[M]ore than 20 years ago the Licenciado Adolfo Lopez Mateos railway school carriage reached its final destination in the Valley of Mexico, after years of traveling from town to town as part of the National Railroad of Mexico’s (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México) Railroad Repair Team’s Education Program. Today, the school lies next to many other train carriages used as homes for the workers and their families on the side of a railway that travels between Satélite, a suburban area located in Naucalpan, State of Mexico.
Professor Jaime Contreras has been teaching there since 1976. This was his first and only job. In 1987 the company that hired the Repair Team disappeared, so they decided to park the train as they always did when fixing the rails, but this time there was no leaving date. Today, the school carriage is the last one of its kind in Mexico. Professor Contreras has seventeen students and teaches five grades at the same time, dividing the space so the children don’t get distracted. One group looks one way, the other group faces another way, some in a small classroom/library at the back, and some outside the carriage in a simulated patio.
Now the school is getting close to the end. When Contreras decides to leave, there won’t be anyone to replace him and the school will be closed and probably destroyed. That’s why he is still on duty. He has been trying to retire for some years now, but it seems that his love for and commitment to his students and teaching are stronger than his own needs.
(Carlos Alvarez Montero | The Mexican Railway, PRIVATE 56, pages 50-55)