“Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing.” ~ Quincy Jones
That’s what we hope to do during the Friends of Cozumel’s Mission Week. Twenty people will soon join other resident volunteers on Mexico’s largest Caribbean island at the tip of the Yucatan peninsula. It’s a beautiful setting known for its clear blue water and white sand beaches. Beyond the tourist zone, many families struggle to meet the basic needs and food, shelter and education for their children. Our mission is to share a little of what we’re each good at doing to help families in need.
Kristin from South Carolina and Larry from Iowa are both good-natured, repeat volunteers. Kristin says she’ll be sure to pack her watch to time Larry who has frequently been heard to say “This project will only take 20 minutes.” Kristin learned during her 2010 experience that everything takes more time to accomplish in this environment than expected. It takes longer to find the right kind of paint (who knows how to say ‘magnetic latex primer’ in Spanish?), longer for the paint to dry in the humidity, and longer to deal with the mess without the arsenal of cleaning products we’d use back home. Those of us with control issues (you know who you are) will have to adopt a mantra of “it’s close enough.”
Nebraskans Roger, Mike, Diane and Becky have already arrived. This group packed what could only be described as a small mountain of gifts–from school supplies to hand-made children’s underwear and tools for some of our building projects. “I brought a cast iron hand operated water pump with me,” Roger said. These long-time donors, but first-time volunteers did a masterful job of getting through customs with all kinds of strange, but legal things. Spanish word of the day: increíble (in-cray-E-blay). That means incredible.
Aimee and Jason from Iowa are coming to Cozumel for the first time, but already plan to get to know the local community and experience the culture. “We try to stay locally, to eat locally, to be a courteous guest rather than a rude tourist,” Aimee said. They’re packing mask and fins and looking forward to getting some underwater time as certified divers.
Gary, Julie and Jay from Nebraska are packing sheet music, microphone cables and various adaptors for the borrowed equipment they’ll be using for a Christian music concert. Stay tuned to learn how they fare when they join local musicians they’ve never performed with before.
And I’m packing promotional materials for the concert, just hoping the Spanish on my banner and fliers is correct. Or at least not too offensive.
We’ll all do our best to share our individual talents. And then we’ll share our experiences with you through daily blogs. It’s the next best thing to being there, so join us by asking questions, making suggestions, and inspiring us with your comments. Our work officially begins Feb. 1, so check back here for updates. –Phyllis from Nebraska