Hello friends and family! My name is Josephine Kwon. I was honored to be the first leader of the day out of the students in our group. Sorry about the late message; we had some internet issues yesterday.
At the beginning of the day, I had some issues waking myself and everyone else up for the day. I guess I’m still not used to the time difference. Then I had to round the group to head to Onaney’s (food service). After breakfast, we headed back to the hostel by foot. It was really interesting to see the structure of the streets. There is so much life in San Juan, the people are so welcoming and friendly. We had a program and academic seminar about Aid and Development. The discussion amongst us Glimpsers was fascinating. The breakdown of aiding a ‘developing’ country was so mind-boggling. We broke down the incentive for aid and development in order to gain the full understanding of the impact of helping another country. We had to consider that aiding a country is all about patience, teamwork, flexibility, dedication, compassion, commitment, understanding (history, culture, immediate needs, demography), and most importantly serving the natives. We discovered aiding a country with just money may not be the best solution. There are other aid a developing country; for instance, voluntary service. We helped the local children learn English. We hope our tutoring sessions will be useful for the students in the future as a skill to be successful. The greatest moment was when we saw how the native students were happy with their understanding of our lessons. Their faces and energy was an unbelievable moment to enjoy. We tried to encompass this mentality in our community action project (CAP).
We first had to discover the purpose of our CAP project by questioning who we are helping, what are we helping with, and why we are helping them. So we headed out to talk to the locals about some issues that we could hep them out with. We planned to link with Club Activo 20-30 to get their support to work on the project and to keep it going after we leave . Club Activo 20-30 is a local organization that helps the community children. We discovered that the locals needed to fix their local park which has been abandoned for eight years. We came back to the hostel and started designing a plan to restore the park with supplies. Our plan had to be feasible, meet the needs of the people, passionate, engaging, and helpful for the community. The last effort for the CAP project is delivering our plans. We plan to inform the community of our plan by next Tuesday. Then we should start restoring the park next weekend with the locals.
I can’t even encompass all of the things we did today. My experiences in San Juan just keep growing for me. I get to challenge and understand all these perspectives given to me because of my new environment. For instance, I was challenged to reconsider my educational goals in life. The guest speaker Cristino Comas has a belief that education is key but only to serve others and not be used as a way of being wealthy. I don’t believe I can ever go back to the person I was when I started this trip because my days here keep building my character.