The reason this update is coming so late is because my life has been extremely busy. I truly feel like a part of the team here at Fundación Comunidad Viva and I wouldn’t change my hectic schedule for anything. It’s incredible that I’ve been given so much responsibility as a mere (gringa) volunteer. I’m getting to see first-hand how a nonprofit should work. FCV isn’t afraid to change, evolve, take risks, and do something different every now and again.
We took one of those risks a few Sundays ago.
The whole process of starting a nonprofit in the downtown area is complex, to say the least, but the only starting place is to learn the needs of the community first rather than starting to develop programs in a neighborhood without a solid understanding of the people who live there. One of those needs in downtown Bogotá rests in the homeless population. So we made it our goal to get to know as many homeless people as we could–with the help of almost 100 sandwiches, steaming hot agaupanela, and a guitar.
It was a beautiful night full of conversations, singing, and sharing meals with countless people we encountered on the street. Never did I feel in danger (it did help that there were about 12 of us in the group), but rather a deeper understanding of the community here in downtown Bogotá.
The work in Pacho continues. So far, we’ve had 4 movie nights (cine foros) and 2 English class! Basically, we get to spend the whole day with the youth of Pacho, which is so cool. This past Saturday after we finished the English class, a few of the youth stuck around to chat and we wound up hanging out and working on their homework for the next hour before the cine foro started. Two years ago, I never would have thought I could lead a discussion in Spanish about a movie, and while it’s never easy facilitating the conversation, I’m always so amazed when people actually understand what I’m saying. And I praise God for my partner in crime, Marina, who is another volunteer serving with the foundation, and makes the the trip to Pacho with me every week. In the last few cine foros, we watched Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, Source Code, and are planning to watch Freedom Writers this Saturday.
Tutoring continues to be some of my favorite parts of the week. We now have a good group of about 15 that come every Tuesday and Thursday. We’ve even started to play more games as a reward for working so hard on homework and we are going to take the kids on a field trip to a science museum later in the month! Here’s a little video from last Tuesday:
Maybe one of the reasons this past week tired me out so much is because I climbed 2 miles of stairs to reach the top of Monserrate, one of the highest points in Bogotá. I’ve already been up there twice during the time I’ve spent in Colombia, but I’ve always taken the cable car. Hiking Monserrate was definitely a different experience. And totally worth it. While many people make the hike barefoot as a sort of pilgrimage to the church at the top of the mountain, my friends and I opted to do it with shoes. Two hours of climbing endless steps and we had reached the top. Definitely one of my favorite experiences so far in Bogotá!