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Mexico: Finding unexpected joy in street performers

By Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie

GUANAJUATO, MEXICO—In Yurabuena, Guanajuato (GTO). There is a busy intersection at the entrance to the Gloriata Santa Fe. Cars are coming in from the Leon, GTO, toll road, the bus station, and the local hospital. It is a busy intersection.

Night or day, there are one or more street performers working the crowd waiting for the long light around the gloriata. They risk their lives for a few pesos.

Mexican street performers take their craft to the streets for a few extra dollars

I always give them a few pesos.

Recently, a fellow “Blanco” (white expat) asked me why I always gave them money. They felt that what was going on was begging. I pointed out:

(1) They are actors trading their time for your money. That is not begging.
(2) If they are making a living doing that, they are less likely to get desperate enough to rob a home.
(3) They are refining their craft and might get good enough to get a permanent job.
(4) They are being a positive mentor to their siblings and other kids who might look to less stressful work (like selling drugs or robbing people.
(5) They are physically working very hard and keeping in shape.
(6) They are not splashing soap on our cars or otherwise insisting we give them money. That behavior is common in Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi.

As I have watched these ambitious people, the different avenues of entertainment they choose fascinate me.

Street performer risks safety to bring entertainment to commuters.

Living in a different country requires patience and understanding. The reward is unexpected joy, like street preformers!

Learn about Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie

Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie is the first researcher to permanently relocate to an indigenous village in Central Mexico. Mackenzie’s goal was to figure out why 49 percent of Hispanic students failed to graduate in the USA.

Mackenzie conducted research in rural Mexico beginning in 2005. She has combined the information she gathered: scientific research, statistical analysis, and personal exploits to produce an easy-to-read textbook titled Empowering Spanish Speakers – Answers for Educators, Business People, and Friends of Latinos.

Dr. Mackenzie’s book is evidenced-based, based on scientific research. Her approach is that by emphasizing teaching techniques that bring out the highest learning results and engagement for Latinos, more Latino students will graduate from school.

The book is owned by the nonprofit Summerland Corp. Therefore, book sales funds building rural libraries in Mexico that should reduce emigration from Mexico (making both sides of the political fence happy).

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