There are several residences in which short-term volunteers live during their work week. Tonight I will be posting about the Hacienda. A volunteer’s living quarters here with Project Amigo is definitely not basic living – the only drawback is that you cannot drink the water, but plenty of purified water is supplied, so you will never be dehydrated. You must, however, remember to brush your teeth with the purified water. Even with this being my fourth trip to P.A., I still had to remember to keep my hand from automatically turning on the tap to run water over my toothbrush, and to run purified water over my retainers to clean them.
My first year here, I wasn’t so careful and ended up with a stomach bug, but that was cured by a trip to the doctor. Doctor and medicine combined was about $40 USD. So – be careful, but if you forget, we DO have doctors and medicine here in Mexico.
All the residences are absolutely beautiful, from the fountains, tiled floors, open-air kitchens and profusion of trees, plants and flowers. There are also the hummingbirds which zip around in the morning, finding flowers or the hummingbird feeders for their breakfasts.
Right now I will talk about the Hacienda, which is where I will be for this month (you don’t get moved around during the work week, but as a long-term volunteer, I occasionally do, depending on the size of the group of incoming volunteers and the need for more rooms). There is a courtyard as you walk through the gate. To the left are the offices and three rooms. To the right is the open air kitchen, dining area, sitting area, and these are surrounding a fountain which is, itself, surrounded by foliage. Further to the right are the stairs leading up to a meeting room and two larger bedrooms, complete with toilets and showers for each.
Upstairs on the far end of the meeting room is a balcony, from which you can see the courtyard and within the meeting room is an open area from which you can look down at the fountain.
To the immediate right after walking through the gate is a smaller sitting area, also beautifully surrounded by foliage.
The rooms are spacious enough for a one-week stay, and from the window of my upstairs room, I have a great view of the Colima Volcano, the Volcan de Fuego (volcano of fire). The volcano can put on quite a show of smoke and ash, and occasionally you can see the red glow at night. The Volcan de Fuego is on the border of Jalisco State and Colima State, with both states claiming ownership, but we here in Cofradía are quite a distance away and enjoy watching the occasional ash cloud emerge in perfect safety.
Every morning, the volunteers gather to have a nice breakfast before they start the day’s work. Before the breakfast, for those so inclined, there is an hour’s walk throughout the area, but there is hot coffee or tea available so that you do not start your walk on an empty stomach.
Lunch will either be at the Hacienda, or brought with you if you are away for the day for your project. A social hour is held before dinner, and then a nice dinner is served, again in the Hacienda. At the end of the week, volunteers go to the beach, and then have a social gathering and dinner at the home of Ted Rose and Susan Hill, founders of Project Amigo.
The work weeks center around the children of the area – literacy weeks, where we distribute books and listen to the children read to us, or we read to them, ESL tutoring weeks, where we teach the students English, Christmas Fiesta, where we distribute new clothing and then hold a huge fiesta for the children, where they can wear their new clothes and receive gifts, and many other types of weeks. There are also other types of weeks and you can even plan your own week – contact P.A. on the website at http://www.projectamigo.org and let them know your special expertise or what it is you want to do to help, and a week can be planned.
While Project Amigo is not an official Rotary project, Rotarians from all over the world are heavily involved, especially from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. So come on down, meet new and interesting people, see the real Mexico and help make a difference for children in need – all the while living in absolutely beautiful residences.