Our Vacation Giving Back - My Family Travels

The reason we went the first time was to enjoy the scenery, experience the plush hotel and its’ surroundings along with touring the city and tasting the food. But, the reason we go now is two- fold. We still stay at the same place because God has blessed us with enough money to do so. However, it is the experience beyond the fine lobby and plush hotel room that we all look forward to each year. Because, out there, in the mainstream of Cozumel, Mexico, is a totally different world; one I want to be part of by choice, not by birth. Our first visit was our introduction to complete poverty; poverty that exists on others’ wealth near the plush existence of vacationers and visitors. Children hang out all day from early morning until late, late at night trying to sell the wares that their parents made or that, they themselves, made; things such as shells, shell jewelry, trinkets that they stole, in many cases, and other items that are easily come by in Mexico. The children are usually sent by their parents, as cruel as that sounds, to make the money for enough food for the day. So, after observing this behavior the first year, we took small toys to pass out to the kids on the streets the next year, but they didn’t last long and the heartache of leaving some without a toy when they waited for us to leave the hotel the next morning left my mother and dad too grieved to deal with the toy issue. So, my mom contacted the local Red Cross to ask what we could do on the island that would help the most for these children. They told us that medical supplies are always in short supply for this island and those items such as rubber gloves, travel size toiletries and small toys are both needed and appreciated by the community. So, from that time on, we always take these items with us. My mom collects the little free toiletries given by every big hotel chain where she stays throughout the year and stores them in plastic containers. Then, when we are ready to take our trip, she starts packing an extra suitcase or two to bring along as much as we can bring for our community service. Yes, we still love the plush hotel and the food of the island, but we all love this part of the trip the most. So, I would say to anyone else out there, that vacation time in Cozumel, Mexico can take on a whole new face when you take time to look in the FACE of a child and just GO DO THE RIGHT THING. These children must grow up fast. I can’t even imagine being put on the street to work as a little child. But, I have learned through travel that there are some very unimaginable things going on in the world. I invite others to follow my family’s example of TAKING (vacation) and GIVING (community service) at the same time. It works for us and if it is multiplied times a thousand, it will touch an entire society with little effort. The Chinese proverb, “many hands make light work” is so true. Come go with me to Cozumel, Mexico next year. The scenery is great. 

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