A true immersion into the local reality, you will work alongside community members in school improvement projects, green area restoration or community garden development. All of these initiatives are community driven and community determined. You will learn about Mexican education and the challenges of the underfunded system.
Learn about the promotora model of community nutrition and ecology education outreach. Mostly orchestrated with schools, you will meet and talk with community outreach workers and work in a local community garden or cactus farming initiative.
During your journey, you will have the opportunity to participate in a micro-credit initiative by donning a beehive suit to see the inner-workings of a beehive colony or be put to work painting and repairing hives. You will talk with the micro-credit participants and work side by side with the members of the local bee collective to learn the ins and outs of honey harvesting and related product manufacturing.
Traveling just south of Yuma Arizona, you will visit Los Algodones (a local border community) and participate in their brick-making collective. Learn how to make bricks and get a better understanding of how a collective works. Here you will have a chance to engage with the community through both work and play…impromptu soccer matches with the local kids are not uncommon here!
Gain a better understanding of the dynamics of immigration through a discussion led by the experts who run the Caritas Organization, then take an eye-opening visit to Casa Migrante, a shelter for recently repatriated migrants.
Visit the Museum of the Sun, become inspired by the majestic saguaro cactus native to the area and get a feel for the native customs and culture of the indigenous Cucapah people. For longer trips we can include a visit to the Sea of Cortez for an in-depth look at the nature of water politics and environmental restoration and a trip to the beach.
Visitors will fly to San Diego airport and be transferred to the Calexico border crossing, a bus ride of approximately 2 hours. Crossing the border by foot is a simple 2 block transit. Once in Mexicali ground transportation is included until departure.
Upon arrival to the facility in Mexicali and after a rest, an orientation will be provided including an introduction to the hosting organization including culture, safety, rules and expectations. Volunteers will also learn about the critical issues facing communities, including the impact of migration and globalization in this unique region. The orientation will provide an overview of activities for the week and background on the projects, people, and places where we will engage.
Via International is also prepared to offer a curriculum in support of this journey. This includes reading lists, pre trip seminars and post trip reflection modules.
Volunteers should be adaptable and flexible, willing to work as part of a team, and respectful of local traditions, culture, and customs. Those taking part in community development projects need to be capable of doing physical work, although previous experience is not essential. Spanish language ability is useful, but not necessary.
Click here to view the packing checklist.