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IVHQ Video Tour: Mexico

The IVHQ Video Tour is in action, kicking off with our Mexico program! Our videographer George and his partner Kate share their experience to date:

The first stop on our six week IVHQ Video Tour is Cuernavaca, the capital city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. Located about an hour's drive over the mountains from Mexico City, Cuernavaca is home to some of the best weather in Mexico, remaining a consistently warm temperature throughout the year.

The IVHQ local staff in MexicoGerado and Katey run the program here and the volunteer house is situated within walking distance to the city centre, with the Cuernavaca Cathedral visible from the roof top terrace.

Our visit is well timed, coinciding with Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), one of the biggest holidays celebrated in Mexico.

Tuesday 30 October

Visiting the IVHQ childcare project in MexicoOn our first morning we visit the La Estacion (“The Station”) district of Cuernavaca. As its name suggests the area is built on former train tracks, however it is now home to an impoverished squatter community. The morning begins at the community center where local children are served a hot breakfast before starting their day. Two IVHQ volunteers have been working on a daily basis at the kindergarten in La Estacion since arriving in Cuernavaca. Today the children are dressed in costumes to commemorate Day of the Dead and they sing songs for us they have been learning in English.

We then head to a local high school, Don Bosco, where another IVHQ volunteer has been working as a teaching assistant in the English classroom. 

Visiting the sites of Mexico as an IVHQ volunteerOur early afternoon is spent exploring the city centre of Cuernavaca and filming daily life here. The city is home to beautiful plazas, colonial buildings and cathedrals, some of which are among the oldest Spanish architecture in Mexico.

Later in the day we head to a foster home, Abrigo de Dios (“Shelter of God”), located in one of the city’s outskirt suburbs. A volunteer from the US has been visiting the children here during his time in Cuernavaca.

At night the entire volunteer house head to the local markets, which tonight are more expansive than normal due to the Day of the Dead celebrations. The volunteers buy a range of specialty foods such as sweet breads and sugar skulls and dinner consists of Huaraches, a popular Mexican street food.

Wednesday 31 October

Checking in with the IVHQ environmental program volunteers in MexicoToday we observe one of the many environmental programs the IVHQ volunteers have been involved in here in Cuernavaca. We head to the Universidad Autonima des Estado de Morelos (“University of the State of Morelos”), which is perched high on the hill overlooking the city and offers free education to students. Here the volunteers have been assisting biologists in the Campo Experimental (“Experimental Fields”), an area used by students and staff for different agricultural projects. The volunteers have a variety of responsibilities, ranging from maintenance of the plants to collection of produce that will later be sold at local markets.

Next we visit a foster home, Casa Cacharros, which houses children of a young age. Here we meet a volunteer from Australia who has been visiting Casa Casharros daily and came straight to Mexico from the IVHQ program in Kenya.

IVHQ volunteers catch up for a meal in the volunteer houseWe eat lunch back at the house, which the volunteers help to prepare using fresh local produce and ingredients. Again, our afternoon is spent discovering more beauty hidden behind the city walls of Cuernavaca, such as the local gardens, Jardin de Borda, a lush oasis in the centre of town. On this particular day the gardens are home to the Day of the Dead markets where locals sell everything from silver jewelry and clothing to handmade chocolate and natural skincare.

Tomorrow the volunteers will head off to different locations for the long weekend. Most are visiting Oaxaca, a picturesque city around five hours drive from Cuernavaca.

 

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