Thank you for stumbling across my blog. My name is Louis Reyes and I am a third year student at the University of Waterloo from Hamilton, Ontario. As of right now I am pursuing a Bacehlor of Environmental Studies in International Development (INDEV) and a Diploma in Environmental Assessment. As part of my program, I have the opportunity in my fourth year to participate in an eight-month overseas placement in Peru where I can use what I learned in the classroom out in the field.
Yet after three years in university, I have always found it difficult to explain my reasoning for studying INDEV. The easy answer would be that I want to make the world a better place but then again, I hate easy answers. When I look at the academic side of this program, I find that it ties several of my interests together very nicely: environmental and resource sustainability, social justice, food security, income inequality, global politics and health. However, it is almost impossible to find the right words to answer the question “Why are you studying International Development?” without getting personal.
For me at least, the best explanation I can give is that being both Honduran and Salvadoran, I have always had an innate passion for all things Latino. Whether it is food, dance, music, fútbol teams or slang, I proudly wear my culture on my sleeve as a badge of honour. But as proud as I may be, I have also painfully inched towards the realization that culture and history are inseparable. I say painful because if you ever have the chance to read up on Latin American history, you will find that “Latino” and “massacres” go together like PB & J. I quickly understood this after traveling to Honduras for a month with my dad at the age of 12 as a young sheltered Canadian with the weakest grasp of Spanglish. Visiting his old stomping grounds in Playitas and Tegucigalpa brought about two life lessons that have weighed heavy on my conscience ever since:
1. You inherit your fights and;
2. You don’t get to disown your ancestors.
And so, here I am nine years later and slowly discovering in my studies who my fights are with and who my ancestors are.
So what can you expect from reading this blog?
A little anger I would hope. I’m not one to shy away from discussing controversial topics and in an abrasive manner in doing so. It’s the sort of bullishness that comes from being the kid of immigrant parents.
But most importantly, I would hope that whomever comes across my blog and is able to sift through the meandered writing and barrage of colloquialisms, ends up thinking to themselves: “this guy is right”; “this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about”; or “I never thought about it that way”.
That means I was able to elicit some sort of opinion. And if you’ve seen Pulp Fiction, you’re aware of the results of not having an opinion. Please, don’t be like Marvin.