Connect with Mexico got off to a surprisingly crowded start on 22 November 2016, with over 20 people learning about their adopted country and how best to interact with the many Mexicans out there with whom they come in contact.
I was surprised by the depth of many of the questions asked by the attendees. They wondered about the extent of public education in Mexico, asked about the effectiveness of the social programs implemented by the government, and they also thought deeply about public health services being available to the Mexican population at large.
Everyone enjoyed the video we showed about Mexico. Although a bit touristy it depicts the faces of many Mexicans; a clue to appreciating the ethnic variety present in the country. You can find the video, titled “México en tus sentidos - Video Promocional de México en HD,” on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HJvxi-AFa4
Our guests were also surprised to learn what the word “Mexico” actually means. Who had ever thought of that? The word comes from the Nahuatl language that the Aztecs not only spoke but also turned into the imperial language for business (much like English is the international language for plenty of transactions nowadays). It means the “Place of the Moon’s Navel” and referred to the center of the universe and also to the importance the moon played in the Aztec calendar and mythology.
We briefly explored Mexican history and divided into four big chunks:
3,000 BC to 1521 > Pre-Columbian Mexico: the splendor of indigenous cultures.
1521 to 1810 > New Spain: an extractive colony with wealth flowing to Madrid.
1810 to 1910 > A tumultuous 19th century: from empire to federal republic after the loss of much territory.
1910 to present > The Mexican Revolution and current regime: end of dictatorship and start of a presidential system.
And we finally centered on benign Emperor-Philosopher Nezahualcoyotl, of Texcoco (on the eastern side of Mexico City). We explored a bit of his poetry and how it shines, of all places, in the $100 peso bill. Remember that?