Me and Mike have been constantly surprised by how many volunteer projects there are everywhere we go and have slowly decided that the best way to find a good one is to travel and search for opportunities along the way. We thought, however, it was probably best to do some actual research to see if this is possible. So we arrived in the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro (a popular backpacker destination in Panama) to find as many NGOs as we could. Over the following days we visited floating doctors, surfers who help schools in indigenous communities, ex-pat women who make crafts from rubbish found on the beach and Spanish language students who spend there spare time visiting the local elderly home. In all we found about 10 charitable organisations that take on volunteers, as well as countless hostels and eco-lodges which offer free accommodation to tourists in exchange for volunteering. We were relieved to find that we weren’t wrong.
This afternoon we arrived in San Jose and so begins the slow return north. In 3 days Mike will be in Guatemala where he plans to study Spanish for his remaining month. I’m hoping to meet up with some friends in Nicaragua before joining him to get the last few essential shots we need to complete the documentary. It’s been emotional.