An SOS Outreach Trip has something new in store every morning you wake up in your community and embark on that day’s adventures. Although there are many different things you will experience on a day to day basis, here is what you can expect the average day will look like.
By David Venn
Wake up and breakfast: 6 to 7:30 a.m.
Time to wake up and get some of that authentic Latin American coffee in your system before a day of work.
We understand that at home, most volunteers usually don’t wake up until dinner time the following day … So to compensate, there is normally about an hour for everyone to get their wits about them, eat, get changed and get working!
Work time: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The morning is spent building your community project, hanging out with the students and teaching English classes (if your placement has set that up). Maybe if you work hard enough, you’ll get blessed with some fresh fruit mid-shift.
Depending on the time of your Outreach Trip you will be contributing to a different stage in the project. You may be the first group to arrive, so your work hours will be spent digging trenches and building the foundations. If you’re the last group to arrive, your work hours will be lighter, spending time painting structures or adding final touches.
Lunch Break: 12 to 1 p.m.
Fried cheese, rice and beans, salad, fruit and more then likely, some guacamole (that doesn’t cost extra) will be the remedy for your worked appetite. Whatever the meal is, it will be tasty and there will be plenty. SOS can accommodate any dietary restriction or allergy, as long as advance notice is given.
Some volunteers use this time to re-energize via a mid-shift nap, or play cards to relax for a while.
Back to building: 1 to 4 p.m.
Back to work for another few hours! Depending on what country you go to and what time of year it is, you may be there during rainy season, which means a little less work in the afternoon due to – well, thunderstorms to us, but light rain to the community.
If it is raining, there is no need to panic. SOS and your partnering organization have prepared the work schedule and trip itinerary to reflect local conditions like weather. If you’re travelling in the rainy season, you may wake up earlier or take a later lunch to make sure you can get a good amount of work in.
Post work-shift hangouts: 4 to 6 p.m.
As the daylight fades, these are your few hours after your shift to get washed up and relax before dinner. This time can be used for writing, playing games, hanging out in the community or like any other break you get …. Sleeping.
Every day will be different and how volunteers choose to spend this time will reflect that. Some days will be quiet afternoons of R&R and some will be spent participating in community events, cooking lessons, visiting homes and more.
Dinner time: 6 to 7 p.m.
Rest & relaxation: 7 to 9 p.m
This is the time to be with your SOS family. During these late evening hours, writing, laughing, talking and creating memories with one another will strengthen relationships with your fellow SOS volunteers – heightening your trip experience, overall.
Bed time: 9 – 10
Get to bed! A project in progress awaits.
David Venn is among SOS’s most decorated -and dedicated- volunteers. He has participated on two Outreach Trips, one to Guatemala with Ninos de Guatemala and one to Costa Rica with Reto Juvenil Internacional. For the latter David volunteered as the SOS Trip Leader, leading the group of 13 volunteers for the two week journey. In preparation for his trip to Costa Rica, David was the Vice President of International Development at Ryerson SOS and played a lead role in ensuring the trip’s completion and success.