Susanne’s volunteering in Guatemala and Mexico
“What touched me very much during my time was that I got to know many children who come from poor backgrounds and for whom life as we know it is not a matter of course. What inspired me most was that the children are nevertheless very open, happy and helpful.”
Susanne traveled with WanderWorld Travel to Guatemala and Mexico. There she supported our children’s aid projects in Antigua and Guadalajara for two months. In this report she talks about her unforgettable time on site, her experiences and adventures in the project, as well as her free time.
MY FIRST DAYS
The journey was super relaxed and especially the welcome event with WanderWorld on site in Antigua was great. This was also a great way to get to know the other participants and make new contacts. I was able to fit in quickly and felt right at home. In addition, many things were shown and explained to us on this day. For example, we also got our SIM cards directly, so we no longer had to take care of it ourselves. A great help 😊.
A NORMAL DAY IN THE PROJECT
In the “Youth Development” project in a small village near Antigua, Guatemala, I support children and young people individually in their personal development. My working day started at 2 pm. Here I was able to support the teachers in their lessons or teach the children new things myself. It was a nice opportunity to be creative and also to improve my Spanish skills. In addition, we played a lot together and made different excursions, a lot of fun. The “Youth Development” project in Guadalajara, Mexico, my working hours started at 9am and ended at 2pm. What touched me a lot during my time there is that I met many children who had to work at a young age to support their family financially. Experiencing a playful and easy childhood, as many of us knew it, is very difficult for many of these kids. They often come from very poor backgrounds, which is very much reflected in their behavior. They are literally looking for attention and love, something they don’t get at home. They were also very curious and wanted to know where you come from, what you do there and what life is like there. This often reminded me that life as we know it is not something to be taken for granted. Nevertheless, I must say that compared to many in Germany, the children are very open, happy, and helpful. For me, it was a moving experience that I will never forget.
MY FREE TIME
In Antigua, Guatemala I often spent my free time in the morning reading. For this we had a balcony with a beautiful view. We also had the option of going to the gym or taking a walk to unwind. After work, we went with the participants into the city, where we had numerous leisure options. From bars to restaurants to dance classes, there was everything. On weekends we went to the sea, climbed volcanoes and enjoyed life to the fullest.
Guadalajara in Mexico was incredibly large in contrast to Antigua in Guatemala. Here we often did things with the other participants, played games in the hostel, went on unique excursions and ate excellent food. The culinary diversity in Mexico is incredible.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE CULTURE
In my opinion, the people in Latin America are very warm, friendly and helpful. Despite the great poverty, people are very appreciative and happy about what the have. Equally fascinating were the many stories of the children. They were very open to me, because they told me a lot of exciting things about their family situation or also challenges in life.
THAT’S WHY I LOVE LATIN AMERICA
I was particularly attracted to Latin America by the language and the fact that many people there are passionate about dancing. I have been a Latin American dancer myself, which is why I definitely made the right choice for me. The dancing tact and the joy of the people there had a fascination for me that I have rarely experienced before. Latin America is beautiful and sometimes bitterly poor at the same time. An all-around unforgettable experience that I would not want to miss. Gladly again!
MY MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT
To be honest, I couldn’t decide for a moment. Going to Latin America was the best decision I ever made. The experiences I gained, the people I met and the places I saw were worth it. Especially the fun weekends were unique because you could do so many different things and meet people from all over the world. Especially the experience of being on my own and being allowed to meet new challenges made me mature a lot in my development.
MY FAVORITE PLACE
I especially remember “El Paredon” in Guatemala, a place where people know how to enjoy life to the fullest. In a whole harmonious and relaxed way you meet here many different personalities from all over the world. It was very easy to make new friends and share unforgettable moments together. A place with lots of sun, sea and great conditions for surfing.
MY TIP FOR FUTURE TRAVELERS
Latin America is highly recommended, especially because of the great diversity and the comparatively low cost of living. You get a lot for your money. In terms of safety, I can say that I perceived it as not as dangerous as previously expected. Even as a girl, I didn’t have to worry too much because I was never alone and I followed certain rules. You are always told what to look out for by WanderWorld before your trip, so you can start your adventure well prepared. I would fly back every time.
THIS IS HOW THE JOURNEY HAS CHANGED ME
On a trip like this, you learn what it means to be on your own. You get a better sense of how to react and act in certain situations. Through these experiences I have definitely become more self-confident, open-minded and responsible. It has helped me personally a lot to figure out what makes me happy and learned a lot about how to communicate with people from all over the world. This is something you are never taught in school. You have to experience it yourself.