1. Is this a religious organization?
YPM is founded on Christian principles and much of our support comes from churches and their members across the US. Our mission is not evangelistic, but a mission of service toward our Mexican brothers and sisters. Our leader in Mexico is a Presbyterian pastor and we pray before meals and at the beginning of each work day. We welcome all faith traditions to work alongside us and participate in any way they choose.
2. Do I need to know Spanish?
No, our hosts Wilian and Erly speak and understand English. It is helpful, though, if you want to practice conversation with the locals.
3. Is it safe?
Yes. Mission trip participants are met by our hosts Wilian and Erly at the Cancun airport and are transported by private vans to the YPM base in Leona Vicario (a 45 minute drive from the airport). The YPM base is in an enclosed and gated area and there have been no safety issues to date. See the video of the base below. We still recommend checking with the U.S. State Department for any travel advisories.
4. Do we need immunizations?
Please check with the U.S. State Department and with your doctor for the most up to date information about immunizations.
5. What is covered in my registration fee?
Private transportation to and from the Cancun airport, safe and comfortable lodging, meals*, hand-woven hammock and YPM t-shirt, and tools, building materials, and equipment on the worksite. Travel from your home to Cancun is not included in your fees and it is your responsibility to coordinate your travel plans. *participants are responsible for their meals at the airport and on the free day, if applicable.
6. What kind of work will be doing?
There is something for everyone, depending on the type of trip. Construction Trip tasks range from shoveling and hauling gravel, sand, water, and mixing concrete to painting to garden work to moving cinder block, to installing roof tiles. We work with local master craftsmen who supervise and direct the activity. Medical Trip tasks range from assisting licensed doctors and nurses with moving patients, triage, admissions, running prescriptions to the pharmacy and translating. Most all trips have activities for the local children in the form of crafts, games, songs and free play.
7. What are the housing/sleeping arrangements?
The YPM base has several large dormitory type air-conditioned rooms that can accommodate a combination of twin beds and hammocks. Males and females sleep in separate quarters and there are separate male and female bathrooms with showers.
8. What will we eat? Can you accommodate special diets?
The cooks at the YPM base make delicious, nutritious local dishes (nothing too spicy or strange to the standard American diet). There are also alternative options for most meals and yes we do accommodate special diets with advance notice.
9. What to bring/What not to bring?
Please see the packing list.
10. Is there cell service?
Yes there is cell service, but we encourage participants to not use their phones unless necessary.
11. What ages can attend?
We’ve had participants of all ages. There is something for everyone and we encourage families to come together!
12. Can you bring donations of clothes/shoes/$ for the locals?
Yes, please make sure that any clothing or shoes that you bring are clean and in good repair. Also remember that the Maya people have small feet, are short in stature, and the climate there is almost always hot (so large size shoes and heavy coats are of no use to these people). As for giving money, our hosts will remind you not to give cash to people on the street (especially to the children who are asking you for money), because it can escalate into a bigger problem. If you’d like to donate cash, then let your group leader or the YPM hosts know and they will make sure it will be handled properly. If you are bringing a significant donation of goods (a full suitcase, for instance), place this letter inside the luggage in case you encounter any questions going through customs in Mexico.
13. How do I pay for my trip?
Most groups who come will handle the money and be invoiced by YPM, so your group leader will give you the details for how to pay. Many groups and participants have fundraisers and donation events. If you are an individual joining an existing group trip, you may reach out to that group’s leader or you may donate directly on the YPM website, but make sure to designate in the notes that your donation is for a particular trip.
14. Can I drink the water?
No (and yes). The YPM base has bottled water for trip participants to drink and to brush teeth. Otherwise the local tap water is not safe for Americans to drink. And as YPM host Erly will remind you, don’t sing in the shower!
15. What is the weather like? Does it rain in the mission areas?
Winter runs from November to February, and temperatures at this time can hover around 82/86 °F. March to May, is actually the hottest season of the year, tipping the thermometer as high as 104 °F. Summer is a rainy season, from June to October, and can be hot and muggy, with many hours of sunshine. Construction trips will want to schedule their work periods early in the day to avoid the hot conditions. The amount of sunshine in the Yucatán is good all year round, but especially from March to May. Shorts and t-shirts are standard attire. Groups can go to local pools for a refreshing swim, or venture to a cenote or even the ocean for something more fun.
16. Do I need to bring spending money?
Because your room and board are covered by your mission fees, you will not need any money at the base. There are markets in the town of Leona Vicario, and if you are a souvenir hunter or want to sample local snacks, it is a good idea to come with Mexican pesos. Local (safe) taxis are available for a small charge. Also, as previously mentioned, you will need to cover the cost of your meals and incidentals in transit.
17. Is there any opportunity for local travel?
Many of the mission groups will add a day for leisure into their schedule. The coastal communities (Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Holbox, to list a few) offer opportunity for beaches, shopping and play. There is also opportunity for cultural exploration (Chichen Itza, Edzna and Campeche). Your host can provide assistance with transportation to and from those locations. Your group will need to plan for this in advance and coordinate it with your other travel plans. You are responsible for the cost of your leisure time.
18. Will we go to church or have opportunity for faith based activities?
If your group is at the base on Sunday, you can plan to attend worship with your host. Time is available and should be planned into your trip for reflection and observation of faith. Your group should include a spiritual leader who can develop something appropriate.