spurred development. He formed words that I had felt, but had not yet expressed. He has been an encouraging advisor, and always had resources to set me down a new direction when I was feeling at a loss. I am very grateful for the warm welcome I have received at the Development Studies department at the university. 

In case you are interested in reading a short summary of my the first phase of research, an english version of my final presentation is available below. 
Also, there was an article published about our presentations. It was published in three of the local papers. Here's a link to one of them.  I made a basic translation and uploaded to my gmail account. You can download the pdf here. The article has things right for the most part, with the exception of mis-reporting the government institution represented. Noemí de la Torre is the director of the SEDEZAC migrant investment program, Zacatecano Invierte en Zacatecas.  I interviewed her several months back about the program.  SEDEZAC is the state level entity that promotes economic development, whereas SEDESOL is the federal level government agency that runs similar programs, albeit on a national scale. 

Friends at our 'callejoneada' farewell
Nevertheless, a little bit of press feels good. As the article mentions, we have a publishing opportunity! Our professor invited us each to submit articles for a forth-coming book on political economy in Zacatecas. I will be submitting an analysis of the financial sector in Zacatecas, with a focus on how microfinance institutions can help improve the very few financial services available in rural areas, and the general under development of the financial sector in Zacatecas. The book will be published in late August through the university publishing company. 

Adios to our querido Zacatecas. Until next time. 
Over the weekend, we had our farewell 'callejoneada' (parade). We had over 50 people attend and it turned out to be a great way to see all of our friends and acquiantances before leaving. We wanted to say farewell to Zacatecas in a traditional way for the region, and the callejoneada was an event I will never forget. My legs were sore for two days straight from all the dancing. If you'd like to see what the weekend held for use, hear what zacatecan 'banda' music sounds like, and what a 'callejoneada' is, I encourage you to watch a five minute video I made. I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed living it.

1 comment:

  1. oH!! que buenos momentos de "mi Zacatecas, querido" pero empiezan nuevas aventiras en DF!!! Abrazote y beso. Nadia