Wednesday, July 22, 2015


By: Jordan Chaney

Jordan at the Pyramids
The buses’ seats are filled with half-sleeping travelers. Everyone has a liter and a half water bottle clutched in their lap. To get from Puerto de Veracruz to El Tajin you have to go on a wobbly 4 hour bus ride passing various small towns, murky rivers, rolling yellow hills, shrubbery, and greenery of all sorts. My neck is stiff, my legs are cramping and it would be an incredibly exhausting ride if it weren't for the AC being on full blast and if it weren't for the fact that we are heading to see ancient ruins! This is a life-long dream of mine and it’s finally coming true!!

After pitching and rolling through hills and waving good-bye to all of the doubts that this would ever truly happen we arrive in Papantla, the small town closest to the home of the Pyramids.

There are stray dogs limping through the streets, garbage piled up on street corners, and the stench of sewage in the air. It’s dirty, it’s grimy, the taxi drivers are seedy but kind, the town is humid; everything has a bead of sweat rolling from its brow. It’s absolutely beautiful and everything I wanted it to be!

Our driver is waving at every car we pass and honking his horn while letting out an emphatic “mi amigo!”. He’s proud of his town, his home, and his friends. His enthusiasm is contagious. I turn my head to the road in front of us; glossy-eyed and anxious like a kid in line at the fair.

Me and a few of the Many Voices One Tribe youth have been playing the dirty dozens with one another the whole trip, one of the many ways we have been entertaining ourselves and bonding throughout this experience. But as we approached Tajin, the dirty dozens subsided and curiosity and wonder set in…

We arrive.

My face is lit up like the north star. I hand the driver 70 pesos and mumble gracias with my eyes entranced on the path that leads to the ruins.

I can't feel my body intact, I am probably levitating. I feel that good! We find the rest of our group and begin swimming against the strongest current of street vendors known to man: women selling dresses, kids selling water, men selling hats, families selling almost anything you need or imagine! But it doesn't matter, adrenaline surges through my fins, my gills flare, and swim through it all.

When myself, Reagan, and the MVOT youth began our workshops 2 weeks prior to arriving to Veracruz I eluded to an epic spiritual story several times that I promised to only tell once we finally arrived at the pyramids. Over the span of that 2 weeks I would hint at it and the youth would sigh and roll their eyes and say things like “c’mon man just spill it already” or “shut up about the story already” playfully of course…

We successfully make it past the tidal wave of vendors and tourists and then the path opens up into ruin upon ruin, pyramid upon pyramid. The view pickpockets my lungs for its breath. I can't blink, I can't close my mouth. It had come true. The dream I had been dreaming my whole life grew arms and legs, walked up and bear hugged me.

Eyerusalem, my little buddy on this trip, that just so happens to be the smartest and most gentle 17 year old I have ever had the pleasure of meeting tugs on my shirt sleeve, bulges her eyes out at me and says “Your epic story? Are you gonna tell us now or what?”

I scanned the terrain, nodded my head towards a patch of trees, exhaled deeply and replied “yes”.

Reagan, Eyerusalem, Azeb, and Zion