Thursday, August 28, 2008

Volunteering in La Paz

(Thursday, August 21) Our beneficiary this week (who receives the proceeds from our show) is Mobilize Mankind. Its an organization started by an American couple who have been living here for five years. They bring used wheelchairs, that by law cannot be redistributed in the United States, down here to the Baja. They find the families that need the chairs, and they give them away. They fit the kids with chairs, and they do continual service, and trade them into new chairs as they grow or their needs change. They also work with schools to make facilities handicapped accessible, and they have just laid the cornerstone on an amazing playground that is over 90% accessible to wheelchair bound children. (Most playgrounds in the US are only required to be 10% accessible—you put up one ramp and a spinning wheel and you meet that minimum requirement…) their vision is for kids of all abilities to play together on creative, beautiful equipment that is fun for all. There is a castle and a pirate ship, water fountains and sprinklers… the designs are incredible. Our sponsor, the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, that’s helping support Mobilize Mankind, is bringing us to La Paz to spread awareness of this project and to get the community excited about it.

The cast has also spent a lot of time on an anti-graffiti campaign in the city, painting the baseball stadium where we perform tomorrow, parks, and walls all over town.

We also managed to squeeze in a little fun: on our first day all together here (Tuesday), we visited the anthropology museum to learn about the history of settlers on the Baja, the cathedral, and ended on the beach to play in the sun. Coca-cola has been our beverage sponsor this week, and brings coolers of water, iced tea and powerade to our volunteer sites, along with a truck with huge speakers to blast party music while we work. It feels like Spring Break meets Americorps! Its hilarious, and oh so fun.

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