FAMILY VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE!
Volunteers here at our projects come from many destinations and backgrounds, and many of them come here for many different reasons; but this is the first time that we get a whole family volunteering with us in Mexico!
Coming from Switzerland all the way down to a conservation camp here in the state of Colima, the Schmidt family was volunteering with us for 2 weeks at our conservation camp. Mr Otto and Mrs Judith decided to make this a whole family experience and brought their 3 kids with them; Leila 13, Celina 11 and Béla 8.
The kids definitely never let their age be a problem to deal with all the camp assignments, always ready to help with all the camp chores and never backing down an inch even with the hardest tasks!
Together they pulled one incredible job at the camp! Really setting an example when it comes to sticking together as one!
Congrats to the Schmidt Family!
“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
George Bernard Shaw
Mexico has a strong candy culture, and all of these candies have very varied different flavors and or tastes, but one of the most famous candies this country has offered to the world is the Borrachito.
Borrachitos are a triditional mexican candy from the state of Puebla, they are made with flour and sugar sprinkes and come in different caramel flavors as pineapple, apple, eggnog, lemon, strawberry and many more, some of them also contain a bit of tequila, eggnog or coffee liquor.
Created by nuns back in the 50´s, first as a way to thank the monastery contributors and later realizing that they could also bring a bit more money to the convent out of a small candy business by selling these candies. A candy typically found in the state of Jalisco too and than cant be missed by anyone who visits Mexico.
The word Borrachito means "Little Drunk"; as referring to someone who does funny or senseless things when drunk.
This beautiful piece of traditional Huichol art was made by our Italian volunteer beatrice Casali at the Arts&Crafts project, this is not the usual kind of work done at the project but due to her excitement and interest on Huitchol art, she was taught by Jose, one of the workers at the workshop who showed her how to work with Chakiras and glass beads, as usually done by the Huicholes living the central west side of the country.
Beautiful isnt it!?
Tacos al pastor are one of Guadalajara´s delicacies! A can´t miss!
This recipe finds it´s roots in Lebanese culture, when back in the 50´s Lebanese immigrants arrived in Mexico, they brought with them what could be considered as the inspiration recipe for tacos al pastor.
Although at first they found a home in Puebla, the recipe eventually found it´s way to the city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. Usually compared to the famous Kebab from Turkey, although tacos al pastor ended up replacing lamb meat for pork meat (something more traditional in mexican cuisine).
The meat is roasted and marinated on a metal vertical spit and dressed with tomatoe, onion, cilantro, mexican sauce and sometimes topped with a pineapple slice, usually the pineapple slice is cut with a quickly knife, making it jump all the way from the pineapple to the dish, a bit of a circus trick there that just adds more style to the whole taco al pastor tradition.
Tacos al pastor can be found all around the city and sold in street carts as the taco tradition dictates, it just happens to be a perfect meal for late night adventurers, since these taco stands work till around 4-5 in the morning.
Buen provecho! (bon apetit!)
Iguanas are some of the most curious tropical animals out there, and people tend to have a special place in their hearts for them, but why is that?
Well apart from the fact that they resemble a small dinosaur, they can grow up to 1.5 meters in length from head to tail, they have Anime style eyes that could stare at you like if nothing were going on and their skins happen have a bright orange or green color marbled with darker markings,some of them can even change colors or bright in the dark and even have spines, and when they move they do it with a certain rhythm as if they were dancing or teasing you.
They also have chubby toes which make it easy for them to attach to walls or trees, Iguanas in Mexico have small horns in their snouts between their eyes and their nostrils.
These 2 pictures where taking at the animal centre, and show just a couple of the different Iguana species that they have there.
p.s. People commonly have them as pets due to its very serene disposition and bright colors.
This little fella here on the picture goes by the name of "Chango" (which means monkey in spanish), he´s been a permanent resident at the Animal Care centre project for a couple years now.
The centre shelters all kinds of animals, from dogs and cats to falcons, snakes, tarantulas, crocodiles, turtles and even pumas! But monkeys are not regular guests at the centre so Chango has a special place in everyone´s heart here at the project;for quite some time now he has been demanding some special attention, he is 8 years old and sadly suffers from poor health like migrains, gastritis, has lost many of his teeth, a few wounds on his face as well as other afflictions. Luckily for him he is surrounded by experts who are treating him like he deserves!
The people at the animal centre have been paying extra special attention to our little buddy here so he will be totally recovered very soon!
p.s. He is one very spoiled little fella who sometimes puts on a bit of monkey business here at the centre but well... i guess he deserves it, since hes been fighting his afflictions like a champ! Get well soon Chango!
Congratulation to our volunteer Tabea Hauser on her great job at the animal centre training her falcon, this is not an easy task, it demands spending a lot of time with the animal, earning its trust and properly training it.
Falcon training goes from spending 1 to 2 hrs a day with the animal so it will get used to you (building a bond between the falcon and falconer,the bird trusts the falconer not to steal its food and provide protection, and the falconer trusts the bird to come back) feeding it and flight training, which demands the use of special equipment like a special gauntlet and a creance.
The training gauntlets are used by the falconer to turn the arm into a suitable perching surface. Falconry gloves only cover the fist and wrist. One other important item is the creance, which is a long light line which is tied to the swivel or jesses. This is used only when training the bird to fly between a perch and the fist, as an assurance that the bird will not be lost in these early stages.
Keep up the great work Tabea!
A City Boy at the Turtle Camp
Once the volunteers from the camp returned to Guadalajara and commented on their experience there, with salty water, no electricity sometimes, mosquitos, etc... It could easily sound like not the greatest place to be, but I have had the opportunity to visit it a few times and what I can tell you is that I LOVE THAT PLACE!
It is obviously very different from the city, but definitely worth it! Being at the beach, sharing with nature, living with the basics, living far away from the things that make us forget what's really important in life.
In the turtle camp, one has the chance to make new friends, to start using your social skills and of course the amazing opportunity to do something which will be priceless for your personal knowledge. Living this experience makes me feel recharged for all of my activities back in the city.
The only bad thing that I could tell about my time at the turtle camp, would be of course... that time flies when you are there.
One of my favourite moments from my time was when I helped the staff when they were building things for future volunteers, such as a new kitchen and part of the new shelter and all this made me feel great! The turtle camp is (for me) like a baby, who little by little, if you feed it well, take care of it and with someone always around... will grow up strong!
I would like future people volunteering there to keep taking care of this baby who belongs to a lot of people.
I came to Mexico because I wanted to work with children there. It had always been my dream to help children and to get to know them and their lives. Every day I started my work by helping to clean everything at the orphanage, and after this I did homework with the children. We also played a lot together.
It needs a bit of time until the children get used to you and until you have a trustful relationship with them, but I never gave up and soon everything went perfectly.
The children wanted to learn with me and they started saying "Hello" instead of "Hola" or they said "Thank you" instead of "Gracias". Every time they looked at me with their big eyes and every time they gave me a huge hug it touched my heart and I felt so happy. It is such a special experience and I also learnt a lot from them.
A lot of patience is needed, but I can recommend to every one of you to go to Mexico and to help the children.
It is important to give the children time to get to know you and you shouldn't give up. After a while they will be open and then you will have an unforgettable time with them. They also wrote me nice letters and they gave me nice drawings.
When they give you a hug and say "Thank you" you really know that you are improving their lives and that you are giving them hope for their future.
This feeling is the most beautiful feeling I have ever had!!
Thank you for the great time!
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