This past week was definitely bittersweet. I’m so thankful that I got to begin my journey in the little town of Pacho and end my Colombian adventure there with all the people I’ve come to love. Even though I’m now safely back in the states, I’ve most definitely left a part of me in Colombia.
My last weeks in Colombia were busy to say the least. We were simultaneously planning and preparing for two back-to-back SuperVacas (first in Pacho, then in Prado). So let’s do the math. An estimated 100 kids for each week, times 5 crafts per day equals preparation for about 1,000 kid’s crafts, not to mention planning lessons, games, and making decorations. It was a whirlwind but by the grace of God we got it all finished in time!
Finally all the hard work paid off when we traveled as a group of 30 to Pacho. The kids had a great time with the ocean theme and I know the team had a blast, too. Unfortunately, I had to leave for Bogotá a few days before we finished, but I know it was a definite success and we are really startung to grow great relationships with the Pacho community!
Earlier this month, we also celebrated the closure of Ciudad Corazón (the group of kids that meets every Friday evening). We made them each a diploma and threw a block party for the whole neighborhood. The kids were so excited to share with their neighbors everything they’d learned and to show off their new certificates!
One of the most special memories I have is of our Colombian Thanksgiving dinner. With two American girls living in a house of Colombians, we of course had to share with them a bit of our culture. After some difficulties finding a few ingredients (and some canned pumpkin pie filling brought from the U.S.) we made a Thanksgiving meal worthy of the name. We shared with our friends the tradition of saying what we were each thankful for and it turned into quite a beautiful evening.
Family is a word that perfectly describes my experience here in Colombia. I found a group of people who accepted me as I was and immediately included me in the already amazing outreach they have in Bogotá. They trusted me with huge responsibilities and had faith in me that I could get the job done. I’ve felt so loved and so cared for, that it allowed me to love and care for others who I met during my time there. I learned what it meant to transform broken neighborhoods to loving communities and the value of one-on-one relationships. It wasn’t always easy and sometimes we didn’t find success–at least in the eyes of the world–but I know that my life was touched and I think I can say the same for many people I met.
Thank you for following me on this journey. It has truly been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Thank you to Lumos for giving people like me the opportunity to travel the world and find hope and love in another culture. I am so incredibly grateful for it all and for the new home I found in this beautiful country.