Tuesday, September 14, 2010 0 comments

Puerto Rico, Latino Partnership Leadership Fellowship

So this post comes very late - not a surprise, huh? I have been letting work consume me and that is not good!

From July 25th until August 1st I went on a fellowship trip to Puerto Rico with my Latino Partnership Leadership class. It was an amazing experience. This was my second time to Puerto Rico but this time under very different circumstances. Last year, I went with my best friend and my roommate and simply said- it was a vacation. However, this fellowship trip was enlightening and life changing. To say that a trip could change your life in simply a week seems ludicrous, but believe me when I say that it did.

Friendships were strengthened and some new ones were made. I can now say that I have a family away from home and that I have people that I feel connected to and who I know will have my back no matter what. These are people who understand my struggles and my uncertainties because they've had them too. For the first time, I feel like I am getting closer to being more honest and accepting with myself.

This trip is probably the catalyst to many good things to come and to changing the way that I view myself and the world around me. When I went to Puerto Rico I saw a proud nation of people who would do anything to hold on to their culture and values. They were all very passionate and hard working individuals who were a part of this journey of ours. As a Latina who grew up in the South Bronx, I always hated being Latina. I hated living where I lived. I hated being so dark skinned. Yet, this trip enabled me to do some self reflection and I realized that, these are not things that I should be ashamed of, these are things that I should be proud of. I should be proud of being a Latina who came from the South Bronx and who graduated magna cum laude from a top university. I should be proud of my indigenous background that has afforded me such tan skin. I should be proud of being a successful Latina at a time when Latinos are being persecuted and being looked down upon.

Ok, enough reflection. If I do it too much I will start to feel uncomfortable. This whole being human and having feelings thing is tough on my psyche. I am going to try to take things one day at a time while indulging in some much needed self improvement.

Some pictures below.

La Guancha in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Just beautiful! Took the picture from a tower.

Virginia (left), Karla (center), Me (right)
Some of my LPI girls at El Morro

That's me in Loiza, Puerto Rico at the coconut mask maker's home.