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My internship with GVI in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

By Monique Gray 2 years ago

I started my internship with GVI in Playa del Carmen on the 7th of January. And being honest with you, after a very rocky start of multiple unfortunate travel events, I came into the house in not the highest of spirits, but hoping for a reason to get back to my happy self. And I was not disappointed!  Looking back now, the events of my first few days in Mexico feel like a distant memory, and after such a short time, GVI already feels like home.I have loved so much about GVI and Mexico in my short amount of time here, but I’m going to talk briefly about 3 things; the projects, the culture & the people.

Due to being an intern, I am very fortunate to be able to experience all of the projects here in Playa del Carmen, however over the last two weeks I have been placed mainly at Escuelita, a special needs school, and Coco’s, a spay and neuter clinic for cats and dogs, so I thought it best to talk about my favourite things at these projects!
My favourite thing about Escuelita is the diversity in all aspects of the centre. The kids are all so unique and different, and they each give you so many things to love about them; whether that be their greetings of hugs & kisses, their amazing singing every morning and afternoon, or the vast expanse of hilarious sayings or doings that happen daily at the school. Along with this, the therapies each day are always interesting & creative, and I am constantly seeing new things and experiencing different ways of learning. Escuelita definitely requires a lot of love and patience, and leaves you needing a siesta, but I know that I wouldn’t trade it for anything else! It is always rewarding and worthwhile to see the kids beautiful smiles as they walk in & out of the door.

My favourite thing about Coco’s is, of course… the puppers! I’m a massive animal lover (particularly dogs), and being somewhere surrounded by dogs is my happiest place in the world. The cats are great too, but nothing pulls on my heart strings like a dog! Being at Coco’s definitely makes me miss my big, slobbery staffy back home in Aus though! I also love the staff at Coco’s who are so friendly & helpful, and do so much hard work that benefits the community of Playa del Carmen! It is a blessing to be a part of that and help the people & animals at Coco’s.

Next is the culture. Every single day I spend in Mexico, I find something new about the culture to appreciate and love. From the pastel coloured buildings splashed around every neighbourhood & street, the baby lizards that jump from the bushes and run across the footpaths, the totally random live performances from people hopping on buses, showcasing their talents and hopping off again. And especially, the generosity of people actually giving their spare change to these performers, which is something I don’t think I would see back home in Sydney! I am only at the beginning of my trip and I already am in love with Playa del Carmen. At this rate, I can’t imagine how I will feel in 5 months when I have to leave it, but I know that I will most definitely have to come back.

And lastly, the people. As an extrovert and a lover of good company, I have to say that I definitely would not be enjoying Mexico as much as I am without the amazing people I have met along the way. The GVI staff; Dani, Oli & Kopa, are all so amazing and always up for a laugh. Everyone who steps foot into the GVI house instantly becomes family, and it’s a blessing to be living with 5 other amazing girls from all over the world at the moment. We do everything together: whether that be cooking dinner, going to the beach, talking about life, or being anti-social together on our phones. Living together is a bonding experience like no other & its amazing to be able to get to such a level of friendship in the amount of time you are given. Saying goodbye to a GVI family member is always sad, whether you have known each other for 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years! Being here for 6 months, I am so looking forward to meeting all kinds of people, from all kinds of places, with all kinds of stories to tell & wisdom to be shared! It is awesome being able to meet such a variety of people and call them friends.

At the beginning of my trip, I was thinking maybe I had gone a bit overboard booking a trip for 6 months: that maybe it would be too long… but now I think that it just won’t be long enough!