The media in the U.S. often describes Mexicans with stereotypical terms–gangs, drugs, lazy. Let me shine a little light on the people who have shared their country with me for three years. I don’t know anyone in Mexico who fits into this stereotype, and why do we think we should throw people into a descriptive “basket” anyway? Are there people in Mexico who are unpleasant or criminal? Certainly, as there are the world over.
So, what kind of people have I encountered in Pátzcuaro, Mexico? Kind, generous, and family oriented. If you need a stereotype, try that one. In our town, people are so patient when we try to communicate in our broken Spanish. We had a lady take us across town to find a repair shop when she was clearly headed in a different direction. She even stopped several times to ask directions for us. A young man spent the day climbing up and down a ladder to clean the exterior windows of our two story house and then would not charge us anything. He only took some money when we insisted it was for “Navidad.”
The flowers were given to me by our hairdresser. She has a clean, but worn, little one room, one chair beauty shop with no apparent source of water. Parking is one slot on the side of a busy, curvy hill. Hours are indeterminate. But she is pleasant and does a great job of cutting our hair. When I asked her for the name of the plant explaining that I had one in my yard at home but would like to buy more, she insisted I take the vase of flowers home–“un regalo” (a gift).
We look different, talk different, and dress differently, but we experience kindness and generosity. This is my stereotype for Mexicanos.