From washing people’s hair to painting buildings to working with the children, I truly feel as though Project Somos has become a part of me. I have been involved with Project Somos for over a decade and it has been such an incredible experience to watch it grow throughout the years. This is my third time returning to the Project and it is such a special experience to have already created so many inspiring memories. The first time I was here I remember making eco bricks, painting walls, and laying stone for the fire pit, and now, the village is bursting with life! The overall beauty of Project Somos takes my breath away every morning as I hear the children’s voices and laughter fill the atmosphere as they walk in from the gate.
When people know I have been involved with the Project for a long time, they always ask me what I remember or if it looks the same as the last time I was here. And although it is fun to be able to say “hey, I painted that!” or “ I remember when that was first built,” the coolest thing about Project Somos to me is how quickly and successfully it is evolving. I get more excited the more things grow and it is just an extra special thing that I have been able to witness so many different steps along the way. This time I am here not only as a volunteer but also as a student as I am still participating in online university classes and crediting my time here as a full-time practicum. Engaging with other students and volunteers from around the world has given me the opportunity to truly reflect and think critically of my time here, and I can positively say, it is more meaningful than anything I’ve done before.
Lately my days have consisted of teaching martial arts classes, participating in yoga, tutoring math, and baking with the preschoolers. Each and every activity at Project Somos provides an environment in which the children can learn, play, and grow and it is so cool to be able to see the children’s progress. In the first couple of martial arts classes, the children were doing 10 pushups; now, the children are so excited to show me that they can do 20 or 30 or even 50! Even more evidently, I have noticed a decrease in the attitude of violence that the children take towards one another as each and every one of them are coming into their own strengths.
Project Somos is something that will always be near and dear to my heart and although I will be here for a while longer, I am already thinking about my next trip back!