Make a Generational Difference in Mexico— Build a Village Library

Video and Photos

bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
kids bonding
kids bonding
group activities with children from the community
group activities with children from the community
bonding with the kids
bonding with the kids
reading to the kids
reading to the kids

About

This guided trip with Village Book Builders will be one of the toughest weeks of your life yet one of the best

This humanitarian expedition will provide REAL experiences. By building a library, you will help those who are less fortunate have something that will truly change their lives and the lives of generations to come. During your time you will teach classes, visit homes, read with the children, build a library, and celebrate the completion of the library with the village.

You will have the chance to immerse yourself in the culture of Mexico as well as spend two days seeing the beauty of the country. We will see ancient Aztec ruins and go river rafting down a local river.

Village Book Builders is an organization founded on the desire to bring knowledge to children and families across the world by building community libraries that provide access to literacy education.

Highlights
  • All inclusive: accommodations, meals, project supplies, and transportation
  • Two excursion days to see the beauty of your service country
  • The opportunity to enter the homes of the villagers and understand their way of life
  • Professional local guide providing 24/7 support
  • Custom meals according to your diet or allergies

Impact

Creating reading habits with young readers will change the course of their lives and their future.

Christmas Break Expeditions Open

Mexico is open for registration. Come spend your Christmas giving back through service travel in the mountains of central Mexico.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 10 reviews
  • Impact 9.9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
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Katelyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

one of the most meaningful experiences of my life

I loved travelling with Village Book Builders. It's a smaller organization, which I loved because it's more personal. You really get to know the coordinators and people you're travelling with. Each volunteer is assigned responsibilities according to their personal interests and talents.

We didn't just visit the village to work on the library, we lived there with the people for the duration of the trip. They welcomed us into their community with love. We got to live how they live, in small humble homes sleeping in hammocks. They invited us to their new years celebration at their local church and to eat and celebrate with them in their homes.

This was one of the happiest times of my life because each day was spent working to give to these people. I spent hours with the kids in the village, playing with them and helping them prepare for the library. It was so meaningful to me because I knew that we would be leaving something behind that would continue to give back.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
showering with a big scary spider! and cliff jumping into a cenote! I overcame it with sheer bravery and a desire to face my fears
Default avatar
Rebekah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a life time experience

Mexico with Village Book Builders was a once in a lifetime experience!! The people were so happy we were there, and truly appreciated the library we were building! I loved going out everyday and visiting the homes of the kids with the kids leading us along the mountain paths. When we would arrive at a home without fail they would invite us inside and begin to feed us and feed us, it was hard to fit it all in! Sitting there talking with the parents through our interpreter I loved hearing about their lives and their hopes for their children, they have the same hopes and dreams that we have. They were so excited that their children were getting something they or their parents have never had before, a library. I would go back with village book in a heart beat!!

What was your funniest moment?
When we got there the local band was practicing but due to the distance around the mountain they would go on their porch and play their part while their buddy on the other side of the mountain would play their part, it was a cross mountain practice! Apparently they had rejoined the band just for us and were so excited to show us their skills.
Default avatar
Erin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience

Traveling with Village Book Builders to Mexico was a life changing experience! Being able to actually be brought into a community and form relationships with people from other cultures is something that you do not often get the opportunity to do. I was able learn so much from the people in the communities as well as the people I was serving with. I also had the opportunity to teach different classes (dance and English) to the children in the communities and it was so incredible to see how excited they were to learn. Seeing the joy of reading brought to a child who does not often get to read books for fun is incredible! The two trips I had the privilege of going on, helped to strengthen my love of traveling and of other cultures. I highly recommend traveling through village book builders!

"The magic is in life, its mystery corresponds to us to experience it"
Adriana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

TRAVEL, HELP, HAVE FUN AND HELP SEED THE READING HABIT

I had the opportunity to travel 2 times with Village Book Builders in Mexico and it has been 2 wonderful experiences, the first was in a small place on a mountain called EL OLVIDO, in Veracruz, Mexico. The welcoming of children in the community was incredible, it was a great adventure accompanied by so many fun things, work, smiles and being able to see many dreams and illusions in the excited faces of the children, who had a great desire to learn new things In his new library, every day was a new adventure and a pleasure to work with all the volunteers in an atmosphere of wonderful harmony. The second trip was another wonderful experience in a MAYA town in Yucatan, Mexico. to be able to live during those days with the inhabitants of the communities
In their homes, it was a very pleasant experience that I would repeat again and again without hesitation.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The last day in the community of EL OLVIDO, in Veracruz, Mexico, the reaction of the children to say goodbye was very surprising, we got into the trucks and left the place suddenly we saw the children run behind the trucks saying goodbye, it was exciting and sad to say goodbye through the windows, they ran a long distance, that touched our hearts and I think that these emotions are things that you can not buy with money. We leave the place with tears of emotion.
Default avatar
Celest
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Mayan good time

It was a very unique experience. We were able to learn some Mayan before going and truly put our hearts into every moment even with a language barrier. The people were so overjoyed to receive a library, we couldn’t help but smile throughout and upon completion. There were children there who we know will always take advantage with what we gave them. Not only that, they will remember the time they had with us because there were many of us and we all had the same purpose... to be there... for THEM. It was great to eat in the community and sleep there as well. We truly enjoyed ourselves immersing ourselves in their culture. Although there were some bumps in the road because nothing is perfect, communication could have been a bit better. There’s so many good things to say about this experience. Highly recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
I would work on communication between leaders and organization, so things flow a bit smoother.
Default avatar
Rebekah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing!!!

Being down in Mexico with Village Book Builders was life changing! We were able to go to the REAL Mexico and experience the real culture of Mexico in the mountain top village we were serving. The people had been looking forward to this library for the last year and when we had the fiesta to celebrate the opening the entire village was there, even an old man we had met early in the week who had to be carried by his children over a number of large hills to be there. It was magical in every way. I love knowing that I had made a true impact in the village and I still am able to get updates on the difference I made. Oh and the other thing that was amazing was just reading with the kids and seeing how much they wanted to read and have books of their own!!

What was your funniest moment?
I don't know how funny this was, but it was differently memorable. I went down with my toddler and while the rest of the group was going to see a water fall I was by the vans, and this lady saw me with my toddler and invited me to come in, she gave us cookies and let me put my toddler down for a nap in her bed, we became the best of friends even with my halting Spanish! I love the people down there so warm and loving!!
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Tyler
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Mexico with VBB Changed my Life

I always wanted to give back internationally and loved books so I jumped at the opportunity to go down to Mexico to build a library. Village Book was amazing at training us on how to make a long term impact on the village of El Olvido, we prepared for months before we went and we planned out our day every night like a championship team getting ready to hit the field. The excursions were fun but the real highlight was the time we spent with the people in their homes talking to them about their lives and sharing with them about how books have helped us and how they can help their kids. It has been amazing to see even after we returned that the library is still changing lives and going strong!! Such a life-changing experience to see how much joy I felt through serving others! Would go again and plan to!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
chicken feet, everyone else said it was really good......I thought it tasted just how you would expect.
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Brittany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience

I had the wonderful opportunity to go on two trips with Village Book Builders. In January, I went to Mexico. In August, I went to Malawi Africa. Both of these experiences had a major impact on my life. These kids live in areas where education is a difficult thing to access whether for financial reasons or lack of resources. Those who do attend school, usually travel a far distance to get it. When these villages found out that they were going to receive a library filled with books and computers, they were beyond excited! By bringing these resources, we have given them hope for a brighter future. Village Book Builders mission is just that and I am the lucky one to have been a part of it! One of my favorite experiences was visiting the people in their homes. We brought books with us and read with the families to encourage them to do the same after we left. The excitement that was present on the faces of not only the children but the mothers and fathers will never leave my mind. For some, this is the first book that they have had in their home. I definitely recommend choosing this group to travel with! Be a part of something bigger than yourself and bring hope through books to deserving people around the world!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be prepared to be completely immersed in the culture. It is the best way of getting to know the people in the village and it is sure to change your life. I came home realizing I have a lot to be grateful for. These people live with only a fraction of the things that I have yet they are the happiest people I have ever met. I hope that you all get the chance to experience this life-changing and perspective-altering experience.
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Elisabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I love them so much I’m going again!!

Last summer I heard a friend talk about the work she was doing to help build a library in a small Mayan community in the Yucatán. Curious, I reached out to her and she told me more about Village Book Builders, which was then a fairly new humanitarian organization. I loved what I heard and ended up signing up for that trip. 4 months later I boarded a plane with 20 other very excited volunteers. Our group was a mix of college students, working professionals, teenagers, and even a few families with young children came along. There were volunteers from the US, Canada, and Mexico with us, all with something unique and important to offer the establishment of the 2 libraries we would build over the next week and a half.
I loved my experience with Village Book Builders because it had a real focus on building a lasting relationship with the community we were serving. As I taught art classes, painted the library and met the community, I came to learn that VBB had been working with leaders of these Mayan communities for over a year to get the community ready to have this library. Thus really gave the community lasting ownership over the library and it was amazing to see how involved the parents of school-aged children were in setting up the library.
I had an amazing experience with Village Book Builders. It’s really important to me that I serve with organizations that make a positive lasting impact, and who empower the people they are serving. Village Book Builders does both of these things. As a result, I’ve continued to stay involved with VBB this past year, even with demanding work and school schedules and plan to do two more trips with them in the coming year. It was an unforgettable experience. I highly recommend going on a trip if lasting change and adventure are important to you.

What was your funniest moment?
So many funny moments! One of them for me was just navigating the bathroom situation. We live with the village we’re building in ( which was Amazing!!! I learned WAY more about their culture that way than I would have if we had stayed in a hotel in the city) and this meant that the toilet situation was a little different than I was used to. Ok a lot different! Haha. The village knew were coming a year in advance and had built us 8 extra “houses” to live in during our stay, which looked like concrete rooms, with a toilet and shower in a little room on the outside of the house. The plumbing had just been wired in and there was no electricity so it ended up being this funny thing where me and one of the good friends I made on the trip would go out to the bathroom every night before bed and hold a phone flashlight for each other so we could make sure no spiders or flies would come our way while using the toilet. We would just laugh and pretty soon we learned to use the bathroom in the morning.
Default avatar
Mitch
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Live and Work with a Community

My first experience with VBB was in November of 2017. Over Thanksgiving, I joined a group constructing a library in the mountain village of El Olvido, México. During construction, we spent hours sweating through the sun and the rain, mixing concrete with shovels on the side of a dirt road. Energy depleted, at day’s end, we’d walk down to the house with Alfredo and two of his children -- eight-year-old Violeta and twelve-year-old Rico. Alfredo had worked harder than anyone, but he always had enough strength to keep up with his kids’ antics. For me, walking into the house never failed to reinvigorate my spirit. Reina -- the queen of the house -- joined by Rocio and Aracely, the elder daughters, greeted us with hugs and had a bean and tortilla dinner ready for us every time. My Spanish was by no means perfect, but they didn’t care. We shared stories while we shared a meal and laughed at my lack of vocabulary. Many nights ended with a dance party set to the tune of the dusty radio in the corner. Other nights ended with us reading books from the library with the family. I learned so much from the family in these experiences. They were so happy, so long as they were together. They had little material goods, but they didn't focus on that; they made up for it in the spirituality shared among the community. When departing, tears dampened my cheeks and those of the family. (Except for Alfredo. That guy was tough as nails.) I wasn’t ready to walk away from what they had given me. In my excess of material goods, I had not noticed I fell short elsewhere. We gave them a library, but they gave us much more.

From a logistical standpoint, VBB does a great job instilling a culture of reading with the village. To be entirely honest, the construction is tough work but isn't what makes the real difference in the community. VBB engages in a classroom experience as well as home visits to show what access to books and education at large can do for kids and adults alike. When VBB leaves a library, they also want the village to take ownership of it. Although VBB continues to support and track the progress in El Olvido, the village has complete control and sustains the library fully. Since El Olvido, I've gone on trips to build three other libraries with VBB. Let that be a testament to my experiences. I highly recommend this group to anyone who wants to spread literacy and have a taste of another culture.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make as many connections as you can. You won't regret it, regardless of how many tears you shed at the end of the week. Also, make sure you bring as many books as you can fit in your luggage. You'll regret bringing that extra shirt, you won't regret bringing an extra book.

Location

Location:
Mexico
Currency:
Mexican Peso
Weather:
Jan-Mar
79 F / 43 F
Apr-Jun
81 F / 52 F
Jul-Sep
73 F / 54 F
Oct-Dec
72 F / 45 F
Airports:
Mexico City International Airport
( MEX )
Cancún International Airport
( CUN )
Guadalajara International Airport
( GDL )

Mexico is one of the most touristed places on the planet, due to the vast amount of activities and travelers it can cater to. The most prevalent areas in Mexico are the beach resorts; however, there is a lot more depth to this country than the cruises and all-inclusive resorts that are typically frequented. To see the real Mexico, explore areas that encompass the charming and eclectic Mexican vibe like Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guanajuato.

Interviews

Meet the Staff

About Village Book Builders

We bring HOPE THROUGH BOOKS by creating Village Libraries throughout the world where kids can dream, plan, and succeed. We are making a generational difference.