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This posting is adapted from an article that I am writing for the Atencion, the weekly Bilingual newspaper in our adopted winter home of San Miguel de Allende.  Patronato pro Niños, a well respected charity in that town, has a 47 year history of providing medical and dental assistance to disadvantaged children.  They have done me the honour of allowing me to talk, for 2.5 hours, to a captive audience, about the history of this wonderful town!  And here is why “I love it”. 

About 6 months ago, I decided to stop using the expression, “I love this”, or “ I love that”. It felt like lazy thinking:  there are so many more precise ways to express an appreciation or admiration for something.  As a writer, I felt that I should do better. 

But when I started this very personal article, the only thing that would do, was to say that I just love being a PPN Tour Guide! 

Why? 

 

Instant Gratification.   You make people smile. History does not have to be dry and boring and if I am delivering the information in an engaging way, I know immediately if my group is enjoying themselves.  And when I make them laugh, (and I am no comedian) it‘s so much fun!   I know now why comedians never retire! 

You Test Yourself with Every Tour.  Not only do you have to know the major spots on the Tour and the minor ones too, these folks are trusting you with the next 2.5 hours of their holiday.  They want to be entertained as well as informed.  And they will ask questions.  Some answers come easily, some have to wait for more research.  Every Tour is a challenge. 

Interaction with Interesting People: our Tour attracts an eclectic group of well educated, curious tourists from everywhere and we encourage them to share their knowledge.

It’s Great Exercise.  We walk for 2.5 hours on an average Tour.  I get over 15,000 steps on my tracker without even changing into gym clothes! 

You Get “Gold Stars!”  Or, at least, the opportunity to get them.  I encourage our guests to use TripAdvisor.   Almost all PPN Tours get rave reviews.   And some of them actually use my name! I know, at 60,  I should not care about getting applause on my performance at anything.   Silly, really.   But secretly, I am thrilled. 

It’s a Wonderful Community.  I did not know any other Guides, aside from my good friend, Peggy Jones, Tour Co-ordinator and leader of the troops, when I made the commitment to volunteer.   I began to appreciate the brain power involved when I was prepping for my first Tour:  there was a world of material to cover.  Not just to read,  but to commit to long term memory, the kind that needs to stick in your hippocampus. And at my first monthly planning meeting, I discovered that these smart folks were warm and friendly too.  Dedicated to making our Tours more interesting, engaging and fun. 

Of course, by giving Tours, something that I love to do, I make a positive contribution to the lives of disadvantaged children.  I will never know their names, nor them mine. 

Their present and pressing needs, service my need to be of service. 

In an ideal world, they would not require funding of dental and medical vans and clinics to provide compassionate care.   But since we are in the real world, there will always be a need for passionate volunteers who love their work, like I do. 

 

 

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