Our volunteering experience began with a warm welcome from GVI in the form of a welcome note delivered to our hostel the night before orientation; a delightful and very thoughtful touch which gave us an overview of the week ahead. We met the friendly GVI staff and fellow volunteers for orientation on Saturday morning then settled in to our accommodation, all the while getting very excited about the following six weeks. The GVI staff gave us an excellent tour of the local neighbourhood, pointing out the essentials (laundry, bank, etc.) while also giving us some hot tips on where to get the best local comida (food). To top off an already brilliant day, we also discovered that we now live only a short stroll away from one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen!
In the following days we completed our introduction which included presentations on Save the Children (the organisation that GVI works with in Playa del Carmen) and undertook a comprehensive course in emergency first response. We also began daily Spanish lessons with a local language school which is an enjoyable and essential experience to get the most out of your time in Mexico.
Once we completed the necessary inductions we started our work with the Ludoteca (the education center – also known as a toy library) – our first experience with ‘los niños’. The children are absolutely adorable and bursting with energy that we did our best to match! Activities have included assisting the children with their homework, drawing and colouring, playing games and a great deal of running around. Definitely enough exercise to make up for all the tacos we’re eating!
At the end of our first week we are equally as excited about our next five weeks with GVI in Playa del Carmen as we were before beginning our volunteering. We have really enjoyed the privilege of being part of the GVI community and interacting with the local people through working directly with them and their children. We’re sure there are many more amazing experiences to come!