How safe is the trip?
The trip is extremely safe. Our friends in Mexico tell us that they feel safer walking around Mazatlan than they do walking around our neighborhoods in Toledo. We take every precautions to ensure everyone is safe and accounted for. We follow all recommendations that the US Department of State gives for international travel. We have never had an issue with safety on our anyone of our trips.
How do I raise the money?
Fundraising. It always sounds like a hard task to raise all the funds. But we’ve never had to turn anyone away from going on the trip. We’ll help you write and send out a good support letter. We’ll help you sell shirts and things to fund the trip. The team will do a big fundraising as a group to raise some money – like a fancy dinner. We will work with you to help you go!
Do I need to speak Spanish?
Not really. It’s always helpful to know some Spanish, but we have translators that work with us. We’ll give you handouts with common phrases and key words – like how to ask for the check at a restaurant. As long as you can smile and laugh about the cultural differences, people will understand what you’re trying to convey.
Can I drink the water?
Some of the water is safe. We will tell you what to drink and what not to drink. Rule of thumb: if it has a sealed cap on it, then the water is good. There are little corner stores everywhere that sell cokes and purified water. Our hotel and the church also have purified water for us to use.
What will I eat?
You’ll eat rice, beans, tortillas, chips, fruit, chicken, beef, fish, ice cream, cookies, salads, salsas, veggies, cereal, yogurt and granola, coffee, etc. The food is definitely the part of the trip where we get the most compliments. You’ll have the best tacos and quesadillas of your life. If you are super adventurous, then you can order some marlin tacos or beef tongue. But if you’re just super American, you can order a Whopper at Burger King or get a shake from Dairyqueen.
Where do we stay?
For our college trips, we stay at hotels right on the Pacific Ocean and a few blocks from the church. The hotels we stay at have AC and wifi. The hotels also have water purification units so the water coming out of the tap is clean and drinkable. For our post-college trips, we typically rent a house in a neighborhood. The places we have stayed in the past are fun and safe. Staying in a neighborhood offers a unique cultural experience where you become part of the community for a week. You’re within walking distance of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and stores attached to people’s homes.
Will I be able to communicate with my mom during the week?
Of course. The church we partner with has internet access, and they set up phone lines so you can call home. Most restaurants, stores, and hotels have free wifi. You’ll be able to text and face-time your parents and friends to let them know how the trip is going.
What I forget to pack something important?
Don’t worry. Mexico has Walmart and Costco. We go to a grocery store almost everyday to buy snacks and fruit, outreach supplies, and all the random things people forget. We’ll give you a detailed packing list, but don’t stress about forgetting stuff. Whatever you can buy in the US, it’s there in Mexico and it’s probably cheaper and the food products are way better.
What is a typical day like?
Each day starts out with breakfast at the church. We then head out to pick up all our outreach supplies (i.e. food, construction supplies, toys and games) for the morning outreach. Then back to the church for lunch and a little break, before heading out for an afternoon outreach. The outreaches involve kids programs, preparing meals and grocery bags, medical outreach, organized sports, etc. The outreaches take place in different neighborhoods throughout the city, so during the week you’ll get to experience the unique parts of the city.