Bucket showers, no electricity, no money-wasting, no snacks, outhouses; all the Glimpsers groaned and asked a variety of questions on what their “Living Like a Local” day would be like. It seemed like such a huge shift from reality, but we actually were only dipping our feet in. Starting from last night, we began to get a taste of what locals in the city of Constanza experience regularly. Instead of showers, we filled buckets of water and used saucers to bathe. We weren’t supposed to use running water, and we weren’t allowed to waste any money on anything, but most importantly, we were up for a big life lesson.
At 8:00am we transported to a little town called Cañada Las Palmas. Promptly after arriving, we were broken up into groups and assigned to families living in the community. We met loads of wonderful people: Jose and Amilia Victoriano and their son Jose Rafael, Lydia, Sunilda, Justina, Nina and her daughter Margarita in the cooking house, and all the lively kids of the neighborhood. We were welcomed with open doors and open arms. The moment we stepped off the bus we received warm hugs from the families. They opened their doors for us and taught us so many different things, from new card games to living a full life. These families taught us what the meaning of kindness truly is. They offered so much love and care for us despite being strangers, and offered their home as a safe haven to us. I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we created a new family today, full of brothers, sisters, and mothers.
The biggest surprise was the happiness and gratitude of the families, even though they don’t have all the resources and opportunities that we have. They are content in the state they’re in because they have what’s most important, family. With family comes many things, love, dedication, and safety. When I think of many people around the world I honestly think of ignorance. The way people complain and want more and more of things that they simply just don’t need, I feel so grateful to have an experience like the one I had today. I experienced what it’s like to be thankful for life in itself, because that alone is the biggest blessing. It’s difficult to think that such a big part of the world lives an underprivileged life because of their country, their economy, and the lack of equal opportunities given to them. Yet still, these families are so much happier than me, and the majority of people I meet. Every person that I had the opportunity to speak to today inspired me and taught me a different lesson. Even all the kids running around barefoot and climbing a pear tree and teaching us how to play the game La Placa, they were alive and simply being themselves in every moment that passed, and I thank them for teaching me freedom.
A big part of the group is still rusty with Spanish. Today, every single one of us had a connection with at least one person. We strained ourselves to communicate with the families because it was an open and pure experience. I felt so happy seeing everyone get squeezed so tightly by the families they met when it was time to say goodbye, I knew that everyone’s hearts were touched today.
Today was one of the best days to be leader of the day. We accomplished and learned so much today, not only the beautiful experience we had but also planning for our CAP Project. We made a finalized presentation today and we can all visualize the project coming together. I feel that all of us care about what we’re doing and what we plan on doing, and I have really high hopes for what we will accomplish in the upcoming days. Being the leader of such a varied group of teenagers, even for one day, it’s difficult. But it’s such a privilege to see all of the different personalities shine and blend.