My Cultural Day Tour Experience

My Cultural Day Tour Experience

After spending just over a month working with the team at Human Connections, I have gained a better understanding about the importance of relationships. Fostering long lasting partnerships is the reason why this organization exists. It has become evident through cultural day tours, artisan meetings, and daily interactions that Human Connections values their community and local partners. The dynamics amongst both artisan partners, staff members, and tour participants are not only reciprocal but truly inspirational. It has been an honor to witness the authenticity and transparency in the everyday interactions between the organization and the people they collaborate with.

The Cultural Day Tours are just one of the many initiatives part of Human Connection’s mission to join both international travelers and local community members through intercultural exchange. These tours challenge tourists and artisans to break down previous stereotypes and allow two different audiences to connect, relate, and understand.

My role at Human Connections as a Global Fellow has opened my eyes to the importance of responsible tourism and how it offers alternatives to traditional travel. I have had the honor to observe countless cross cultural conversations while attending the tours. Travelers arrive eager to “go off the beaten path” and leave with a deeper appreciation for the commonalities between themselves and the people they meet in Mexico.

At the start of the tour, Human Connections welcomes tour participants in their office and creates space for guests to introduce themselves. Our tour guide, Maya, greets travelers and prefaces the tour by giving background information about Mexico and its diverse cultures and communities. In preparation for the tour, Maya informs tour guests that the artisans partners they will be visiting live across the highway- in the less touristic section of Bucerías. She highlights the importance of keeping an open mind and displaying respect while they enter the homes of the locals. Through this dialogue, Human Connections hopes to prepare international visitors to leave stereotypes at the door and listen to the narratives of talented entrepreneurs.

Each tour consists of three visits to local artisan partners and their families. Because Human Connections’ ability to form long lasting relationships within their community, artisans are more than willing to share their experiences and welcome travelers into their homes. Artisans have the opportunity to engage in storytelling through translated conversations. Tour participants’ perspectives are shifted as they attentively listen to the unique narratives. Both audiences are encouraged to participate in this inspirational exchange.  

  • Teresa

    Tour guests meet empowered women entrepreneurs like Teresa. Through trial and error, she has perfected the art of beaded jewelry crafting. International tourists leave with a greater understanding of who Teresa is as a business owner, caretaker, mother, and woman. Her personal narrative clearly reflects her resilient qualities and showcases her relentless passion and independence.

  • Leo

    One of our artisan partners, Leo, shows her guests how to create traditional  Huichol figures. Tour guests were curious to discover her story and native customs. It was inspiring to see the ways in which tour participants expressed interest in Leo’s personal journey as a woman entrepreneur.  

  • Doña Zenaida

    On this particular tour, travelers got the opportunity to attempt hammock weaving. Doña Zenaida  leads guests through a how-to demonstration and allows them to attempt this beautiful yet challenging artistry.

  • Naty

    Naty, one of our new artisan partners, explains the textile dyeing process. She shows us indigo, a plant traditionally used to dye wool. Guests find it hard to believe that the hand woven tapestries are made from 100% natural dyes.

  • Don Enrique

    Don Enrique shares his journey as a welder as he welcomes travelers into his home. Here, he unpacks the secrets behind his technique and expresses his passion for his work. It was an inspirational discussion to be a part of, as guests continually asked Don Enrique about his experiences in Michoacán.

  • Doña Dominga

    Doña Dominga demonstrates how she brushes sheep’s wool to create natural yarn. The tour guests actively engage and ask questions as they learn a little bit more about the López López family and their cultural heritage.  

“This was a wonderful and informative way to be more in touch with locals. Human Connections lives up to its name connecting humans with humans for a fulfilling outing – I highly recommend.”

Lisa D

“Just can’t say enough about how meaningful and great this day was! We spent the day learning about some amazing artisan’s lives and art! Life changing experience! I will never travel the same again! Thank you for this day!”

Barbe C.

“This is our second year of having a guided experience with the women at “ Human Connections”. These tours are aptly named. You cannot come away from them unchanged.  The artisans you will meet will impress you in so many ways…. their creativity, their craftsmanship, their incredible diligence and optimism. These are people who know the world through their hands and their hard work and, every day, must await the acceptance of others for confirmation of their livelihood. No abstract theories, no endless interpretation of ‘data points’, their intelligence is the mastery of real things.

Once you meet them, once you enter their homes and workshops on a Human Connections guided experience, you will never see the lives of Mexican artisans in a dim light again. 

Take this tour. See the Mexico you really came to see.” 

Anonymous