Prior to my 14 months of full-time travels, as a teacher I was only able to travel on school holidays. Each summer I would travel to a new destination, often backpacking my way around the country. Each trip that I took, I tried to find an opportunity to volunteer while in that country. I felt it was the best way to get a feel of that place, by getting in with the locals. In Texas I volunteered at a soup kitchen, in Nicaragua I planted community gardens, in Honduras I built wells, in the Dominican Republic I volunteered at an orphanage, in Guyana I taught teachers, but my volunteer experience in Mexico was by far the most impactful–I volunteered at a dump.
In 2010, I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and volunteered at the Children Center of Hope Orphanage and the School of Champions through Feed the Children Vallarta (formerly known as Children of the Dump). Most of my time was spent at the School of Champions volunteering at the summer camp. I had an amazing time teaching English and facilitating games and crafts to the many innocent, sweet, and joyful children who live in and around the dump. Approximately 200 families lived at the dump in the past and, through education and support from Feed the Children Vallarta, fewer and fewer families are depending on the dump for their livelihood. Continue reading