Saturday: Anna and I went to Usme for a big health brigada. There were about 150 people there throughout the day and they all paid 1,000 Colombian Pesos (50 cents) for a full day of doctor's visits and a hair cut. There were optometrists, physical therapists, general physicians, lawyers, and barbers. While the families did the rounds, I helped the general physicians while Anna worked with the kids. It was a big day and our kids looked great after their haircuts!
Sunday: My last Sunday was spent in Soacha. My dad flew in to deliver pillows that were made by kids from my church in Maryland. When we walked into the church, one kid yelled "la gringa!!!" and about 15 kids ran up to me with big smiles and lots of hugs. It was a great service and the kids all came up to 'lay hands' as padre carlos gave me a 'goodbye' blessing. After the service we went upstairs and delivered the pillows. The kids loved them! It was so cool for them to know that they were made by kids in the US. Thanks to St. Andrew the Fisherman Vacation Bible School for making them! I've seen the community in Soacha grow throughout this past year and I met so many strong people there. I am so grateful for Padre Carlos and his amazing family for welcoming me into such a special place.
Monday: My last day in Usme with my kids in the after school program. It was a fun day and they absolutely loved the pillows. They all made bracelets and wrote notes for the kids in Maryland and then we watched a video of our year together. Watching that video and hearing the kids laugh reminded me of how special this year was with them. It was hard to leave my nenos but I feel much better knowing that Anna is there to continue our work with them. I can't believe that our time together is already over and I will miss them so much!
Tuesday: I was off to the airport early in the morning for a 7am flight to Houston. I arrived home in Maryland at 1130 at night. More on my homecoming in the next blog!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
As I waited for Anna at the airport on August 12, I thought back to my arrival a little less than a year before. I remember long lines and a huge crowd waiting for people at the airport exit. Her arrival wasn't much different, with 5 planes all arriving at once. After finding her in the crowd, we went to Myriam's apartment, where Anna will be staying for at least a month.
A couple of days later, one of my best friends from high school arrived for a five day visit. It was perfect timing because I was able to show them the city at the same time. Being their tour guide was a lot of fun. Here are some highlights of our time together:
Checking out the city from Monserrate:
Helping Anna buy a 40,000 colombian peso (20$) guitar from an open market. Spending time with Panchon was a lot of fun!
Spending time with my Colombian mom, Myriam and taking her out to dinner!
Padre Diego introducing Anna to the cathedral congregation and saying goodbye to everyone on my last Sunday there.
Teaching Anna the transmilenio system. Doesn't look like she was paying much attention....
Spending time walking through the center with our new friend, Andres. People thought we were famous because we had a 'police escort'!
Playing 'memory' with the kids. Thanks Major family for the cards!
Making picture frames with the kids in Usme. Darcy brought the pictures that were printed at Wal-mart. Toots and Grandpa sent foam picture frames and things to decorate them. All the children went home with a picture of themselves and their "profes", Brittany and me.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Medellin was once known as the most violent city in the world. Today it is a beautiful city full of happy people. It's a perfect example of the resilience and optimism of the Colombian people. Brittany and I stayed at the church and ate breakfast every morning watching about sixty 3-5 year olds at Medellin's Episcopal School. The kids were adorable and they had some amazing teachers.
Lorena, Juan and their seven year old niece, Samara were our tour guides throughout our three days in Medellin. They showed us Colombia's impressive metro, complete with a teleferico to take people to their houses up on a hill. We went to Plaza Botero, full of Botero's statues..you can't help but love them. We were there for the Feria de Flores (flower festival) and saw a concert in a park on our last night!
From Medellin, I flew to Quito to spend a few days with one of my best friends from college, Raleigh. He has been teaching english there for almost seven weeks to teenagers. They all love him and are learning really quickly. I think it's due to the fact that they have such a great teacher...I even learned a few things! He surprised me with a trip to the pacific coast where we spent two nights in a cute beach town, Manta. It was relaxing and fun to get away from the city. It was so great to experience another culture and to spend some time with Raleigh!
Arriving back in Bogota felt like arriving home. Brittany left last Sunday so I really miss having her around but Anna (the next YASCer) arrives tonight! I have two weeks left in Bogota and really can't believe how quickly a full year has flown by. My remaining time here will be spent helping Anna transition to her new life in Colombia, spending as much time at the missions as possible, sharing my life in Bogota with a best friend from high school, and finding a way to say goodbye to a beautiful country that has become my home throughout this past year.