Hillary Merwin
Hillary Merwin
Colombia 2013
Hola! My travels are taking me to Bogotá, Colombia where I will be spending six months volunteering with a community development organization called Fundación Comunidad Viva by tutoring children in after-school programs, planning community events, leading camps and much more. Join me on this adventure! Read More About Hillary →

An unexpected turn

This week took an unexpected turn...in the best way possible. While this week we had yet another Supervacas vacation bible school in the neighborhood of Prado, I only participated in the first two days.

On Monday we received word that a family close to the foundation found out their 6-year-old daughter had a brain tumor and the emergency surgery was scheduled for the next day. At the heart of the work of Fundación Comunidad Viva is simply responding to the needs of its community. For this, Jorge–head of the foundation–asked me if I would take charge of caring for the family during this tumultuous time. Myself and another girl from the foundation were to be in charge of cooking daily meals, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and taking care of the other two children in the family, allowing the parents to spend time at the hospital and be with their daughter during the surgery and recovery period.

It’s no small task cooking daily meals for a family of 4, especially when you have to cart all the food on the public bus system (the Transmilenio) halfway across town everyday. I can tell you I’m still not sure how all dozen eggs arrived at the house in tact.

Yet I couldn’t think of a better way to spend these next two weeks. The family is so appreciative to see the same faces everyday and know that their children don’t have to keep getting used to different babysitters. I’m also having so much fun with the kids and thinking of different crafts to keep them busy! Another bonus, my Spanish is definitely getting better because the family doesn’t speak English. David, the oldest child, found a Spanish-to-English dictionary and we use it just in case we get stuck 🙂

I feel blessed to work for the foundation in this way and get to help a specific family for these next few weeks. It’s a rare thing to be able to develop and deepen relationships while working for a nonprofit but I’m learning that that’s exactly what building community is all about.

Making planes out of recycled bottles for another week of Supervacas!

Lots of planes!

Lots of planes!

David (the oldest child in the family) had fun making this craft

David had fun making this craft


So much fun that he wore his new badge the whole week!

One thought on “An unexpected turn”

  1. What a great experience to live closely with a Colombian family and be able to care for those you hardly know. All of us here are impressed and proud of you, Hillary! Please keep us updated on the little girl’s surgery.

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