Hi! So I’m very late in writing this blog, my apologies! After the project in Ciudad de Dios was over, a few of us went to Cusco for a week and then i trapised through Lima and other cities for another week by myself. I’m just now getting back to the states and I finally have some time to think and reflect on what I’ve done this past summer.
I remember how excited I was when I first heard about this project. I’m an International Studies major with concentrations in Latin America and Global Health and Environment and I’m also minoring in Environmental Sciences. Therefore, this project was exactly what I needed to get into for what I want to do in the future. Evverything that I was hoping to learn and experience from this project was so valuable and priceless. I could not have learned any better from a book or lecture. There are so many things that are necessary when working with development projects. Community involvement, community ownership, community relationships, patience, determination, understanding the nature of third-world countries, cultural and language understanding, and so much more are necessary for a truly successful development project. I’m not sure if I would have been able to understand all of these things had I not done this trip. I realized that there are many different kinds of people that are needed for projects like this. We always need our people like Melissa or Kathryn Gelder that love to talk to people and create friendships with the ladies of the town. But we also need people like Nina and Alyson that humor the children and dance with them in parties. But then, people like Sandy and Kathryn H. are so very valued for their painting and community beautification skills. And then we have people like Jorge, Alex, and Felipe that try to teach children things about the water cycle or do research about the feasibility of a cooperative middle valley recycling system. Because there are so many different and unique characteristics that are needed for development work, there are also so many different and unique people that we had on our trip. I’m not quite sure what exactly it is that I want to write but I suppose I’m finally starting to understand what exactly development work involves. This project was such a wonderful and challenging experience that allowed me to see what exactly I’m studying and preparing myself for in college. I have not been discouraged from development work despite our numerous obstacles and difficulties faced in the project. Instead, the idea of the people of Ciudad de Dios receiving water which in turn will allow the children to have a teacher makes everything so worthwhile. ( I apologize for how cheesy that sounds)
One might think that after such a challenging project as this one, one would be turned off from work like this and start running in the direction of working for “the man” or some high end job that earns six figure salaries. But I have to say that I feel quite the opposite of that, I’m so excited and ready to work with projects like this. One can never know what to expect and there is something new to prepare for every single day. The people you meet, the things you experience, and things you accomplish are unforgettable.