My trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico was amazing because it was a volunteer abroad program that specialized in alternative health and medicine. I had the chance to meet and stay with a host family that treated me like their own family member. My volunteer experience allowed me to be immersed in the Mexican culture and promote a healthy lifestyle in the community. My host family took me around the city to visit historical cathedrals, see beautiful architecture, shop, and try delicious Mexican food. I also participated in many other exciting sight-seeing adventures such as; walking through breathtaking underground caves (Grutas de Cacahuamilpa), swimming in the natural hot springs, hiking through the breathtaking Tepoztlan city, and roaming through ancient archaeological ruins (Xochicalco).
I spent my volunteer time working at a Natural Health Center where I was instantly greeted by a friendly staff that made me feel comfortable and welcomed. The natural health center helped the community enhance their health by selling healthy foods, supplements, and vitamins. The center also provided spa services and vegetarian cooking classes. The natural health center is important to the community because they offer health seminars and yoga classes. These services support a healthy lifestyle, health prevention remedies, and alternative health/medicine. My NGO also introduced me to an Aztec healer that gave massages, read my pulse, and gave me insight about my health and personal life. One of my fondest memories was being able to go into a sweat lodge it was remarkable to experience Mexican tradition, spirituality, and medicine.
A typical day started off with me being greeted by my host mother then I would join everyone downstairs to eat breakfast. The food was so delicious and my host mother made me something new and fresh every single day! Then I would walk through the town about two blocks always with a host family member to make sure I arrived safely at the house of my NGO. Then, I would take a taxi to the health center and begin my volunteer activities. I would do yard work, pass out flyers, assist customers, help cook, file papers, or clean the center. Sometimes there was extra time and I got the chance to take advantage of the spa treatments with an excellent discounted rate. Next, I would usually either travel to the city of Cuernavaca with my host mother or my NGO. I will never forget riding in the car through a small country town in Mexico and seeing the farm animals, clothes, stone buildings, and happy people mingling in the roads. We stopped in this town and spent 20 pesos to do a zip-line over a gorgeous canyon, it was absolutely amazing. I also loved being in another culture it is so exciting to walk through the busy markets, eat another culture’s food, and interact with local community members.
Being a part of a great cause is a rewarding and meaningful experience. Love Volunteers is different from other volunteer abroad programs because they personally make sure you are safe and allow flexibility within their program. One advantage of LV is that all of the profit goes to the host family so the money can directly support the community. This is a special life changing trip that serves as a personal growth opportunity and also builds international friendships. My host family were generous, hospitable, kind, and very accommodating people, not once did I feel unsafe with them. Although, we did not speak the same language we seemed to bond and care for each other. Mexico was a self-fulfilling experience because I helped a community and at the same time got to travel to a beautiful country.