Field report

PROTECTING CORALS AND HELPING ANIMALS - PAULA'S VOLUNTEER WORK IN MEXICO
Simply getting away from the stress of everyday life was a crucial point for me and experiencing something new. You should take the opportunity to simply live freely without having to study or work directly.
December 2022 - March 2023
Our participant Paula in Mexico
A childhood dream came true for Paula, as she seized the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean coast of Mexico and get to know Cancún and many other places. She first volunteered there for two months in the Coral Reef Project, learning how to dive and how to protect the reefs. She then supported the animal shelter on the island of Holbox for a month.

PAULA'S PROGRAMS:

My preparation time

I had always wanted to go to Latin America and after school it was just the perfect time to experience other places and cultures. At first I thought: "3 months is a long time and what if I don't make any friends there or don't like it?" But in hindsight, the 3 months went by very quickly and you generally always make friends. Everything went very well during my preparation and WanderWorld always supported me and answered my questions promptly.

The first days

When I first arrived, the tropical climate was a change for me, but I quickly got used to it. The country is very beautiful and the people there are all very nice. I got to know all the volunteers in Mexico on the introductory day and I met a few of them again over the next few months. My first few days on the project were relatively relaxed. As I was on the diving project, another participant and I learned everything we needed to know about diving and practised diving in the water over the next few days. It wasn't so easy at first, but over time it got easier.

A day at the Coral Reef Protection & Animal Care Project

In the diving project I planted mangroves from time to time, but the main task was to free the corals from allergies and dirt so that they can stay alive longer and reproduce. The person in charge of the project was very friendly and passionate about it. He is committed to the marine life and the local population. His enthusiasm made it possible to learn so many new things. At the animal sanctuary on Holbox, my tasks were to help care for the animals and keep the sanctuary clean. As soon as tourists arrived, I helped with the translation, as not many people on Holbox can speak English. Depending on demand, I also selected dogs for the tourists to walk. But of course the main task was to cuddle and play with the dogs and cats. I also looked after the vet's sick animals, cleaned their enclosures/boxes and provided fresh food and water. All the staff were really nice and I taught them a little German. As they didn't speak English very well and I didn't speak Spanish very well either, we had to use the translator from time to time, which of course wasn't a bad thing.

My free time in Mexico

I spent my free time either with others from the project or often on my own. In total, I spent my free time in Tulum, Valladolid, Cancún and Chichén Itzá. All the excursions were so beautiful, but I was simply fascinated by the city of Valladolid and the large beach promenade in Cancún. I had always wanted to go to Cancún as a child, so it was a childhood dream come true for me.

My most beautiful moments

I will remember many moments. One of them is definitely Christmas, when we were all in the hostel and couldn't go out because it was raining so much. Well, but a few days later we all went on a boat to a very beautiful place where the water was very clear. In the evening, we drove back at sunset and then all jumped off the boat into the sea. Another highlight for me was my time on Holbox with the dogs. I was so close to adopting a little puppy. My other highlight was chugging around Cancún on the very cheap buses.

My accommodation

My hostels in Cozumel and on Holbox were really great. Everyone was really friendly. In Cozumel, I was in a dorm with another German girl, where we had a double bed. On Holbox I was in a shared room with 10 people, which sounds really bad at first, but the fact that you had a big black curtain around your bed meant that you had a lot of privacy there. Overall, this hostel was very modern. There was a large pool and a big roof terrace with artificial grass and some sports equipment. As the town of Holbox itself is not very big, you could reach everything very easily from the hostel.

Why I love Latin America

Everyone must experience a stay in Latin America. The people there think very differently to us and nature is much more diverse. Getting away from the stress of everyday life was a crucial point for me and simply experiencing something new to free my mind. You should be open to new things and take the opportunity to simply live freely without having to study or work.

How the trip changed me

I definitely think differently now and it's important that the oceans and their reefs should be protected more. I also think that money alone is not enough to be happy, because family always makes you happy, regardless of whether you have a lot or a little money.

My tips for future participants

My tips for new travelers are simply not to be too scared and to get involved with new people and a new environment. Of course you'll be nervous, but you'll be fine. Get on the plane and off you go. I definitely want to travel to Mexico again to get to know the west coast. The people here are so happy with what they have. Because although there are people in Mexico who have money and a modern house, the majority of the population don't have that much money. But people love their families and are happy with everything they have, because family comes first for them.

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