What did we do during our free week?

After consecutively working for three events, we got a week off for relaxing and exploring more places in Mexico. It was an amazing and memorable week traveling with other volunteers. During the week, we visited various places around Mexico City. The advantage of staying in Mexico City is we can stay in Ticalli, the headquarter of Girl Guide of Mexico, for free. Also with the foods we brought from Our Cabana, this helped us to save some money too. The first place we visited was Xochimilco which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico. It can be easily reached by public transportation from Mexico City. We had taken the brightly painted and decorated trajineras (a traditional flat-bottomed boat) along the walled canals lined with gardens and curtains for two hours. You can bring your own foods and drinks on the boat and also hire the Mariachi band to perform Mexican folk music. Besides of the canals, there is a craft market to visit too. Next, we spent a day in the Chapultepec Park in Mexico City which is only 15-minute walk from Ticalli. It is one of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere. We spent the whole morning in the Zoo with 2000 animals from more than 200 species. And then we had lunch next to the lake watching people rode on the water bikes. In the afternoon, we went up to the top of the hill to visit the Chapultepec Castle with the National Museum of History. This is the only royal castle in the Americas. And then we returned to Ticalli for dinner before the rains came. For the next two days, we travelled to Puebla City and Cholula and stayed in a hostel for a night. Puebla City was named a World Heritage Site in 1987 due to its history and architectural styles ranging from Renaissance to Mexican Baroque. We had visited the Puebla Cathedral, Church of Santo Domingo, Templo de San Francisco, Biblioteca Palafoxiana, Calle de los Dulces (Sweet Street) and Amparo Museum. It is a magical place to walk around and you would always find somethings surprise around the corners. The other place you must not miss in this region is the Great Pyramid of Cholula with the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios on top. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid as well as the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world. You can also explore the tunnels inside this pyramid. We climbed up the slope to visit the Catholic sanctuary. Here you can enjoy the majestic view of the city and view the Popocatépetl volcano if you are lucky. On the last day of our week off, we went to El Rollo, a water park, to celebrate Sofia’s birthday with all the staffs in Our Cabana. It is a giant water park equipped with various well-maintained attractions. We were all having a lot of fun there and were not eager to leave until the park close. We ended our day with a tired body but a sweet dream. As our stay in Our Cabana is going to the end, it was a treasure for us to have a fun and relaxing week together. In guiding, it doesn’t matter what you do, but with whom you do it.

Where Dreams Come True

IMG_4144 ENGLISH BELOW María José Proaño O., Directora del Centro Mundial Pues en esta entrega de nuestro blog, me encanta poder compartir con ustedes mi experiencia. Soy María José Proaño, de Ecuador y actualmente la directora del Centro Mundial Nuestra Cabaña, conocido mundialmente como “el lugar en donde los sueños se hacen realidad”. La primera vez que vine a Nuestra Cabaña, tenía 16 años. Llegaba llena de intrigas e imágenes en mi cabeza de cómo se vería el lugar. Nunca imaginé que fuera un lugar tan especial, un lugar lleno de magia internacional, que se alimenta y vive de quienes visitamos el centro mundial y que venimos de todo el mundo, además de los equipos de voluntarias. Jamás me imaginé regresar a este lugar que marcó mi vida personal y Guía, y fue en donde decidí seguir en el Guidismo por esta experiencia. Después de 7 años regresé como participante a un evento de liderazgo y me volví a encontrar con este lugar, lleno de una magia única, lleno de sueños y compromisos compartidos que nos llena de vitalidad e incrementa nuestro espíritu Guía y reafirma nuestro estilo de vida. Es esa magia precisamente, la que transforma los sueños de las Guías que nos visitan, sin importar su lugar de origen o edad, en realidad. Después de 15 años de aquella primera visita, regresé a Nuestra Cabaña para vivir el sueño de toda Guía; para portar y “devolver” al Guidismo todo lo ganado. Ahora en una posición profesional, como directora del Centro Mundial. Por eso quiero compartir con ustedes lo que he podido comprobar y ganar. Todo lo que el Guidismo como movimiento global y voluntario, nos da; esa capacidad de abrirnos las puertas a un mundo de posibilidades, que nos incentiva a mejorar cada día como seres humanos y a aportar de manera positiva al mundo desde el lugar en donde estamos. El trabajo voluntario, es el trabajo más intenso. Desde mi perspectiva, agrupa todos mis deseos, energías, sueños y lleva mucho de mi tiempo; tiempo que es completamente retribuido al ver a mi equipo de trabajo, de voluntarias, a nuestras visitantes… que además son todas mis Hermanas Guías, llenas de vitalidad y compartiendo los mismos ideales. La gente muchas veces, le teme al trabajo voluntario, puesto que no es remunerado. Sin embargo, la recompensa está siempre presente para alimentar nuestra alma. Yo disfruto cada momento de mi trabajo y siento la satisfacción que me invita a reafirmar mi compromiso con el movimiento Guía, con la misión y las responsabilidades de mi trabajo. Eso es lo que Nuestra Cabaña, “el lugar en donde los sueños se hacen realidad” me ha permitido aprender. Que un voluntario, es una persona con una fuerza de voluntad y espíritu de servicio inmenso, con convicción, con mucho amor, dispuesto a servir a los demás sin esperar nada a cambio, porque el resultado de ese servicio es el que alimenta su alma, además de ser una persona que cree que su visión y ambición por cambiar al mundo de manera positiva, genera una energía que lo vitaliza y logra un impacto real, positivo para todos los seres humanos, independientemente del lugar en donde se origine la acción y el lugar en donde se encuentre el beneficiario. Por eso, estoy convencida de que la ciudadanía global del Guidismo es la fuerza que cambia al mundo. El poder compartir mi realidad diaria con voluntarias y participantes de todo el mundo, me convence de que la Misión y propósito del Guidismo están vigentes. La sonrisa de mi equipo de voluntarias ilumina la magia del centro mundial y que su luz es el combustible para lograr nuestro objetivo. Por eso, estoy convencida de que “más que ser voluntaria, nosotras marcamos la diferencia” ¡Gracias Guías, gracias voluntarias!
I am very excited to be the one sharing my experiences on our blog this time. I am Maria Jose Proaño, I’m from Ecuador and currently, Our Cabaña’s World Centre Manager, also known as “the place where dreams come true”. The first time I came to Our Cabaña I was 16 years old. I got here with my head full of expectations picturing how the place would be. I never imagined it would turn out to be such a special place, full of international magic; a place powered by the experiences of visitors and volunteers coming from all around the world. At that time, I never got to picture I would be coming back to the place that changed both my personal and Guiding life, leading me to decide Guiding was something I wanted to be involved with for many years. After 7 years I came back as a participant of a leadership event and I found myself again in a place full of shared dreams and commitment that strengthen our Guiding spirit and reassures our life style. It is precisely that magic that transforms the dreams of the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts that visit us, no matter where they come from or how old they are. Fifteen years after that first visit, I came back to Our Cabaña to live every Girl Guide’s dream; been able to contribute and “return” everything Girl Guiding has given me, now from a professional position as the World Centre Manager. That is why I want to share with you what I’ve been able to gain and realize. Everything Guiding, as a global movement gives us: the capacity of opening doors to a world of possibilities, the inspiration of being better every day and making a positive contribution to the world from wherever we are. Volunteer work is the most intense one. From my perspective, volunteer work combines all of my wishes, energy, dreams and is definitely time consuming; time that is completely rewarded by seeing my team, the volunteers, our visitors -who are all my sisters in Guiding- full of vitality and sharing the same ideals. Many times, people are afraid of volunteer work because is not paid, nevertheless, the reward is always there to nurture our soul. I really enjoy every single moment of my job and I feel the satisfaction that invites to reaffirm my commitment to the Guiding Movement, the mission and the responsibilities of my job. That is what Our Cabaña, “the place where dreams come true”, has allowed me to learn; that a volunteer is someone with huge willpower and service spirit, with conviction, lots of love, and is always willing to serve others without expecting anything back because the result of that service  is what nurtures their soul. Besides volunteers believe in their vision and ambition to change the world positively, generating a revitalizing energy and has a real impact, positive for every human being, no matter where the action is generated and the place where the beneficiary is. That is why I’m convinced that the global citizenship Guiding grows is the force to change the world. Being able to share my daily reality with volunteers and participants from all over the world, convinces me that the mission and purpose of Guiding is very current. The smile of my team of volunteers lights up the magic of the World Centre and fuels our entire team to achieve our goal. That is why I am convinced that “more than being a volunteer, we make a difference”. Thanks Guides, thanks volunteers!

Expected and unexpected / Lo esperado y lo inesperado

IMG_5960 Olivia Cheung / Hong Kong Our Cabana is the second World Centre I visited. I had been to Our Chalet in 2015 to join the summer event. Therefore, before coming here, I have already had a basic concept on how a World Centre operate and the roles of a volunteer in a World Centre. The routine for an event from planning, preparation, taking into action to evaluation is very straight-forward. However, the unexpected is the degree of freedom in designing the activities and the ultimate support in preparing the materials from the staffs. Without them, we would not be able to finish all the activities confidently and smoothly. Working in a new environment with new people is always not an easy task. With the previous experience staying in Our Chalet, it gave me the feeling of home. People were always friendly and helpful. Same in here, everyone helps to give us the most comfortable and warmest environment to live in. As an Asian, the foods in Mexico are very difference from my hometown. However, the unexpected is the kitchen here made wide variety of foods around the world; including Chinese foods and they are really delicious. The moment for departure is always sad. Last time when I was in Our Chalet, participants were crying at the moment we needed to leave. Undoubtedly, participants always cry in the closing ceremony in Our Cabana. I always feel touching at that moment because this reflects that we gave them a memorable week and we made their dreams come true here. However, unexpectedly, at the time that we work hard to complete their dreams, all the participants I met actually helping me to form my dreams here. Without their visits, without their participations, a World Centre with only volunteers and staffs is meaningless. Thank you everyone who makes my dream comes true.
  Nuestra Cabaña es el segundo Centro Mundial que visito. Estuve en Nuestro Chalet en 2015 en un evento de verano. Por lo tanto, antes de venir aquí, ya tenía una idea clara sobre cómo funciona un Centro Mundial y los roles que las voluntarias tienen en él. La rutina para un evento desde la planificación, preparación y puesta en práctica hasta la evaluación es básicamente la misma. Sin embargo, lo inesperado es el grado de libertad en el diseño de las actividades y el apoyo constante en la preparación de los materiales que recibimos por parte del personal. Sin su ayuda, no podríamos terminar todo el material de las actividades sin problemas. Trabajar en un entorno nuevo con gente nueva, no siempre es una tarea fácil. Con la experiencia previa en Nuestro Chalet, sabía que tendría la sensación de estar en casa, pues las personas siempre fueron amables y serviciales. Lo mismo sucede aquí, todas ayudan a darnos un ambiente cómodo y cálido para vivir. Como asiática, la comida en México es muy diferentes a los de mi ciudad natal. Sin embargo, lo inesperado es que las cocineras preparan una gran variedad de alimentos de todo el mundo; incluidos algunos alimentos chinos que son realmente deliciosos. Las despedidas siempre son tristes. cuando estuve en Nuestro Chalet, las participantes lloraron en el momento de nuestra partida. Indudablemente, aquí en Nuestra Cabaña las participantes siempre lloran en la ceremonia de clausura. Este momento siempre me conmueve pues esto refleja que les dimos una semana memorable y que ayudamos a que sus sueños se hicieran realidad. Sin embargo, lo inesperado, es que aunque nosotras trabajamos arduamente para que esto suceda, todas las participantes que he conocido realmente han ayudado a que mis sueños se convirtieran en realidad aquí en Nuestra Cabaña. Sin sus visitas, sin su participación, un Centro Mundial sólo con voluntarias y personal no tiene sentido. Gracias a todos los que hacen que mi sueño se haga realidad