These are my first Impressions of San Pancho
Our first few days in San Pancho were very relaxing; it was a shocking change of pace from exams to the beach! We were really surprised to be in such a beautiful little hotel, we are really spoiled here. Almost all the food is organic and all homemade; we even have homemade soaps in the bathrooms and a beautiful little outdoor garden/restaurant to eat our breakfast in. Everyone at the Hotel Cielo Rojo are so hospitable and friendly.
We arrived in San Pancho around 4:00, we were all so in awe of our surroundings and tired from our flight that we all sat in silence in the van on the way to San Pancho. I think Ada was worried that we were not excited. We were all just so stunned that we were fortunate enough to be part of this field school experience. The first night was really special; we had a leisurely dinner on the beach with Ada, Glades, (Ada’s sister and our host coordinator), and her nephews. Then later we met some amazing locals and danced the night away at a local eatery and leaving with good-bye hugs . My first impression of this village was one of being invited into someone’s home. Everyone is so welcoming, friendly and interested in us. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be able to give something back to the community. We will be visiting the schools first to screen the children for caries and educate them on brushing and cavities. I believe that working with the children will have the greatest impact on the community and am looking forward to it.
Volunteering for Children’s Day activities:
On Friday we attended celebrations for Children’s Day at the community center and at the local school. Children’s Day is a national holiday in Mexico that is widely celebrated especially in such a family oriented community like San Pancho. On this day children are given treats and the community holds fun activities for them. We went to the community center to see if we could help out with any of the festivities and the first thing I noticed was painted faces. This is right up my alley so I found some parents that were volunteering and asked if I could help. Painting faces at the community center is now one of my favorite moments in San Pancho. The kids were so appreciative, and it was so much fun to hold up the mirror and see their faces when I was done! It was also a really cool day where we saw all the kids outside of school that we had screened earlier that day and that week. They were all waving to us or coming up to us to chat, although we may not understand them it was really neat to see how fast they warmed up to us. Getting around the language barrier was interesting sitting face to face with a five year old that is desperately trying to ask for something in particular to be painted on his face, but using my creativity, picture books nearby, and sign language no child left disappointed. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to contribute to making the a special day for the kids, the children really deserve it. Most of these children have very little so it was very rewarding being a part of a day that is special for them.