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Posts Tagged ‘Volunteer Abroad’

With a nod to Humphrey Bogart’s character in Casablanca:  Of all the volunteer opportunities, in all of Oaxaca, why did I walk into the Oaxaca Lending Library (OLL)?   For the answer, you will have to check out my newly published (yippeee!) article on volunteering at the Oaxaca Lending Library on the Go Overseas website.

The article mentions the various and sundry activities organized by the OLL.  So, I thought I’d give you a taste:

Volunteering at the OLL has introduced me to an incredibly diverse, knowledgeable, and talented group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds.  Be they native Oaxaqueños, year round ex pat residents, or yearly “snow birds,” many have become part of my community and support system.  A library —  what better place to get your questions answered about the who, what, where, why, and how of living and thriving in an unfamiliar culture?  People and books are there to assist with navigating the challenges, celebrating the differences, and exploring the surroundings.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a panel discussion at the library commemorating fifty years of the Peace Corps.  Two of the speakers had been among the original Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s, one to Africa and one to South America. The third speaker is an 85-year-old woman who was a Peace Corps volunteer when she was 60+ years old!  All have been living in Oaxaca for a number of years, and credit their Peace Corps volunteer experiences with broadening their horizons and realizing their power to have a positive impact in the world, even if it is just one person at a time.  All continue to find ways to offer their time, energy, and talents to assist various people and communities of Oaxaca.

According to a recent International Community Foundation report on US retiree trends in Mexico:

• Nearly 60% of respondents volunteer their time to a charitable cause in Mexico and over 29% volunteer at least once a week or on a regular basis. Respondents engage in a wide range of volunteer activities, most prominently with education-focused charities, community projects, and the environment.

• U.S retirees in Mexico volunteer because of their strong sense of social responsibility and desire to make a difference in their adopted communities. Survey respondents reported that their volunteer efforts increase their sense of belonging in Mexico, and contribute to an increased sense of community among local neighbors and friends.

• 42% of American retirees surveyed are actively involved in at least one or two Mexican charities in their adopted communities, while another 11% are affiliated with more than three.

Ten years ago, I never dreamed I would be living an ex pat life in southern Mexico.  Funny how life’s curves can lead to opportunities….

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