Imagine thirty-two American volunteers and two dozen Mexicans with a task: to build a home for a family in need. The bricks lay piled, the mescla or cemento freshly mixed, but the volunteers remained separated, unsure of one another and how they would accomplish this task with a group of foreigners. Without translation, simple phrases such as más mescla, the Spanish expression for more cement mix, were the only means of communication between both sides. As a translator for the group on this mission to Mexico, it became my responsibility to bond these volunteers through language. But after several days, my responsibility took on a new meaning. I was doing more than just translating; I was building relationships. Day by day as the mescla bonded the cinderblocks, I bonded the people through language. It was through this experience that I realized a gift within myself: the ability to bond people from different walks of life, to build relationships, to be mescla.
Throughout the mission, I began to reflect upon this gift within myself. I longed to be mescla on a larger scale, one that could bond people from two separate worlds through more than just language. I wondered if I could ever connect the Mexican people with the family and friends I had at home. It seemed nearly impossible. The citizens of Miguel Alemán live on less than seven hundred dollars a year and speak no English. My New Jersey companions live quite comfortably, often luxuriously, and many are ignorant of the fact that most live much differently. Despite their differences, I was determined to connect these people in whatever way I could. My mission was to make a difference. My mission was to be mescla.
Upon my return from Miguel Aleman, I longed for some way to connect with the children who had pulled at my arms as I left for the border and the families who had pleaded that I return the following year. The 2,000 miles that lay between my hands and these people was unbearable. I needed to follow my mission. I needed to be mescla. As a result, I started a non-profit organization and named it M.A.K.E. (Miguel Aleman’s Kids’ Education) a Difference. For weeks, I made posters, hassled store owners for overstock, and promoted my mission in local schools. About three months later, my efforts were rewarded. A plethora of pictures and letters was sent to my house from the children who had received the shipment of backpacks and Christmas toys. The images of Mexican children gripping their Spiderman backpacks and Polly-Pocket dolls, showed a connection between two different peoples, a connection that had made a difference. I was the mescla in this process. I had created a bond between Mexicans that had never seen wealth and Americans that had never experienced poverty. I was the mescla and it was a part of myself I wanted to apply throughout the rest of my life.
Over the course of the following year, I continued working with my gift. Dozens of my friends and neighbors joined M.A.K.E. a Difference to help support the people of Miguel Alemán. It was with their time and dedication that I was able to send a shipment of school supplies for the entire town’s population of elementary school children. A connection that had once seemed impossible formed over the course of only several months. As the group of Americans dedicated their time and their money to M.A.K.E, they felt a connection with a community they had never heard of and a group of people they had never met. Again, I saw the difference I had made by being mescla. It was incredible.
Through such experiences, I have concluded that I want to major in International Studies. I hold ambitions of discovering new peoples, new cultures, and new places, where I can employ my gift. I hope to find new ways of bonding people from many walks of life and showing them how they too can make a difference in lives of others. I have faith that I can continue to be mescla and to build relationships that will make a difference in the wide world before me.