We all have a star to follow

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Working as a tour guide in Canada has been both rewarding and challenging. My career as a tour guide started two years ago on Parliament Hill. In the beginning, it was only a nice way to pay for my university studies. I was born and raised in Mexico, and immigrated to Canada in 2006. Mexico made me a lawyer; Canada made me a tour guide. When I look back on my career so far, my favourite job is being a tour guide. 

I remember the day that I got a call from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) offering me my current position. While walking home through the Plains of Abraham, I was smiling and thinking about how great my life was. I was living in a beautiful city with good friends, a friendly roommate, and a wonderful job at The Citadelle of Quebec. I wanted everything to stay the same. When I got home, I noticed a missed call on my voicemail; it was a number beginning with 204, Manitoba’s area code. My heart started beating faster and faster... I knew at that moment that everything was about to change. 

I arrived in Winnipeg in the beginning of May. I was excited! 

Not only did I have to face the trials of moving to a new city, but also the challenges of starting a new job. I knew that I had to speak in Canada’s two official languages, English and French, neither of which is my first language. I had to speak about the history of a town and a country in which I did not grow up in. 

I always felt that working as a tour guide would get me somewhere. For the moment it has brought me to Winnipeg. I believe that during this life, we actually don’t have a final destination, but we all have a star to follow, and my star is human rights. I could change everything in my life, move to another country, move to another city, but I will never be able to change my passion. I strongly believe that patience reaches everything, even the stars.

While working as an outdoor summer guide for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights I learned that there is a language that we all speak and there is a country we all belong to. This country is not a land but a journey, a journey that we spend with people that perhaps don’t share our point of view, but in which we are all looking for the same answers. These answers are all written in the same language for they are universal, indivisible and inalienable. Brigitte Savard, my colleague, reminds me every day how rich one can be while doing something that makes people smile. Smiles need no translation, no visa, no struggle, no fee and no explanation. In that sense, every “smile-inducing” profession is in fact strongly rooted in human rights. 

Javier and Brigitte
Javier Torres and Brigitte Savard, 2013 Summer Interpretive Guides.

It’s been a pleasure to work with the Public Programming team at the CMHR. I will always look back on my experience in Winnipeg with joy.

I’d love to take you on a tour before I leave so I can share with you all I’ve learned about human rights related to Winnipeg. The tours are still running until August 31, 2013. For more details please visit our Outdoor Summer Tours page.

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