Orlando, 29 years old, director of a college in Ciudad Juarez

Orlando is the Director of the CECYT 22 of Ciudad Juarez. Before I met up with him I was very surprised to hear that such a very young man was in charge of the whole operation of a college as it involves much responsibility.

He is in charge of the education of adolescents ranging between the ages of 14 and 19. He explains that it’s a huge commitment but he enjoys it very much. Orlando says his job is not easy at all as he must play various roles such as mediator of circumstances that may arise during the working hours, working overtime etc. but he is happy to be the director and the most important thing is that he does it for the benefit of his students.

His main aim is to help adolescents develop and to leave the institution with the necessary tools to progress in life, and consequently to become better human beings.

Orlando notes that his students see the institution as their second home. The students’ commitment to learning is what motivates each of them to keep going so that one day he or she can become someone in life and ultimately, leave a positive mark in society.

Right now they are at an age when they don’t quite know what to go into, and this is the reason it is so important to help them find the right path.

Orlando has implemented a policy at the institution that consists of inviting each student to reflect and be critical. He adds, ‘In countries where governments do whatever they want, we need critical minds that are capable of demanding their rights fairly and people who can change the spectrum of things’.

In terms of the extreme violence that was experienced between 2008 and 2014, he tells me that society as a whole in Juarez suffered from a sort of psychosis at the time. He was personally very cautious when he was out and about. He experienced shootings and saw bad things happen and he adds that over time, citizens of Juarez got accustomed to violence.

Today he says that the situation in the city has changed and that there is less violence; trust has also returned to the people.

With regard to the extreme migration policies being currently applied by Trump he poses the question, ‘why do Mexicans sometimes behave differently when it comes to following the rules in the USA?’ Orlando sees that over in the USA there is no corruption and there is a zero tolerance policy in relation to law and order. He believes that Mexicans are suffering from a certain cultural stagnation but very much hopes that the situation in the country improves.

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