On Saturday we arrived back in Erie after two flights and meeting up with the AZ Border and Navajo Nation ABSTs! Our group was sad to leave Merida (many tears were shed the last two days) but we are excited to share our love and appreciation of Mexico with many others.

Merida has shown each and every one of us joy, love, generosity, and laughter. We had no clue what the week would hold for us as our trip looked different than past Merida ABSTs due to COVID, but we can clearly say that it exceeded any and all of our expectations. We were surprised by the Nueva Vida girls and were so grateful to spend the time that we did with them, even if it was just a short few hours. We weren’t able to spend as much time this week doing service of presence, but we were blown away with all the service of learning we did. We are so lucky to have been told firsthand by the community about their culture and learn more about the Mayans and Yucatans.

I am also grateful to have experienced this alongside the 10 other girls in my group! They are the most amazing, open, and authentic people that I had the pleasure of getting to know more of this past week. Our short time in Merida together created an amazing connection with all and we built community with all those we met and each other. We experienced once in a life time opportunities that are simply undescribable. We grew closer through stepping outside of our comfort zones and through our powerful reflections. Our group slept in hammocks, tried new food, and swam in a cenote—all things we were uncomfortable with but grew from trying. Throughout our week, we had nightly discussions where we talked about culture, happiness, service and social responsibility, community, perspective, values and identity, and a change in heart. We discussed how each of these related to the Merida community and our own lives.

Thank you all for keeping up with our journey and for the prayers, donations, and support you gave to help us have this experience. We had a blessed time in Merida with our Mission of Friendship community! A special shout-out to José and Pati for welcoming us with open arms and dealing with all of our shenanigans. We are all so grateful for this experience and know the impact on our lives is a lasting one.

One last time,

las caballeras de agradecidas

Ariel, Brynn, Sarah, Megan, Tristin, Sheila, Nicole, Katie, Sripada, Kariane, & Claudia