I can’t believe I’ve already been here for more than 9 weeks! Time has truly flown by. It’s hard to even find a time to sit down and write. The work here is definitely keeping me on my toes!
This past week, we began a new initiative and I am so excited about it. The foundation is trying to have more of a presence in Pacho with a particular focus on the youth. Jorge basically handed this task over to me. What a learning experience this has been! After deciding that a cine foro (movie discussion night) would be the best way to start to get to know the youth here, I began planning. Finally last Saturday we had our first cine foro...and with about 20 teenagers! After a few weeks of coming to Pacho and just walking around the town getting to know the youth, I felt so blessed to see these familiar faces coming to an event so important to me. We had a great discussion (in Spanish, of course) some snacks, and went out for a bite to eat afterwards. We watched the movie in the garage of one of the families living in Pacho. What a beautiful night. This next Saturday, we will begin our first English class to take place right before the cine foro with the same group of kids. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to spend time with the youth of Pacho every single week.
Another great moment from this week was when a group of us took the Transmilenio an hour to the very southern part of the city to visit a woman close to the foundation who had fallen on hard times. She lives in a part of Bogotá that is extremely poor but at the same time breathtakingly beautiful. Little shacks with roofs held on by rocks litter the mountains as far as the eye can see. The roads are treacherous and it’s a miracle how the garbage trucks can even climb to the top of the mountain. It’s hard enough on foot. Yet the view from this neighborhood is absolutely gorgeous. We spent the day with Josefita, bought her groceries, and shared lunch. A beautiful time in community.
While this past week was a blur of English classes, tutoring, meetings, and traveling, life does have a way of giving you a break right when you need it. Last Monday was festivo (holiday–there are a lot of these here and most people don’t even know what they’re celebrating). After a wonderful morning of sleeping in until 8:00, one of the women from the foundation came over to teach us how to make ajiaco (an absolutely delicious Colombian soup with chicken, potatoes, whole corn cobs, and more potatoes). It took half the day but was well worth it as we all sat down at the table together and enjoyed this authentic Colombian meal.
I’m also happy to say that in the little free time I’ve had, I managed to start going to a salsa class. I feel like it would be a travesty to leave Colombia without having learned the salsa, so here I am, trying to learn how to move my hips after 22 years without rhythm. Updates on my progress to follow.