"A bright and colorful place suddenly turned gray", writes Andrea Ruiz Massieu from Guanajuato, Mexico. The economy of her hometown has taken a hit as it largely depends on tourism and students. Nevertheless, Andrea sees hope in her city: "I'm sure we are greater than this pandemic."
I live in a city called Guanajuato, it is located in the middle of Mexico. My city is well-known for its beautiful architecture, small colorful houses that were built almost on top of one another, lots of history that will take your breath away and plenty of bars were you can grab a beer while you listen to traditional and not-so-traditional Latin music. The local economy of this town of around 180,000 people is highly dependent on two things: students and tourism.
Guanajuato is a student city, it is the home to the biggest University in my state, and it welcomes approximately 12,000 students every semester, people that come from all around the state and the country looking for better education. Most of the foreign students left Guanajuato as the pandemic started to affect their home towns. Leaving local businesses with a lower, nearly zero, income.
Photo by Andrea Ruiz Massieu
A similar thing happened in the touristic field. Because of the quarantine, tourists stopped coming to Guanajuato. A place with a great amount of people visiting suddenly emptied. This affected the local businesses that depend fully on tourism directly. In Guanajuato, more than 50% of the economically active population are employed in the service industry. Due to the lack of tourists, a great number of businesses closed down, resulting in people losing their jobs. Families have no means of support to get through this tough time. Those in the local service industry fully depend on a daily salary, and have no unemployment insurance.
Sadly, this situation has only worsened as time passes. My city is empty, companies are closing down, families are finding themselves in a tougher spot. A bright and colorful place suddenly turned gray. Still the hope remains that not only Guanajuato, but the whole world will shine again.
'A bright and colorful place suddenly seems to have turned gray. Still the hope remains that not only Guanajuato, but the whole world will shine again'
Everyday, I see hope in my city, I see people posting positive thoughts in social media and I hear it in conversations within my family and friends. People are joining forces to collect goods for hospitals, local businesses, and for all those that need them. Even some companies that have no income, support their employees as much as they can. That is why I'm sure we are greater than this pandemic.
Life has changed, and this virus has shown us that what we assume as normal, can't be taken for granted. The world has altered and we have to learn to evolve with it. Once this is all over, tourists will return, the streets will be full. But we won't be the same.
Credit of photographs included in this story: Hotel Embajadoras and Visit Guanajuato
This story was shared by Andrea Ruiz Massieu, a Political Sciences student from Mexico. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and migration, and proud to be Mexican.
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