The first Wild Ones Salon was held on 12th June 2021.
The Wild One Salon is a relaxed conversational space for women & non-binary people of all backgrounds.
The Theme: I Choose to Challenge
We had Cecilia Gamez join as a special guest. In this podcast you will hear Cecilia's talk at the Wild Ones Salon and a reflection after the Salon.
Cecilia Gamez is a travel addict, bookworm, co-founder of Mexican Community in Cork & Vice President Of The Board at Federation EIL. Having lived in Mexico and Sweden, she made Ireland her home in 2005. She is one of the founders and the General Director of PROGRAMAS EDUCATIVOS INTERCULTURALES, A.C., a unique organisation that funds social development initiatives through the promotion of intercultural exchange programs.
Cecilia explains,“I refuse to have my smile kidnapped.”
With more than 35 years’ experience in Education Management and Intercultural Exchange, Cecilia's work involves teaching and travelling to create awareness of how important it is to know other cultures to build peace through understanding.
Wild Ones Salon is an initiative by Good Day Cork & Think Speak Do Community Engagement with support from the Department of Rural and Community Development and Cork City LCDC.
#Women #NonBinary #CorkLike #ChangeTheNarrative #GoodDayCork
[00:00:00] The idea of both organisations we were working, it was that through understanding of another culture we would achieve peace.
Hello, my name is Kel and you are listening to the Wild Ones Mini Podcast Series. On Saturday, June 12th, 2021 at the very first wild one salon, we were thrilled to have guest speaker Cecilia Gamez with us to talk about how she chooses to challenge people's minds and their preconceived notions about women or other cultures, so that we can see the strength and beauty in ourselves.
Here's what she had to say.
I didn’t really know what to say when Jo invited me here because I did, I don't really challenge anything, but what I do, and then my husband told me like, are you serious? But you too. And, uh, but I think, um, I was very, I had a very privileged
[00:01:00] childhood and I don't mean by that, that my family was well.
Simply, I recognise that my dad or my mom were different when I was in secondary school and all the things that were happening in my house when it happened in somebody else's household. And if when I, who was very shy, who was a very quiet girl, uh, who loved books and, uh, everybody called me a very intelligent one.
One. I was always siding with those that were. Um, the chubby girl, they're very shy, small guy, wherever you wanted. I was always with the ones that were suffering in the school. So I think my parents got a little bit worried that probably I was one of them, but no, I think I was quite as strong in other ways.
I was never the one fighting with, someone with my fists, but there was always kind of this side of me that I had, I still [00:02:00] tend to do it. Uh, edit. I don't want to mean bad, but I, to side with those that I feel that needs some slightly push to feel more comfortable. And one of my friends says, uh, probably that I'm suffering of empathetic syndrome, that I try to be nice with everybody, but now it just comes like that.
And it's my mom and my dad's fault. Um, I was also raised surrounded by very strong women. I didn't know that they were strong till I became older in my thirties, forties, uh, because all of them were grandparents that were around, you know? Um, so. When I was eight so that someone in their sixties were old. So they were kind of lovely, uh, tiny women that were going up and down and doing things.
But when I heard their stories, when I was older, I understood why they were so strong and [00:03:00] funny thing was I understood why some of them had decided to stay. Because even I was, I was born and I was brought up in Mexico city. It's it's modern city. It's very forward, uh, with very modern ideas. Uh, there were still some of them who, which have decided to study instead of creating a family who had decided to travel instead of staying
at home. Um, and they were the ones that would just bring us all these stories about what they were doing. And without really knowing it, they were really influencing my way of seeing the world. And, um, I think again, uh, like when my parents realised that probably I was too shy, they decided that they were going to go for ballroom dancing classes.
After a couple of weeks, they told like, oh, this is good for the girls. So they brought my [00:04:00] sister and I too, and then we were there gaining this confidence. Now I realized that my parents didn't need to go to those ballroom dancing classes. They were doing it for us. So, um, yeah. It's um, so I think, I, I don't challenge anything thinking of it because I never really went through a phase that I needed to, to fight for who I was.
And it was always there from the very beginning. Um, I have some notes here because when you were talking to each and everything, but I wanted to say, but, um, I think, um, you know, wake, when I moved to Ireland, um, I, my husband is Irish, so we moved. I met him 20 years ago in New Zealand during a work conference. And it was, uh, we both work as educators.
[00:05:00] Well, I was an educator. He is the director of an organization that, uh, promotes cultural exchange. But the idea of both organisations we were working, it was that through understanding of another culture, we would achieve peace sometime in the future.
So we met there. My, when I came back to Mexico and I told my parents, my parents were like, really, did you need to go to New Zealand to meet someone? Um, but then when they met him, my dad said probably he will survive you. So that's a good thing. So after 15 years married, uh, my dad passed away last year, but he always said, he's the only one that could have survived you. I think that if you had married somebody else, they would be already divorced.
So, uh, that was my, that he, my dad was always saying kind of
[00:06:00] those things, but, um, the thing is. The person, those ones who always pushed me to challenge the status quo of a woman in society, were my mom and my dad, I attended my first protest against, uh, against the political issue with my mom and everybody at home were telling her that like, you know, there's going to be police. It could get very rough, violent. And my mom said, ‘Doesn’t matter. The girls need to be there.’
So, um, the first one that brought me an adult book, something that meant to me a lot, because it, that meant that my dad thought that I was intelligent enough and I was mature enough to read this book about, um, as a doctor, the real story of the man, and I was only 11yrs.
And like my Dad gave me that book as a present. So that meant a lot. So they, they were the [00:07:00] ones that put me where I am now. And when I moved to Atlanta, I found it very difficult to get a job, which was 15 years ago. My qualifications as a teacher, um, The youngest vice principal of a secondary school in Mexico city.
I was 23 that had never happened, but it happened because I started teaching when I was a teen and I cannot move from kindergarten primary school to secondary. And then they thought like, well, you are doing something good. And my first challenge as vice principal was when I finished my first meeting, when I introduced myself to my new staff.
Uh, the biology teacher who had been working in the school for 10 years, went downstairs and resigned because he wasn't going to work with a younger woman. That was it under, under the orders of a younger woman.
So I remember coming back home and telling my parents, I was kind of frustrated and my dad said, So what - you get someone [00:08:00] that wants to work with, so my dad's, uh, yeah, as I told you..I told you that my dad's philosophy- it’s hitting me now.
I think because I'm, I'm older and I understand his concept of like, just breathe, think what you're going to do and continue. And that was all. Um, and, um, so when I moved to Cork, I found it very difficult. To get a job. So I was trying to take some time and I started volunteering at the center of Mexican studies in UCC in 20 years in Mexico, was in the news as a very violent country.
So it also came kind of, um, I had this task of changing people's minds. There were obviously, my country is very big. You can't put 24 hour UK, Germany, France doing the same thing. that my government is doing. I think the [00:09:00] internet connection is unstable. So you let me know if you can hear me or not. And, uh, so, uh, it was, um, I started doing the activities just to show Mexican traditions out of those stereotypes, but also what is the Mexican, um, the real Mexico for me?
That had citizens that are trying to make a positive change. And I hold two positions at the moment. I'm the Director of another cultural exchange cultural organization. And I also Vice President of, uh, an International Federation that pursues the same objectives. Both are voluntary positions. I don't get paid for them.
And my sister who had joined first, but now left it. I don't know something happened with, believe it or not with her pet rat. And, uh, she always tells me, like, you do want to work in, in the private sector would be making a little money. But, uh, what I think now, I think what I do is really important because my job that is an [00:10:00] unpaid job is allowing me to empower other women.
I work with very young artisans, women in Mexico city who are trying to give the traditions of their culture. I work with women that are artisans also obviously they are the pillars of their family. So they are trying to make an income, uh, with indigenous guys that as the travel community had faced these, uh, discrimination and urban areas.
They really want to study. They really want to change that concept. So I'm lucky I really working for, and I like to do, um, I really have to thank my husband because without his support, not only his, without his emotional, but also without his financial support, I wouldn't be able to do it. But, uh, But I think it's spaces like this.
As I said before, we tend to think that what we do is not important, but actually we are changing [00:11:00] our surroundings in a very small way, it doesn’t matter but we're changing it and I want other girls to be as lucky as I am. I don't have any children. That if for another occasion to talk about it. But, uh, I, I would like other girls and boys or, um, people in general to be as lucky as I was to see the life in with my eyes, because I didn't have trouble just because my parents were there teaching me without letting me know that you could do things for others.
And I could keep talking, but I will just stop it. Thank you.
A short time after this alone, we asked the Cecilia to give her thoughts about the experience. “When I was invited to take part in the [00:12:00] wild ones. I didn't know exactly what to say. However, once there, it was quite easy to open up my heart to the rest of the group, more than ever. I felt that I must keep fighting for what I think is fair.
I had the privilege of bringing with parents who taught me that love has no colour, but you can work silently for the common good. And that there is also the need to raise your boys against injustice, despite borders and causes. I left the Salon uplifted, confident that what I do is important to empower other endeavors.
It helped me to remember that no fight is more and that every one strange is unique. Thank you.”
Thank you for listening to this episode of the mini podcast series, you can follow Cecilia on Twitter at CeciliaGamCamp at CeciliaGamCamp. You can also follow Good Day Cork on Twitter at GoodDay_Cork.
You can follow things, speak to out things, speak to one. Thank you also to [00:13:00] our sponsors, LCDC and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Thank you also to Harry Menton for composing the music you've heard throughout this episode, as well as the sound editing and mixing, you can find more of his work on Spotify.