My birthday was last week. I was having dinner with my friends in Brixton, when my phone rang. An unknown number was calling. Hello? I asked. “Hello, Carlos, happy birthday, you are 27 now”. It was the voice of my friend Darwin calling from Nicaragua.
I met Darwin a year ago when I travelled to Nicaragua to start one of the biggest adventures of my life. Volunteering was something that I always wanted to do but could never afford. My destiny changed when I met Progressio.
Progressio and its programme International Citizen Service (ICS) gave me the opportunity to live in Nicaragua for 10 weeks, working in humanitarian projects along local organisations. My home was Mozonte, a tiny village in the north of the country. I settled there with another 10 volunteers from the UK.
Pleople from Mozonte greeted us with open arms and made us feel like if we were part of their family. The projects were incredible and unforgettable. For example, we reforested a river bank which had been destroyed by a fire. We participated in sexual education workshops and fought machismo culture. Also, we help with the construction of 20 houses for disadvantaged families in risk of becoming homeless. Finally, we built a bakery oven for the women in the community so that they could initiate their own business and gain financial independence.
It is hard to summarise what Progressio ICS meant to me in a few lines. All I can think of are words of thanks for having given me the chance to work with wonderful people in Nicaragua. If you are 18 to 25, do not think it again and apply for this amazing opportunity. Progressio is still looking for volunteers to go to Central America and Africa in January 2015. Take a look to Progressio ICS website and I promise you will not regret.
Find more information here: www.progressio.org.uk/ics