Mara’s time in Colombia and Guatemala
“People immediately welcome you with kindness and helpfulness, even if they haven’t spoken a word to you yet. I can’t put into words how much that has given me and how much I wish I could go back again.”
Mara has traveled to Colombia and Guatemala with WanderWorld Travel. In Colombia, she worked in a hostel in Cartagena for two months, then traveled to Guatemala and participated in a children’s aid project for two months. Her last month was spent at the Eco-Farm in Guatemala. In this report she talks about her unforgettable time on the ground, her experiences and adventures in the project, as well as her free time.
First of all, I informed myself about some entry requirements. This included, among other things, which vaccinations are required for Colombia, further recommended. Then I looked at the packing list from WanderWorld and compared it with my own packing list to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Since you don’t have everything at home, I had to buy more packing cubes, for example. These are helpful to be able to keep order in his travel backpack. Of course, it’s up to everyone what they want to take with them, but it seemed like a good idea to me and I didn’t regret it in retrospect. Over time, I was able to check off more and more items from the packing list and with that, my trip was getting closer and closer. My excitement increased from day to day.
MY FIRST DAYS
In the first few days, there are a lot of new things coming at you and it can seem a bit much and overwhelming at first. It is normal that you need a few days to get used to the new circumstances. The introduction day helped me a lot, because I could already meet other volunteers who were in the same situation. You could exchange ideas and that also helped you to quickly feel at home.
A NORMAL DAY IN THE PROJECT
In the hostel in Colombia I worked in the breakfast service and worked 5 days a week from 07:00 – 12:00. There I cut fruit, took orders and served food and drinks. During my break, I then ate with the other employees. Afterwards, I was able to organize the rest of my day myself. I really liked the early shift because you get the most out of the day and can even enjoy the quiet hours in the morning.
At the children’s aid project in Guatemala, I worked from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and took the bus to and from the project.
I studied with the children during my shift, played to cook and eat at the end of their lessons. On some days we also went on excursions, these were always especially fun for me.
At the Eco-Farm I worked from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. My job was to take care of the animals, give them their food and drink, and take the dogs for a walk if necessary. On some days, the enclosures also had to be cleaned and there were other tasks that I could take on. With others During my shift, we also had a breakfast break, which I always took with the other volunteers in the farm’s café.
MY FREE TIME
In all my projects, I tried to see the surroundings as much as I could and find my way around. In the beginning, I took in the sights of the areas and went for walks a lot, so I quickly found my favorite places. In the evenings, we often went out in a group, all the volunteers you get to know in the project, and when I had several days off at a time, I went on excursions in the surrounding area.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE CULTURE
The culture has always excited me in the countries I have seen. Even though there were a few of the same components, they were completely different. For example, there are similar national dishes, but they were slightly modified in each country. Also the way people spoke and the words they used were often different and for me it was always interesting to find out these differences. What fascinated me the most was how open and warm people were towards me. Often before you exchanged a few words, they were already there to help you if you looked a little lost.
THAT’S WHY I LOVE LATIN AMERICA
Above all, the language and the people’s joie de vivre have grown on me. People immediately welcome you with friendliness and helpfulness, even if they haven’t spoken a word to you yet. I can’t put into words how much this has given me and how much I wish I could go back again.
MY MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT
I have experienced many very beautiful moments that I would never want to miss again. But one of my favorites is definitely the climb to the volcano Acatenago. After we started walking at noon, we pitched our tents around 5:00 pm to sleep for a few hours. The feeling of being so close to nature was breathtaking. Then around 4am we had to get up to get to the summit in time for sunrise. The little bit of sleep I sacrificed for this was worth it, because once at the top we could see the volcano El Fuego, spewing with lava. This feeling is so hard to describe, because I have never seen anything like it and could hardly believe my eyes. I am very grateful for this experience.
MY FAVORITE PLACE
I found Antigua particularly fascinating because you felt very comfortable and at home there. Although the city itself is not that small, the many small streets made it feel that way. The residents were also very friendly and after you saw each other often, you always said hello and talked briefly on the street, which I personally found very nice.
MY TIP FOR FUTURE TRAVELERS
I can recommend a trip to Latin America to everyone, because there is really something for everyone. Each country is very different and has something different to offer. I am still very enthusiastic about the culture and language and the warm-heartedness of the people has moved me deeply in my heart. Through the stay abroad, you not only expand your horizons, but also get to know yourself completely new.
THIS IS HOW THE JOURNEY HAS CHANGED ME
By getting involved with something completely new, you automatically become much more open to everything else that comes along. So I could see how small my world at home was and how much more is out there. I am very glad that I made the decision and dared to do it.