If you give a kid a camera

If you give a kid a camera they’ll want to take pictures of whatever they see, so you hand them your camera and let them run free.

You’ll need to have room on your memory stick, because taking a picture is one simple click.

The pictures they take may vary a lot, from buildings,


to money,


and even a tot.


They may start by taking pictures of themselves,


or of other kids sitting under shelves.


Some kids when they see a camera is near, may cover their face and hide in fear.


Most kids, however, will be eager to pose,



and you might see a girl with yogurt on her nose.


The kid may choose you to be the subject they use, and you must always accept and never refuse.



You will see lots of close ups of kids’ faces



and you’ll see some playing in sack races.


You may see a picture of a girl who is reading,


or pictures of some who are sitting down eating.


They may be playing in a little house,


or have a lot of food in their mouth.


You may even see some pictures of feet,


or of some dogs playing by the street.


The kids may be happy or dying of laughter, and these are pictures they’ll be lucky to capture.


ImageGiving a kid a camera is not something you’ll regret, because you’ll be surprised by the wonderful pictures they get.

  • All of the above pictures were taken by my students or the kids from the comedores. I love letting kids take pictures with my camera because they always take so many and it shows how they are seeing the world.


So it has been way too long since I have updated my blog, but I will try to be better about keeping it updated. 

(side note) I am not including the names of the kids in my blog for their protection, since this is a public post

One of my favorite things about Mexico is the kids, and luckily I get to work with them on a daily basis, whether it be in the school or at the soup kitchens. 

Working in an elementary school has been such a wonderful experience. Kids are so funny and curious. My youngest class of 6 preschoolers are always pretending to be the Avengers, and even though they always make me the bad guy, I find it hard not to smile and laugh along with them, even if they are distracting the class. I have also discovered that underwear is something universally funny. I have one particularly ornery student (my grandma would love him) who when we are counting together always finds a way to incorporate the words for underwear. It usually goes something like this, “One Two Three Four Chones Calzones Seveneightnineten.” My teaching strategies are rough and I am learning a lot about what works and what doesn’t work for each of my classes. For example, I can no longer lead my Primaria Chica class in “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” without at least two of the students clonking heads. It’s a slow process, but I am seeing progress in my students and it is an unbelievably rewarding feeling.

Here is my Primaria Chica class:


When I work at the soup kitchens i’m able to have a completely different relationship with the kids then at the school. They don’t have to pay attention to me while I try to make the students listen to the differences in pronunciation between fifTEEN and fifTY. I am able to just be a friend. The girls at La Estacion,I have found, really like it when I bring nail polish and we have a nail painting sessions. It gives me time to just talk and get to know the kids better. The kids are also teaching me things: I learned how to make an origami boat and a star thanks to some of the older kids. 

At the Christmas party for La Estacion:


I really enjoy going to the Bomberos comedor because I am always greeted on my walk to it by multiple children, who seem excited to see me. There are 2 little girls in particular who are no older than 3 that always run up to greet me as soon as they see me, and they’ll introduce me to whatever stuffed animal or baby doll they are playing with that week. They may not be able to speak in coherent sentences yet, but they are able to say my name, which to them is “Meggita or amiguita.” I found it funny at first that girls that are about 1/4 my size are calling me little Meghan, but I realize that it’s more a term of endearment or friendship when they are calling me that. I am really starting to feel very comfortable with the kids and they are opening up to me more and always asking me to play hand games with them. They are always shocked when I don’t know the words to their games (It would be equivalent to someone not knowing the Miss Mary Mack song in the States) but I am slowly learning and picking up on how to play. I am excited as to what the next months will hold for me as I continue working with the kids and learning more about their community. 


Here is one of the girls from Bomberos taking her cake “to go”Image

Here is a picture of my adorable Amiguitas from Bomberos:Image

Here is one of my favorite photos from this year. He is taking leftover food from the soup kitchen home to his dogs: 


Comedores – Bomberos

At precisely 11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays I leave La Estacion and hop on the ruta (oh how I hate the ruta) and head to my second comedor of the day: Bomberos. The part of Bomberos where the comedor is located is also an area where the train used to run through, but now it is hidden behind a Sam’s Club and Nissan dealer. You would have no idea that this area existed if you hadn’t been there. The streets aren’t even marked on maps. Which at first that kinda sounds like Harry Potter going to Diagon Alley for the first time, but Bomberos is far from magical.  

Much like La Estacion the kids in Bomberos have very little supervision and it’s up to the older kids to help the younger ones out. Shoes are a rarity to find in this comedor. About 75% of the kids show up with no shoes and the streets are absolutely disgusting. Sludge from the surrounding companies is dumped directly into the neighborhood, often leaving a nasty odor, and all kinds of animals use the street as their toilet. On a normal weekday, about 12 kids come to eat, but on Saturdays the number is around 40. 

All the kids I’ve met there have been super charming. I have had races with matchbox cars, played rock, paper, scissors, and played guessing games with some of the kids. On my way to the comedor I am usually greeted and accompanied by one or multiple kids, who will then walk me there so I’m not alone. It’s strange, but I feel much safer walking through the community with a 4-year-old then I do alone. It makes me feel like I’ve been accepted and that the kids want me there. There is an adorable 3-year-old named Gwendolyn who comes to the comedor every Tuesday and Thursday and she is my little buddy. It took her a while to warm up to me, but this past week she introduced me to her 3 baby dolls, who all are blonde and blue-eyed and remind me of Big Baby from Toy Story 3, and that really made me feel like I belonged.

It is truly amazing to me how warm and trusting the kids are to adults, when many of the adults they know are treating them poorly. I have seen kids as young as 5 selling roses or gum on the street while their parents are at home drinking, doing drugs, or sleeping. I recently found out that many of the kids in the comedor have been abused physically and sexually since the time they were young. For me rape had always seemed like an abstract concept. I didn’t know of anyone personally who had been raped and I just always felt like it was something you read about. Hearing about kids that I personally know that have been raped breaks my heart. I don’t understand how these kids can still be so happy and nice to adults. Why aren’t they bitter and angry and resentful?   And there is nothing that the government can do because many of these kids are unregistered. 

The comedor in Bomberos is struggling right now to stay open. There are limited funds and volunteers, but these kids are in desperate need. If the comedor wasn’t there, days could go by where these kids would not eat a proper meal. It’s a difficult time, and a hard decision. I hope that it is able to stay open, and help put an end to the cycle of machismo and poverty, and help to show the kids that there are other things out there for them. 

I am still trying to process everything that I am experiencing at the comedores but I feel like I may never be able too, and that’s okay.

Comedores- La Estacion

           So, I have been putting off writing about the comedores (soup kitchens) that I work at for some time now. I kept thinking that I would write about them after I had processed all my emotions and thoughts about them, but honestly I don’t know when that will be. I have been working at the comedores for 6 weeks now, and I still can’t process them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays are when I work at the comedores, the other days I am teaching English in Colegio Berea, and I go to one in the morning to serve breakfast, then I leave to go help at another one to serve lunch.

         The comedor I work at in the mornings is very close to an area called “La Estacion.” This area used to be home to a beautiful train station,but once the trains stopped running the whole area suffered. Now the area behind the train station is home to many families, who are living on land that is technically owned by the government, but no taxes are enforced, and the people living there have no rights to their property. There are remains of the track, and parts of the cars that are used as walls, or even rooms. The living conditions are less than ideal, and usually cramped with kids running around everywhere. Many kids that live in La Estacion don’t go to school and they just lie around all day, because they have no supervision. There are many parents that spend the little money that they have on alcohol and the kids are not getting properly fed. So on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the soup kitchen is opened for kids of all ages to come and eat breakfast, and also get lessons from the bible. On an average weekday there are about 20 kids that come for breakfast and they range in age from 2 months to 20 years old. I have yet to see a parent walk their child to the soup kitchen. They come in small groups with the older kids being responsible for their younger siblings or friends. In some cases the older kid is 6, taking care of a 3 year old. But the kids aren’t bitter or resentful, they are so unbelievably welcoming and kind to everyone they meet. As I walked through La Estacion with my director, Jacinto, I felt overwhelmed with emotions. I felt sad and mad and guilty and spoiled and way out of place, wondering what I was doing there. But while we were walking through the neighborhood I had a little girl, Lizette, run up and take my hand to show me around and go to the comedor with me. After that moment I felt much more comfortable about where I was. My first day in La Estacion I was greeted by every kid individually and I received so many hugs and welcomes it was great.  Everyday that I’m there I learn new things about the kids and I love listening to their stories and having them teach me games (which they are shocked that I don’t know, because obviously everyone learns these games when they’re kids.) I would like to say that it is getting easier for me to process my emotions being there, and that the shock is gone, but I can’t. It is just as hard as the first day for me, but in a different way. The more I learn about the kids and their living conditions the harder it gets. There are times when I wish that I could just give them all the money they need to live better, and attend school, but I can’t and i’m not sure that would help anyways. For now though I am just going to try and be the happy, positive person that I normally am, and hope that I am helping them in some way. 


here is a picture of the train station now. The kids live in houses directly behind it.


Festival de la Cosecha

Instead of celebrating Halloween in my school we had a Festival de la Cosecha where all the kids dressed up like farmers and sang and performed skits for their parents. It was really cool to finally meet the parents of my students and see the kids perform. Here are some pics from the festival:


here is one of my adorable preschoolers, Manolo, dressed as a cat for his skit


Here are some of the students in the primaria chica class singing and dancing to “Old McDonald had a Farm.”

And of course no festival would be complete without a piñata.



I am not very good with computer type stuff, so I don’t know how to post my newsletters here, but if you would like to receive it send an email to meghanbryte@gmail.com and i will add you to my mailing list. thank you

Colegio Berea

So it has been 2 weeks since my last post and a lot has happened since then. I graduated from language school, and I have started working in Colegio Berea, and the soup kitchens that are affiliated with the Fundacion Berea.

The Colegio has been wonderful so far. Sure there are times when I feel totally lost and question my abilities on why I am teaching. But for the most part wonderful. I have never taught before in a classroom setting and on my first day I was very very nervous going into a classroom setting where the children aren’t speaking the same language. But all my worries were basically for nothing. The children in my first class that I taught were between the ages of 9-12 and they were all very receptive and willing to participate. I wish I could say all my classes have gone that smoothly, but classroom management skills are definitely something that I need to work on.

There are 5 different levels of students that I teach: the youngest group has 6 totally adorable preschoolers that are 3 and  4 years old, the next level has 10 kindergarteners, then a class of 1st-3rd graders, a class of 4th-6th graders, and finally a class of 7th and 8th graders. All of the classes are starting at a very low English level, so I have been teaching very basic stuff these past 2 weeks, for example, “My name is _____”, colors, numbers, dates, etc.

I feel like by being in a school setting I am learning a lot of Spanish pretty quickly.  Most of the preschoolers don’t understand that my Spanish level is low (why wouldn’t I speak Spanish?), so they will tell me very long stories, or tattle on one of the other kids, but for a 3 year-old, usually all they want to hear you say is “yes” or “cool!” as a response.

One of my favorite moments of being at the school happened while I was eating lunch with the kids in the 1st-8th grade classes and I found myself sitting between two 8 year old boys. They were going on and on about how much they love shrimp and chocolate cake, and at that moment I knew I was in the right place.  

It’s kind of amazing how similar kids are no matter where you are. Even though half the time I can’t understand what the kids are saying, they act very much like all the kids I have talked to in the U.S.

I will be posting pictures of the Colegio and more information about my work in the Soup Kitchens in the coming week, so stay tuned.

Just keep swimming.

On Saturday I will have been in Mexico for a whole month. Wow. Time seems to be really flying lately. Since my last post so much has happened. We finished our second part of orientation, which was again held at a convent, and while there we had the opportunity to visit (almost) everyone’s work sites. There are 9 work sites between the 8 of us and they range from teaching English, to informing people about reproductive rights, to ways on how not to waste your waste. After our week at orientation 7 of us went to Tepoztlan, a nearby small town, for a festival weekend. On Friday of that week 6 of us climbed a mountain to get to the Tepozteco pyramid, which was lit-up for the celebration of the anniversary of the baptism of the king Tepozteco by the Catholics.

Some of us have started working at our work sites, but not me. I am in my 3rd and final week of language school, and I feel like I have been learning so much every day. I graduate tomorrow, and although my Spanish skills still remain pretty mediocre I’m hoping that I will be able to manage when I start at my work site on Monday. I will be working with the Fundacion Berea and I will be teaching English in their Colegio to students in kindergarten  to age 15. I will also be working in soup kitchens (comedores) that help feed the families in surrounding areas (more to come on these communities later). I am slightly nervous about starting work on Monday for a variety of reasons: I don’t have a teaching degree, my Spanish is not super great, and I don’t want to feel lost. But, I will work my hardest to get past these factors and just try to teach the children to the best of my abilities. I have a feeling that they might end up teaching me more than I teach them.

Here I am being introduced to a class at Colegio Berea

Besides language school and my future work site I feel like I have been adjusting relatively well to living in Mexico. Let’s talk about food. I have always considered myself a very picky eater. If something is green there is a good chance I won’t eat it, if something has a weird texture I also won’t eat that, but recently my tastes have been changing. I decided to expand my pallet and eat whatever my host family gives me (with the exception of chiles). I am discovering that there are some foods that I seriously misjudged. For example, Fish. I remember vividly why fish made it to the top of my “Do Not Eat” list. I was in the second grade waiting anxiously in the lunch line because they were serving my favorite meal: chicken nuggets with a peanut butter square for dessert. After I got my plate of nuggets I sat down at my table and hastily popped a nugget in a mouth waiting for the savory taste of chicken to please my taste buds. However, the taste never came. As fast as I had put the chicken nugget in my mouth, I had spit it out on my plate. I had been deceived, fooled, tricked, by Cod cleverly disguised as a chicken nugget. From that moment onward I had decided that I would not give into the trickery of fish, and so for 15 years I stayed far, far away from those watery demons. Yet, my strike against fish ended last Saturday when I was eating some really super delicious tacos that I later realized had fish in them. I loved the tacos, but how could this be? Fish were my enemies, and I was giving in? I then realized how my 7-year-old self had influenced my decision about something so minuscule. I don’t want my pre-judgments or pre-conceived notions to get in the way of all this year has to offer, so I am going to try and be like a fish and go with the flow, and try new things, even when I am “positive” that I won’t like it.  I’m sure there will be many times during this year when I feel lost or confused, but I am going to try and stay positive and take advice from Dory in “Finding Nemo”: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.You know what you gotta do when life gets you down? we swim, swim, swim.”

Donde hay fe

So I was on my way home from language school today and I got on the number 7 ruta. Oh how I hate las rutas, but anyways, I was lucky enough to snag a seat in the very front seat right behind the driver. The front of this bus had many many interesting things hanging from the ceiling and adorning the rearview mirrors. Probably about 50 stuffed animals were dangling from the ceiling, and it was a smorgasbord of many characters. There were your generic circus and zoo animals and there were also many characters ranging from Snoopy to Tony the Tiger and my personal favorite Hello Kitty. I was so distracted by all these animals at first that I didn’t even notice the piece of paper that was hanging right in front of my face. It said “Donde hay fe hay amor. Donde hay amor hay paz. Donde hay paz está Dios y donde está Dios no falta nada.”  Which translated (by me, which means it is possible that this is wrong.) says “Where there is faith there is love. Where there is love there is peace. Where there is peace there is God and where there is God nothing is missing.” As much as I hate La Ruta this little sign really brightened my day and I know have a new-found hope and faith that the rutas won’t always be horrible.

On a side note, here is a picture of the first thing I see every morning when I walk out of my house: