Lily here- writing from sunny beautiful Troncones Mexico. Troncones is a small beach town in the state of Guerrero Mexico situated on the Pacific Coast. I am living in an apartment and working with the community in anything I can get involved in. My contact here in Troncones in Present Moment Retreat- a yoga and meditation retreat center.
My learning here started immediately in the schooling of Mexican Time; a very different concept than time in the United States. However, I have been here a month and am still trying to accept the difference in perspective of “time”. Whether it be meeting at 5:30 in the morning to collect turtle eggs or at 9 at night to go the town fair- meetings and times are something of a whole different category and mindset down here. So after adapting to the system that things can always happen tomorrow, there is never a rush, and it will be what it will be I have found things much easier. It is a bigger challenge than I would have ever thought. To be told to just sit and relax was something that threw me for a huge loop. It sounds silly, but just being is a daunting task for me. I came here ready to do and ready to have a full schedule. But, that is far from what my days consist of. I am so fortunate with the opportunity to take yoga, qi gong, meditation, and zumba classes at Present Moment which occupy a lot of my time. I am getting in the swing of my yoga practice and easing into meditation more and more. I am already feeling stronger and more confident and in control of my body! The other portion of my day is up to me to occupy. This particular placement seems much different than many of the others because I am not here with an specific volunteer organization. I am here to find out what the community and people need and see where I can contribute and dive into that. This, also, is much easier said than done. With knowing barely any Spanish finding these projects is difficult and facilitating them is tough- then throw in the whole Mexican Time concept and i’m almost back to square one. However, much of me being here is making connections and seeing the area of need for future volunteers.
My volunteer efforts range from rescuing sea turtles to building a compost box. At the beginning of my time here I was interested and persistent in volunteering more with the Troncones Sea Turtle Sanctuary They go on the beach and dig up the sea turtle eggs and replant them in a safe area and then facilitate a safe journey for all the hatched turtles into the sea. I was able to go once in the morning on the beach and dig up the eggs which was a wonderful and magical experience and have helped with many turtle releases. However, I found I am most useful giving presentations to the guests at Present Moment on the turtles. So, once a week I give a brief talk and answer any questions about the turtles and help with the release.
Most consistently I have been teaching children English four times a week. It is a tough task since explaining things is out of the question due to my lack of Spanish but we get by with pictures and lots of charades!! It has been really amazing forming connections with some of the kids that come to lessons. It is incredible to see their interest in learning and how they view it as valuable and important. It is also really rewarding to know that if I were not teaching them English no one else would be. So my efforts are proving beneficial and appreciated!
I also helped build a compost box (and box is a bit of an understatement because the “box” is massive) with the carpenters at the center. I helped cut some of the wood and assisted in the assembly. I got to use an electric saw and a hand saw! (Don’t worry dad- I had my safety goggles on the whole time!)
My newest project is to build trash cans to put by the public beach access. After going on the beach and collecting trash it is appalling how much there is. The plan is to build the boxes and then paint and decorate them! The next plan and dream is to get some artwork at the school! Ideally the students will be painting somewhat of a mosaic piece!!!
I have also been taking Spanish classes from my new friend, Yetzy, a 21-year-old who grew up in New Jersey but is from Troncones. She is helping me explore more of Troncones and all it has to offer. She took me to the town fair, where two years ago she was crowned Miss Troncones! Her family owns a restaurant in town and they have taught me how to make tortillas and I will be going back for cooking tips and lessons and hopefully helping out in the kitchen to pick up more Spanish as well!
Finally, my newest goal and dream is to learn how to surf. According to any surfer you ask in town Troncones has one of the worlds best beginner breaks and is the perfect place to pick up surfing! It is a challenge and being from the middle of the United States a little scary but is something I have always wanted to try! So there is no better time than the present! There is live music at Present Moment every Saturday so I have also been trying to improve my salsa-which still needs lots and lots of work. These next two months will continue to change and morph and i’m sure new projects will come into play. As of now I am trying to stay as busy as possible but embrace the idea of slowing down and accepting and truly being in the present situation, whatever that may be.
Much love sent to all my Shiva Fam around the world 🙂
and to my friends & family back home!!!!!!