So Much to Share!!! Founders, Greg Kemp & Heather Knox are back from Guatemala for a short visit. This will be their only public event during this trip. Come hear all about the progress that has been made!
Posts Tagged ‘children’
I have no overwhelming single answer to the question posed above. In just over two years, Alicia and I have observed a range of motivating impulses that have brought 240 volunteers from age 8 to 79 years old to Guatemala, assisting us in building Project Somos Children’s Village. I will share some volunteering motivations I have observed and make a few recommendations if you intend to be a volunteer.
We have had the good fortune to work with two volunteer businesses based in Vancouver – Stratosphere International Community Education and El Camino VolunTours. They organize volunteer trips with Project Somos and other projects working in the world to improve local social and environmental conditions. Some of our volunteers have been groups coming from high schools offering “service trips” and other volunteers have come as a group of individuals, varying in age and backgrounds. With both types of volunteer groups, we are always grateful for their interest, willingness to spend the time and resources to work here, and their ongoing support after their trip.
I believe it is always a good question to ask anyone interested in volunteering – why they wish to participate. The answer to this varies widely and could be – to visit and experience another culture, to help those in need, to travel, to fulfill scholastic requirements for “service” hours, to learn another language, to have an adventure, to do some environmental work, to use professional skills one has learned, to fulfill a requirement of a particular religion, to meet other people, or to join friends or family members that are volunteering. We have had volunteers with all of the reasons above.
I have observed the volunteer’s time here in Guatemala and I have seen that there is a correlation between the motivating impulse to volunteer and their overall positive or negative experience. There are three main factors, in my observations, to have a positive and fulfilling experience from volunteering. One is that the motive streams from an unselfish concern for the welfare of others. The second is that one abandons all expectations of what one will encounter and the third is that one comes with a willingness to do whatever is needed. These three facets, not always easy to acquire, form a solid foundation to have a very rewarding time.
We have seen volunteers that have tagged along with volunteering friends and they found themselves unhappy and resentful – not what they signed up for. We have experienced some members in school groups unable to engage perhaps because they came for only their service hours and we watched them complain and count the days to their departure. Some volunteers have great professional skills that cannot be directly transferred to the Guatemalan culture or our work site and have had very specific preconceived ideas of how to exercise their expertise – frustration arrived soon after. The good news is that the vast majority of volunteers that we have hosted at Project Somos have had an exciting, wonderful, trip of a lifetime, never to be forgotten.
It is our wish that all our volunteers have a rich and profound experience, but Project Somos cannot engineer that. Even with the comprehensive cultural and travel orientation that the volunteer organizations conduct, it cannot guarantee a positive experience. The best way to have a great experience is to check the motivation, leave your expectations at home, and come with an open mind and heart, ready to do anything.
Once again I feel completely blessed to be here at Project Somos.
We had another Kid’s Day for the local children in Chrivabal, hosted by Southridge and Saint George’s school in Vancouver. We didn’t know how many children to expect, because it was an open invitation for all, not just for certain grades like in the past. The day -scheduled to start at 9:30- began instead at 8:50 with 38 children coming early. This was a day they weren’t about to be late to! The final count was over 150 local children with ages ranges from 2-16.
The kids instantly fell in love with the playground, especially the slide, because here they don’t have the chance to play nor the resources to have a playground. For most of the children it was their first time on a slide, first time on monkey bars. And they loved it.
For me personally, I have a new favourite memory. The bamboo barrier around the playground acts very well for a balance beam as well. Once the kids found out, it became all they wanted to do-walking back and forth on the bamboo. Seeing girls that needed a hand walking I helped them up and held their hand as they walked across the bamboo. At the end of the bamboo the girls, Leidi and Cindy, would yell “Otra vez!!” “Again! Again!”. So we’d walk back to the beginning and begin again. After walking back and forth about 5 times the girls tell me that its my turn. So we walk back to the beginning, and to my surprise they both took a hand and lead me along the bamboo. It is said that when you give, whether of yourself, time, money etc. you will be blessed 10x back. Well I can say the blessing came back about 100x over. And it wasn’t through money or things, it was through the simple gesture of a child, and I will never forget that.
-Guest Blogger, Gabrielle Dubland
Yesterday we picked up the baby fruit trees we had ordered. We headed to the local nursery where owners, Rosemary and Alejandro had our waiting trees. We loaded up the pear, lime, orange, fig, avocado, elderberry and apple trees into the back of the truck. Rosemary and Alejandro followed us to Chivarabal to have their first visit on the land. After we did the tour, they headed back to Tecpán and we unloaded the trees.
As we unloaded and watered the beautiful little trees, I thought about their upcoming life here in the Children’s Village. These trees will know every child that comes to live and grow up in the Village. Long after Greg and I have gone, these trees will watch children arrive, grow up and then leave the Children’s Village. The children will walk under the trees, they’ll climb in their branches and they’ll pick and eat their fruit. The trees will provide healthy nourishment, shade and hiding places for the kids.
The first trees should start to bear fruit in two years. I am so excited to watch them grow and produce! It’s a first for me and I can hardly wait! Thanks to all who helped make this possible!
Do we believe our actions, thoughts, emotions exist in a vacuum? Do we actually think that our daily lives have no effect on anything/anyone else? For better or worse everything we think, feel, experience and embody is transmitted in all directions and dimensions instantaneously. Whoa…really?
The good news is all the heartfelt passion and love applied in this suffering world does positively affect the whole global picture. Even the smallest act of kindness and compassion contributes to uplifting us out of the human entropic spiral. We can be overwhelmed and influenced by the media portrayal of an critically ailing world, out of control, but this depiction is merely a call to action. It is important to shake off the negative delusion that we are alone and can do nothing.
There is a tremendous hope for humanity and it lies within each human and their birthright and the potential to take meaningful and effective action motivated by love. This requires an awakened conscience. Action precipitated by unconditional love – as a mother’s love for her child, is a potent, contagious, and revolutionary force that can alter the course of this world.
Che Guevara said,
“Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”
This makes every mother a natural born revolutionary. Perhaps this is why women have been socially repressed for centuries? We are living in the time for the birth of a paradigm shift that brings the realization that everything and everyone is interconnected in the web of life. Humanity is in labour, the birth pains are obvious, and I look forward to the arrival of this paradigm and its deep positive impact on the planet.
Am I gullibly naïve? Perhaps, you decide for yourself…
Here’s to the Future,
All is quiet in Tecpán and in the Somos Headquarters/home. I should be relishing this silence. Shouldn’t I? This morning I feel this tinge of sadness. All the volunteers have left. The house and the land were filled with the sounds of young people for those two weeks and now, the silence is deafening.
I’ve written about it before and I am sure I will write about it again. This Project requires a ton of patience. The vision is to provide a loving home and community for vulnerable children. A village isn’t built over night though. It is years of planning, fundraising and constructing. At this time, as we build, it is pretty exciting to observe earth turning to homes, and walls, and gardens but there is still one important facet missing. The children.
The young Canadians that populated the land during their Spring Break brought life and laughter to the land. When they welcomed the local children for the activities day, the land came to life. The land is there to embrace children and it is during afternoons like that I am reminded it is coming.
How does that expression go?
Build it and they will come.
A benefit concert in support of Project Somos. Come enjoy an afternoon with a few of Vancouver’s superbly talented singers, musicians and dancers, some professional but most of them young students. You’ll love their exuberance and energy, most especially performed by children for children.
Featuring: Students from Broadway Edge Theatre, Jenna and Nicole Potter, Natasha Feuchuk, Genevieve Chasse, Matt Darling, and with Special Guests, Ed Henderson and Gene Ramsbottom and Family.
Saint George’s is hosting a Coffee House and Auction Night in support of Project Somos next Thursday, March 1st at 7:00pm.
Saint George students will be volunteering in Guatemala next month and are raising funds to help build the Village. Attend the fundraiser to a part of their future!
Listen to incredible live student musical performances, enjoy fresh coffee and baked goods, and bid on enticing items like an iPad, Canucks tickets, tools, artwork, spa packages and much, much more!!!
Parents, Students, Staff & Community Members Welcome
Thursday, March 1st 7:00pm
The Lower Great Hall
St. George’s Senior School, 4175 West 29th Avenue
Entry by Donation
All funds collected from the evening will be donated to the Project Somos Children’s Village in Guatemala on behalf of the students heading to Guatemala on their Spring Break 2012 Service Tour.
We thank you for your continuing support.