Despite the exhaustion it brings, being a leader in the art room for camp is very rewarding. Today Femy and I decided to tackle two crafts and within a few minutes, the room was chaotic. I was constantly running around the room making sure all the kids had the supplies they needed while trying to give instructions and answer all their questions in Spanish. Even though I’m tired within the first session of camp, I love being in the arts and crafts room because once a child is finished with the craft, they come up to me with a big smile and when I tell them how good of a job they did, their smile grows even bigger. And every day before they leave the room, they all give me the tightest hugs and I immediately feel content and pure joy.
Not only are the little kids amazing, but the teens who help us run the camp are also wonderful. It has been so fun getting to know the teens and working alongside them during camp. Last night, the teens invited us over to Penelope’s house to make tacos. Some of the group stayed at the house but when we were offered to go on motorbike rides with some of the teens, I jumped on the opportunity (sorry mom and dad). We rode around the barrio for a while and for those of you who have seen the Lizzie McGuire movie, I felt like I was Lizzie riding with Palo. But that’s beside the point. It was just so fun to explore the barrio and spend time with the teens while doing something that they do every day.
Building relationships with the people here has been amazing, but I’m also so thankful for the group of Duquesne students whom I have had the pleasure to travel with. It’s crazy to think that just 4 days ago, we were sitting silently in the airport together. Now I’m already starting to get sad thinking about how I’m going to miss this group so much when it’s time to leave. But thankfully we all go to the same school and because of this trip I now know nine more wonderful people who are a part of Duquesne. Although we have only spent less than a week together, I feel as though we all know each other very well because everyone brings their own strengths and positivity to the group. First off, Femy has the most contagious laugh out of anyone I know and she’s constantly laughing or smiling; Dani has continuous energy and she’s always so prepared and willing to share; Emily is so easygoing and good at talking to anyone because she just wants everyone to be loved; Grace has a quiet spirit and she always shares her unique thoughts and feelings whenever we debrief; Matt deals with being the only male in our group and he always puts others needs before his own; Mallory has been eager to break the language barrier and try to learn Spanish despite knowing very little; Maddie is always willing to finish the leftover food and she is kind to everyone, including Frankie, the slobbery dog; Larissa is so sweet and she has a welcoming spirit that attracts all the little kids; LASTLY, Kate goes with the flow and deals with all of our complaints and problems while still managing to bring energy and positivity to our group.
Overall, the people here are incredible and everyone is so present because the lifestyle here is not fast-paced or controlled by materialism, but rather it is about living in community with one another. I’m so, so thankful I am able to have this experience because it has been of the best and I know I won’t be near ready to leave once Sunday rolls around.