The Colorful Culture of Mexico
In January 2004, The Iowa State University Extension Program in Wapello County, Iowa sponsored
a cultural study trip to central Mexico. The trip was billed as "An Educational Travel Experience for
Community Leaders" with the following goals: learn the social, economic and political concerns which
compel Mexicans to migrate to the United States; find out what Mexican government agencies, non-profit
groups, and churches are doing to help Mexicans remain in their own country and find adequate work
and other resources; explore the medical and educational resources of Mexico which can effectively
reach Mexicans before they take the drastic step of migration to the United States; experience the culture
which Mexicans bring to Iowa which might prevent their being assimilated quickly into the mainstream
Iowa economy and educational systems; learn how community leaders can more effectively meet the
cultural, economic, social, educational and linguistic needs of the many Mexicans living in our communities.
Twenty community leaders participated in the adventure. Much of our trip was spent in and around
Cuernavaca, Morelos - "The City of Eternal Spring" - in southern Mexico. We visited archaeological sites
at Xochicalco, Cuicuilco and Teotihuacan, public markets and bazaars, private and public schools, rural
health clinics, maquiladoras (factories), the local garbage dump(!), a cooperative art studio, the homes of
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and the Dolore Olmedo Museum. We spent a half day at the Cemanahuac
Rural Studies Program in Buenavista de Cuellar, and visited the silver mining hill town of Taxco.
We even took a Mexican food cooking class preparing a full dinner complete with Mexican wines.
Our trip concluded with two days exploring the heart of Mexico City.
This exhibition compiled from the group's experiences during the trip, assembled by ISTS and ISU
Wapello Extension. The photogrpahs shown here were taken by Robert Dorgan and Heather Stauffer,
and represent but a small slice of our group's experiences in the Colorful Culture of Mexico.
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© 2005 The Institute for Small Town Studies
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