The Pez Maya community project is principally located in the community of Javier Rojo Gomez -better known as Punta Allen- approximately 25km to the South of Pez Maya.
Every Monday GVI travels to Punta Allen to teach English classes for kids and adults, but we also organize different workshops explaining environmental issues important in the local area and other activities. On this occasion we decided to break with routine and invite the kids from the Ignacio Ramirez Primary school to come to Pez Maya and participate in a whole day of activities on our expedition base.
Some activities were related to environmental issues, some related to just having fun, but all were related to learning a bit more English and becoming comfortable in the language that will become so important for them as they grow up and seek to develop the town of Punta Allen as a centre for Eco-tourism activities within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
First off the kids took part in the treasure hunt, during which they remembered and learned new things about the animals found in the reserve. Off they then went to the Recycling workshop where they were taught how to make colourful baskets from PET bottles and string, to then move on to the slightly less relaxing than you might imagine, sand castle and painting competition. Somewhere in there, the kids also found time to decorate cookies that we, in true Blue Peter style, had made earlier- who could have thought we would need quite so much icing!
Whilst the volunteers were with the Punta Allen children, their parents took part in two different activities with the staff.
Firstly, the Emergency First Responder course - considered very important as Punta Allen is well over an hour away from professional medical assistance - that showcased, and allowed practice of, lots of useful skills used to respond to medical emergencies in the school or the home. And secondly, a very interesting recycling workshop showcasing the ability to re-use empty PET bottles filled with water and re-purpose them as light bulbs in the home. Punta Allen as a rule doesn’t have artificial light except during the hours of 1900 - 2200 as they depend on a generator for all of their electrical needs. Using these plastic bottles filled with water to refract sunlight can illuminate their darker spaces with the power of a 60 watt bulb.
A fantastic day all round, everybody enjoyed themselves, people got to teach that never would have tried it otherwise (and loved it). Hopefully, Punta Allen has by now some recycled 60 Watt light bulbs and the parting words from most were “Cuándo podemos regresar?” (when can we come back?) Who could ask for more?
All the best