My Warm Welcome to Playa Del Carmen
Since touching down in Mexico, Playa Del Carmen I have been immersed in the warmest of cultures, not only due to the beautiful Caribbean weather but also the lovely people. The tone was set on the first night when I was invited to a fundraiser party of Coco’s, an animal rescue center, to whom GVI are partnered with. It was a perfect opportunity, after a long journey, to meet the GVI team and unwind. The following day and with the effects of the previous night behind us, I accepted the offer from an amazingly kind and warm volunteer to show me around the local area. As she was in the same position as myself just a few weeks earlier, she was able to provide me with plenty of useful tips, knowledge and support which made adapting to life with GVI and Playa Del Carmen very straightforward.
Later that evening as I was checking out more of the local amenities, I ended up at the local 7-a-side football pitch. I sat down to watch a group of 20-something year olds having a kick about and within a matter of seconds I was invited to join their game – I jumped at the chance!
The GVI have been attentive to my needs since arriving on the project and really approachable. So, before the project work got underway, after just two days, I felt like I had been accepted and welcomed into the community.
In the first few days of working on the projects I met lots of really kind, interesting and dedicated people who seem really happy to have our help. Before starting with GVI I was concerned that I would feel like I was unable to make a real impact on the individuals GVI supports, but the opposite has was in fact true. Both the staff and children on the projects seem to really benefit by having the volunteers around and the work is incredibly rewarding. The reception I received on the projects from the kids indicated that they do enjoy having previous volunteers to help, as many of them, after seeing the t-shirt, were heartwarmingly affectionate towards me after a brief introduction.
There is a really relaxed and homely atmosphere in the house I’ve been sharing with other GVI volunteers and one of the GVI members of staff. Each night during the week we take it in turns to cook and on the fourth night of living with my new housemates I took part in my first weekly Mexican cooking class. Our teacher, Crystal, stayed to eat with us and joined us for the main event of the evening which was a hotly contested but very funny game of cards!
So, although as I’m writing this I’ve only been with the project for five nights, I feel really comfortable in my new surroundings. The weather, the culture and most of all the people have been so warm with me and I’m excited at the prospect of another five weeks in this wonderful part of the world!
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