Buster likes to sit on Alex.
Buster and Alex are so famous.
Buster likes to sit on Alex.
Buster and Alex are so famous.
I would like to thank God and the Republic of Argentina for the best moment of my life: RODENTS THAT COME TO YOU FOR SCRITCHES!
Hello Tumblr Friends! Here is the update I sent to all the donors, and you all should receive it too, for all of your support and reblogging, thanks again! :
Hola lovely friends!
It’s sad to say, but it’s the end of an era for me - in 1.5 weeks I meet my Mom in Argentina and my volunteering is officially over. What an experience it has been! More than I could have imagined. It was fun, sad, uplifting, hard, exciting, tiring, heartbreaking; too many adjectives to describe. From the very beginning in outskirts of Arequipa, Peru, working with kids who live without electricity and running water (not even the bacteria infested water everyone else in Arequipa gets to enjoy), the 5 year old kids who literally looked after their younger siblings, the toddlers who walked to class by themselves - it wasn’t as much of a shock as it should have been, because I’ve traveled before in Asia and Africa, but developing relationships with them was much different than impassively seeing them passing by on the street. I won’t be that gringo who says, “Oh, they are just sooo happy despite being sooo poor.” There is no doubt about it, their life is hard. I think all I can say about it is: they are kids and kids everywhere are the same, they want to play, smile, learn, chase balloons, draw with chalk, play with the puppies on the street. I’m glad that we were able to help provide those moments - give them a school to go to, a place to learn relationship skills, to let go and have fun, to be kids. Not to mention bringing water to a community. I remember one volunteer coming and saying, “How can you teach here, how can you call this a school? There is no bathroom, no sink.” I was mad, we were doing the best we could with what we had, and I told him, “Well, if it sucks so bad then do something about it!” He didn’t come back, he took a hiking trip instead. WE did something about it though. That’s the difference between you and many people in this world, and you should be proud of yourselves. I realized how little it takes to actually make a difference. Of course Westerners can’t come into a place and change it or expect to change it, especially the social problems, but we can use our hearts to do little things like build a water tank, buy books, jump ropes. This project of ours wasn’t about changing or saving the world, from the very beginning it was about making just ONE person’s life, one child’s life, a little better for a moment - that’s all we could have asked for, despite how altruistic our motives were, and I can say, we successfully achieved beyond that.
Volunteering at the orphanage in Sucre, Bolivia was an amazing experience as well. I am glad I was there, and yes, despite my grumbling, glad I was the only volunteer willing to take the super crappy early arrive in dark shift. The orphanage is under staffed and without me being there for 3 hours until the other volunteers arrived at 8:30-9, the kids would be left alone without adult supervision. Looking through the photo album the nuns keep of the pictures of the kids as they find them was an experience to not forget either. Kids left abandoned on tarps in the sun, sun burnt bodies, skin and bones. It was sad and strange to see the pictures, like I always did back at home, and then going and picking up the child and giving them their snack, knowing them and caring for them. And they were all so, so lovely. The happy story is they are now healthy and thriving! Our donations not only helped keep the orphanage open, but provided stimulating learning materials for the children, and, I think the kids would say, best of all, provided fruit! (Something they never had before.) It was wonderful watching one of the older kids get adopted. Oh man, let me tell you, working with 11 toddlers and 9 infants alone was TAXING and it was frustrating and I’m scarred at the idea of having children of my own, but if any of you ever get the chance to take some time off, volunteering is a wonderful experience and is not expensive. You google “volunteer abroad” and there are massive companies making money off of your good intentions, it is not like this. All you need to do is show up somewhere, find the local language school or ask your hostel, and they will put you in the right direction. Simple as that! And you meet so many wonderful, like-minded people, I will never forget my friends I made here as well.
I’m sad that these e-mails are ending, sad I can’t continue on as planned, but I’m young and this will not be the last time I do something like this, I guarantee you that! Thank you friends for all the support and thank you strangers for donating to a stranger and trusting and believing in this project. You’re all amazing, and thank you, thank you, gracias, gracias!
Baby Room, La Hogar - This is the baby room, where I spend my day (unless I’m lucky and can take them outside). Your donations make sure that the kids are provided with a safe, clean, and stimulating living environment. As I was telling a donor just now, it’s so sad because these kids are over the age of one, so it is very likely they will not get adopted because they are too old. Sadly, like dogs and cats in the pound, people want the cute little babies. My heart breaks for them, this is a very special group of kids (no matter how many headaches they give me!) and thanks for your loving support.
I noticed they never get to eat fruit. Ever. It’s just too expensive when they can have soups and potatoes (meat is a treat too). I doubted they had ever seen it, so I brought a bunch of grapes in today, and I was right. They had no idea what uvas were! Most eyed them skeptically. Some cried and were scared of them, which is hilarious. But once they realized how delicious grapes were they kept saying, “mas! mas!” (more! more!). Looks like I’ll have to extend my travel budget to make room for a daily trip to the mercado for mas fruitas!
Also, I’ve been receiving a lot of donations lately from past donors who want to help out a little more after the strikes - just want to give you a little shout-out: thank you so much!
The crazy dog who always scratches on my door and comes in my room to sleep on my bed just popped out seven babies!
It breaks my heart when he sees me in the morning, smiles, stretches his arms out for me and says, “mama.”
Amongst the teens throwing illegal fireworks into the crowds, the stage blowing up and the insane amount of fireworks being set off too close for comfort, we rang in the New Year in a true, unsafe Bolivian fashion!