by Anne Cridler
As a “vintage” Baby Boomer, I discovered Servas when I met a host while motorcycling in Mexico in 1968. I've been with Servas ever since -- hosting and traveling for decades. In fact, my daughter’s LOI says she "was Servas born." When she was seventeen, she lived a dream and spent a year with hosts Andres and Lourdes in Spain playing futbol!
In many ways, my connection to Servas also led to a lifelong commitment to volunteering which began with rebuilding the village of Ambar, Peru, after the 1970 earthquake. The crew included Cubans and Russians who brought generators which were very popular. My friends, former Peace Corps volunteers in Ambar, and I brought grit and muscle, which was also popular. Since then, I’vehad volunteer gigs in Mexico, Haiti, South America, Uganda, Ghana and South Africa.
I lived on the Greek island of Lesbos for eight years where I assisted in welcoming refugees from North Africa. I did similar work in Pireaus, the port of Athens, with the Indian women’s group Amurtel while 4,000 families were stuck when EU countries closed their borders with Germany. I have also volunteered with All Hands and Hearts doing reconstruction projects in the wake of hurricanes in Louisiana, Florida, and the Caribbean.
I spend the majority of the year volunteering, and Itreasure that time as well as welcoming travelers to share our common belief in celebrating diversity and humanity – building a better and more peaceful world.
Two great projects relatively close to my base in San Diego are:
Al Otro Lado.org which works to get justice for migrants with holistic legal and humanitarian support.
No More Deaths.org (SW Arizona) provides humanitarian aid, search and rescue with the goal of ending suffering and deaths in the borderlands.
Ed. Note – Might Anne be another Servas Peace Prize candidate?