I SPY: Nourishing Smiles

Nov 30, 2015

How was your Thanksgiving?  We were in Mexico for the holidays and spent our Thanksgiving with the locals nourishing smiles.  Remember I told you we were going to do this in an old post?  Well we did it, and I'm so glad we did!  We volunteered at Huellas de Pan.  A small community kitchen in Cancun currently nourishing sixty children from age 4 to 16 and some elderly too.

Besides feeding the children a meal a day, the organization also provides monthly health check ups for their kids, self improvement classes for mothers and have many different incentives to keep the children motivated to stay in school and do well.  One of the incentives I was drawn to was the free trip to Mexico City!  Every year the top 5 kids with the best grades are rewarded with a free trip paid by sponsors to travel to Mexico City.  This is a a great privilege for these children, because it's their first time to fly on an airplane, stay in a hotel, visit museums, Six Flags, etc.  It gives them an opportunity to feel what it's like to be upgraded in life, which in turn will hopefully keep them wanting to graduate from school and do better in life.  Nice right?

Upon our arrival at Huellas de Pan we were asked to follow the boss Jorge to three different hotels along the Cancun strip to pick up untouched left over hotel buffet food from that morning.  Huellas de Pan picks up daily from various hotels in Cancun from Monday to Friday.  On average they collect about 15 boxes of food daily weighing 5kg each.

When we got back to the kitchen we crashed a birthday party.  Not really!  It happened to be two of the kids birthdays and we were invited to join the celebration.  A super hero cake was served and a soccer ball was given to each boy by Huellas de Pan.  Plus many variations of 'Happy Birthday' were sung in Spanish.  It felt like they were singing forever, song after song, as the candles were melting down to nothing!  Nontheless our first Mexican fiesta was fun.  Simple, but pure, honoring the gift of life.

We then served the children food (chicken stew, beans and tortillas) and cake and had a chance to sit down and eat together with them.  Very few words were exchanged due to our language barrier.  However at that moment you realize how the smallest gestures and acts of human kindness are universal, such as a smile can warm any heart.

We had a great experience meeting the 'real' Mexican people, learning about their culture first hand and putting a smile on their face.  It was a treat for us to do our annual public service volunteering outside of our homeland.  Something new and eye opening.  We should try to do this more often when we travel, because honestly it's personal growth beyond what any book can teach.

I highly urge you to check out Give A Day Global website.  They're the organizers who put us in touch with Huellas de Pan and helped arrange our visit.  They're based in the USA, very well organized with hubs all over the world.  Find out where their volunteer locations are and if your traveling to one of their destinations I urge you to try to make a difference.  It will not only benefit the local people, but will make your life richer too.  As the saying goes…Give a little; Gain a lot.  PREACH.                              

1 comment:

  1. love your post! I am going there next month with my 14 yr old - can't wait to experience the 'real Cancun' and meet the people the way you did!


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