Voice from the field May 3, 2013 – Natasha
Last week was my first week here in the beautiful city of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. To start my week off I met up with my fellow volunteers, Josie, Christie and Tom who are also from Australia, and Camilla and Josh who are from the Isle of Mann and Canada.
Instantly I can’t believe how lucky I am to be spending two weeks in this fascinating place with such awesome people! Everybody has such amazing stories to tell, and I’ve had such a great time getting to know everybody. As this is my first volunteer trip abroad I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but everybody has been so welcoming. Mexican people are all very friendly and the culture here is so vastly different to the one I am accustomed to back home in Australia!
Family and love form a very strong basis of the values shared by the people here.
There is so much happening I almost don’t know where to look first! The streets are alive and buzzing with people selling everything from intricate little trinkets to the most delicious authentic Mexican cuisines!
In my first week we also began Spanish lessons at the local Spanish school. It has been an incredible learning curve trying to master a whole new language in the space of two weeks!
The highlight has been spending my time at the local Ludoteca (toy libraries) with the children and Ludotecarias. It is customary for both students and Ludotecarias (teachers) to greet visitors with a hug and a kiss! It is lovely to be immersed in a culture that is so affectionate and promote such strong values such as family, love and peace. The children are all so beautiful and friendly, and so enthusiastic to get to know us and where we come from. It is certainly a different world, coming from a highly industrialized country and working facilities into a place that is still growing and expanding. The Ludotecarias do an amazing job, and the children are all keen to learn and have such amazingly bright and positive attitudes! Their beautiful smiles are infectious and you can’t help but feel so happy to be there! It’s truly an incredible feeling to know you are making a difference. This has by far been the best, most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my life to date and I wish I didn’t have to leave! To anybody who is considering volunteering – DO IT! It will change your life in more ways than you can imagine!