Service is its own reward

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on those accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. — Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)

Friday 16th – Viernes 16a

Today was the Service Project day. Our Cabaña have a partnership with Vamos, a charity started in 1986 by two Americans. They had visited Mexico and seen the poverty, and decided that it was better to do something, even if it was small, than to complain.

Now they have lots of centres, providing meals, education (adult and child), dental services, hair cuts, and much more. They bring the children to visit Our Cabaña several times a year.

The children arrived at 10 – Mexican time, which means anywhere from 9.30 to 10.30. On this occasion, it meant 9.50. We all gathered at the back gate to welcome them.

They were all wearing name badges, as were we, but there were around a hundred of them, so it was hard to keep track. After some songs all together to break the ice, they split into seven groups and started doing the activities we had brought for them.

Some groups had brought craft, some were doing songs, games, or sports. Our group had been asked to do some food-related things, so we made mosaic pictures out of fruits and vegetables, and campfire biscuits.



The children were all very well behaved and friendly. None of them laughed at my Spanish, which I thought was nice of them. Unsurprisingly, most of the ones I asked claimed that the campfire biscuits were their favourite activity, although one of the older boys said he enjoyed the Aruban activity – they were doing team building things involving picking each other up and running around with them.

After the children had visited all of the stations, we washed our hands and had lunch, everyone together in one of the gardens. It’s a lot harder to talk to children when they don’t know that talking with your mouth full makes you hard to understand!

We also had some free time to play with them.


When they were gone we tidied up and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Some went in the pool, some went to the craft house, and some sat in the shade talking. It was very pleasant after the busy morning!

The evening was a split event – the girls stayed at Our Cabaña and had karaoke and disco, and the leaders were sent out (on our own…) to a posh restaurant, Las Mañanitas. When we arrived we were astounded at the beauty of the grounds.


There were free-roaming peacocks, parrots, and a cat. They said there were flamingoes too, but we didn’t see them.


We had drinks in the garden, and then moved inside for our meal. The food was amazing. I had the Mexican platter, which contained tamale, stuffed pepper, some chicken thing I don’t know the name of, guacamole, chillies, beef, and cheese. It was enormous!


Pudding was equally impressive. This is someone else’s crème brûlée:


We even managed to successfully get back to Our Cabaña without getting lost. All in all it was a very nice evening out!


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