In most of the homes in El Cocal, there are no electricity, running water, cable or Internet. The roads are sand, and there is no trash pickup for the town so locals bury their trash in the sand, burn it or throw it outside, which ends up in the ocean because of how close they are to the shoreline. Children in the community run free while their parents are working two or three jobs to make ends meet. There is one school in this town, preschool through sixth grade, taught only four hours a day.
With all this in mind, it’s understandable how issues such as environmental conservation and ocean-pollution awareness are not priorities for people struggling just to live and support their families. This is where Export Hope’s Travel Partner, Global Vision International (GVI) comes in. Our teaching-English team made a decision to do a beach/town cleanup for El Cocal once a week on Fridays since classes aren’t held that day.
The children playing around the neighborhood would see us cleaning up the trash and would often stop and start helping us as well. Being an example is something that we can all be for each other, especially in our own neighborhoods.
This lesson of serving others and making a small difference is something I took with me back home and continue to hold onto.