Our Mexico Rediscovered Program gives volunteers the opportunity experience a side of Mexico that few travelers ever get to see. You will have the opportunity to become a participant for change rather than a normal volunteer spectator. The program, located in Cuernavaca (about 2 hours outside Mexico City), is far from the glitz and glamour that the popular coastal Mexican resort towns offer international tourists. Cuernavaca, nicknamed the "City of Eternal Spring," is famous for it's warm stable climate and it's rich history and colonial architecture.
Volunteers will work side by side with staff at a center dedicated to providing shelter, food, life-skills, and job training to people with intellectual disabilities. The center's focus is self- advocacy and providing its residents with the proper support and means to reintegrate into the larger community in a positive, life-affirming way. Volunteers will be involved in any number of projects including helping at the job training center doing workshops on solid waste recycling, tamale making, organic egg production and also engaging in repairs and maintenance of the center such as painting, improvements to the court yards and common areas, and sprucing up the activity center .
Projects vary depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished (or not) with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers. For these reasons, specific projects are often not fixed until the week prior to your arrival and can even change upon arrival.
Food and Lodging
Volunteers will be lodged at a nearby hotel and will be transported daily to the center for the work projects. Breakfast will be taken at the hotel and lunch and dinner will be taken at the work center. Volunteers will discover that a Mexican enchilada is nothing like the north of the border Tex-Mex imposter and that drinking Jamaica, an infusion made with the Hibiscus flower, is more refreshing than iced tea.
Leisure and Activities
Ample time has been included in the project itinerary for leisure activity. Volunteers will have the opportunity to do traditional sight-seeing in historic Cuernavaca, visit a Temazcal (Prehispanic nahuatl healing steam bath), and attend a lecture on poverty and country development. A series of cross-cultural learning activities, such as cooking demonstrations and games of futbol (Spanish for soccer) are planned to be a fun, yet educational, way to become immersed in a new culture.
Arranging Your Airfare
Volunteers will be picked up at the Cuernavaca bus station, about 1 1/2 hours via Pullman bus ride outside of the Mexico City International Airport, also known as the Benito Juarez International Airport, at 11:00 am the Saturday that your program starts and will then be transported by van or bus to your hotel to settle in. The program will end at approximately 9:00AM the following Saturday, so please do not book flights until after 3:00PM in the afternoon the day the program ends. (There are frequent, easily accessible buses from the Mexico City airport direct to the Cuernavaca bus station; it is safe, inexpensive, and easy. We are happy to help you with more details.)
Safety and Security
Your volunteer vacation will take place in rural Mexico, where incidences of crime and violence are very rare. Travelers should be vigilant when in major cities or tourist areas.