14 Days, 14 Thoughts
It has now been 2 weeks since I’ve arrived at Project Somos as a volunteer assisting with the garden, social media, and fundraising! Even though it’s a short amount of time, I have already learned and experienced so much. In an effort to sum it all up, here are 14 thoughts from 14 days of being here!
1. Learning Spanish is the best with kids! They have no judgement, though a few giggles if you say something wrong. It is so nice to be able to practice my Spanish freely and ask as many times as I want, How do you say…?
2. Casa Morada is home. Living with 4 other volunteers who are all around the same age from all around the world is an incredible experience. We cook all meals communally, spend a lot of time getting to know each other, and just generally make the most out of it.
3. Somos Sunrises are unreal. Waking up at 6am is (one of) the best parts of my day. Sitting on the porch of the volunteer house, you have a perfect view of many volcanoes, one of which is active—-don’t worry, we’re far enough away that we will not be hurt.
4. Teamwork makes the dream work. Whether it’s cooking a meal, cleaning the house, creating tools for learning, everything is better when you have a pal (or a few) to do the work with you.
5. Alone time is crucial. Being the introverted person that I am, I require a lot of time to reflect, process, and maybe just listen to some music. It is nice that everyone respects this, and I am able to take time whenever I need to recharge.
6. Put your phone away. Being that our house doesn’t have WiFi, we have a lot of time to get to know each other. This is one of my favorite parts about being here. We have access to internet close by, but when we are in the house, phones are away, people are present. It also is amazing that no one knows who you are, so you get to recreate yourself when coming here! (Note: there is WiFi on site, just a minute of a walk away from the volunteer house)
7. Rain is a good thing. Over the past two weeks, rain has been such a welcome part of the afternoon. The mornings are clear and crisp, and sometime in between 1-3pm, the clouds roll in. The rain is not only refreshing for me, but the plants, the kids, the earth.
8. Childhood never ends. Last week I was walking from the house to the sala, a pleasant walk across the field. I decided to start running because I always see the kids do that. It was so freeing! No wonder kids run everywhere. Someone said recently “once a puddle becomes a barrier, you know you’ve grown up”. Don’t worry, I haven’t grown up.
9. Yoga yoga yoga. Whether it’s a start to your morning or an end to your day, there is no bad time to do yoga. For me, it’s mindfulness, strength building, and an awesome back stretch (which is necessary after working in the garden sometimes). We luckily teach the kids yoga here too, so there’s always an abundance of opportunities to get involved!
10. Stay present. This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. With volcanoes surrounding us, rolling hills and mountains everywhere, it really is breathtaking. It’s important to make time to just look at the views.
11. It’s okay to not be happy all the time. I think that when you travel or do something new, you can have this expectation that everything will be amazing 100% of the time. False! I struggle with depression outside of this exciting life, so it’s reasonable that there will be days that are more difficult than other. Let yourself feel the feels and then go outside and breathe in the beautiful air. It’s okay to not be okay.
12. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When I was little, my parents said that I wouldn’t even ask where the restroom was at a restaurant. Now I find myself in a different country not only wanting to ask questions, but needing to.
13. Be critical. Always. Volunteering has a harmful and destructive history. It’s so important that before going anywhere, you understand the organization, it’s relation to the community that it is in, who they hire, etc. Project Somos caught my attention for many reasons, and I’m glad that I took the time to research many organizations before hopping on board.
14. Stay in touch! Volunteers flow in and out of Somos, and for this reason I am beyond grateful for social media. Even after someone has left, you can always stay in touch and remain close. Family develops here quickly.
Project Somos is an incredibly unique place that I’m lucky to call home for a few months. I highly recommend volunteering here and encourage you to reach out for any questions you may have! Thanks for reading.
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