I arrived in Colima yesterday after a ten hour overnight bus ride from Mexico City. Getting my ticket had been more than a little stressful as I don't know most of the Spanish words common to financial transactions. Nor did my accent fare particularly well for spelling out loud: my ticket read “Ross Hoysse.” In any case I made it in one piece, no thanks to the prepackaged mayonnaise sandwich I was given for free at the bus station.
Beto, the administrator at Project Amigo, picked me up and told me that he was headed to a staff meeting, during which I could get some rest. I was confused about geography at first, given that all three towns in which I would be working are in the state of Colima, but the largest one is also called Colima. It's like a “New York, New York” sort of thing. We headed to Casa Amiga (not to be confused with Mexico City's Casa de Los Amigos), a boarding house for fifteen university students on scholarship from Project Amigo. The organization is currently paying for the college education of twelve girls and three boys from poor families in Colima (the state) at the University of Colima (the city). The only caveats are that the students maintain high GPAs and do community service; however, the rules in the house are strict. No outside visitors are allowed in any circumstances, and the curfew is 10:00 pm – even on Fridays. On Saturdays the students visit their families.
While I slept off my buslag (a word?) it was decided that my Spanish might benefit from spending a few weeks in Casa Amiga before moving to the Hacienda owned by Project Amigo in the nearby village of Cofradia, where I will be working for the summer. Once I'd tasted Dona Cella (the house mother)'s cooking, I was sold on the idea. Each day she makes a different flavor of agua fresca: water mixed with fruit pulp. It's simultaneously lighter and sweeter than juice, and in the case of some flavors (mango and lime), the fruit comes from trees in the backyard.