Staring at this screen for the first time in two weeks, I was trying to think about how I could possibly decide what to write about from the plethora of experiences that have occurred thus far when it hit me: the capacity to love here. To borrow the words of Henri Nouwen, “Often we talk about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. . . When we “do” love, even if others aren’t able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts.” Such has been the reception of us here. Working in a community that has never had volunteers before has certainly exposed us to a genuineness of love, and that within itself has mad our experience greater than anything that we could have imagined. My host mom calls me “ushi,” which means daughter in Kichwa, the children are always making sure that we don’t fall, and I could not tell you the number of times each day that we’re asked about how we’re doing.
We’ve made lots of progress in our English and computer classes. It’s inspiring to see the kids’ desire to learn and willingness to help with the other projects. We’ve started using a double digging technique for the school garden, have begun a composting project that will incorporate kitchen waste from the school’s breakfast program, and have made progress on the school chakra, planting guayusa, yucca, plantains, guineo, and pineapple. We also had a painting day for the students to decorate rocks to surround the garden. The girls working in the other community are excited to direct a school play as well!
We are all looking forward to what the next month will bring and are sad to know that our stay is already halfway over. It’s amazing to see just how the time has flown (not to be cliché). We hope that we can truly take advantage of the time that we have left to continue building our relationships with the families in the communities and mirror the love that has been afforded to us. Emily and I will be without Internet for another two weeks, but we’re looking forward to where these projects will be at that point. Chao chao, amigos. Que todo vaya bien.
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