Some of you know that I am traveling to Mexico at the end of June for my week of vacation (we get a whole week off, so nice!). I rearranged my vacation week (it was supposed to be the last week in May with the other interns) so I could go on this trip. Below are some specifics about what we will be doing, but first, a little background.
Last summer, I was nominated for a scholarship from the Beck Group, an architecture/development group located in Dallas. They give 2 scholarships a year to service-minded BU students who are nominated. I applied for the scholarship by writing out my life history of service (though I hope to gather more soon since I’m only 22!), and..whaddyaknow, I got it! I received a certain financial scholarship to help pay for undergrad but I also received the opportunity to travel with them on one of three annual trips to Mexico to work in the community that they support. I think it’s fantastic that they support this community financially and physically, by actually being there. That’s so key in development…ok…tangent. I could say much more on the subject, but moving on….
Not only are my expenses paid for, but they granted me the blessing of bringing someone else along with me. I asked my dad to come along, figuring that it could be one more grand adventure to add to our list! (Previous adventures include 2 road trips to Big Bend National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, El Paso, West Texas, etc.). So Dad and I will travel separately to Dallas where we will meet up with the group to fly Mexico City. From there, we take a bus to Puebla, Mexico, where our adventure begins.
The bus ride to Puebla takes about 1 1/2 hours and is through some pretty scenery; over mountains, through forests and close to an active volcano. I am told that the bus is modern and comfortable, so no school buses here 😉
We’ll be picked up at the downtown Puebla bus station, by our local contact, and taken to our hotel. The hotel is located about a few blocks away from the ruins of an old Toltec/Aztec pyramid, which is purported to have been the largest in the world when the entire structure was intact. The hotel is close to the “zocalo” or town square and plaza.
We’ll begin our work on Monday morning. Most of our team will go to the small village where we will complete the concrete roof structures on a new principal’s office and classroom at the elementary school, and install the slab-on-grade for new restrooms and a principal’s office at the kindergarten (translation: POWER TOOLS. *Grunt*). A few of us will go to an orphanage on the southeast side of Puebla, where we will build an outdoor covered shelter and some new picnic tables for the children there. The group has previously worked at both locations, completing several projects over the past three years. During the third trip in October, the group will complete the superstructure and roof for new kindergarten facilities.
If we’re diligent in completing all of our scheduled work, we’ll be able to take a day or afternoon off in order to visit the old square and cathedral in downtown Puebla and tour the pyramid in Cholula. Puebla is located in the desert highlands at an elevation of about 7,000 feet (AMSL), so the temperature is pretty mild and can even be cool at night, even in summer, but it can also become very warm during the day.
AND despite the ongoing violence throughout Mexico, the group has never experienced any incidents or felt threatened at any time on any of our trips. The Puebla area appears to be a relatively safe location. Good to know!
Anyways, I am really excited to have this opportunity to travel, meet new people, and have a completely new experience. It certainly won’t be dietetics-related, that’s for sure. I am so blessed to be able to do this and use a little bit of my barely-functioning Spanish. I can’t wait! I will take pictures, of course, but I won’t be updating the blog or Facebook, (not that you really expected me to do that anyways!).
Blessings to all 🙂