Paulina at Entre Amigo Community Center
I recently caught up with mi maestra extraordinaria, Paulina Lua at her boyfriend’s restaurant, Atico in Sayulita, Mexico. Paulina is a psychology graduate of University of Guadalajara living and working in the San Pacho/Sayulita Mexico area. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and has visited Europe and the United States
Paulina, tell us a little about your jobs. I am the director of scholarship at the Entre Amigos, a cultural community center in San Pancho which provides financial and educational support for youths ages 7-19. The financial support helps keeps youths in high school as well as providing assistance to their first ever college age female. I’m also a Spanish emersion teacher at Costa Verde International School in Sayulita. Costa Verde is a small private primary school in town that gives the students a bilingual environmental conscious education.
What are the best and worst things about your jobs? Teaching Spanish enables me to meet internationals and learn about their culture. In exchange, I’m able to educate them on the Mexican way of life. I find that people visiting Sayulita are looking for a relaxed outdoor way of life and once they become part of the community, learning Spanish helps them volunteer in local projects. Costa Verde also provides classes to Mexican families wanting to learn English. I’m very proud of the work done at the community center and helping students get through school. It’s good to see that its working. I guess the worst thing about my job, is the lack of funding for the kids. The other challenge is getting the parents to see that change is good. For example, our female student going to college, applied without her parents permission. They eventually saw the benefits to college and are very supportive now.
Stain glass made from recycled bottles
What are your passions? My job is my passion. When I was working in Guadalajara, I felt I wasn’t making an impact. Coming to Sayulita and living a simpler life has made my work more gratifying. The children here don’t have a lot of material things so they are very appreciate of the support. It’s a small community, so we can change things a little at a time. Do what you love and the money will come later.
Who was the biggest influence on your life? My Dad, he always made me try something before I said no. So I found that I liked more things than I thought I would. Also, my college professor, who taught the importance of having a social conscience.
Where do you see yourself in the future? In the jungle, in small communities where there is work to be done. I love nature and would like to travel some more. You have quite of few National Parks in the US!
What advise to you have for young people looking for their first job? Don’t do anything unless its fun and if you have to do something, make it fun!
Paulina and Jacob at Atico, a delicious organic breakfast stop in Sayulita, MX
Please visit the entreamigos website to see a community project that is working! It’s teaching the kids art, language and the importance of recycling. How lucky this community is to have such a fun and dedicated woman as Paulina!