“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
Ms. Martinez: Margaret Mead once said this without knowing that it would apply to a group of traveling Pumas in the capital of Colombia in 2017. At the end of the day, we reflected on our less-than-24 hours within the country, and this quote represented everything we saw, felt, and communicated with each other. A few of the highlights that unleashed these feelings are included below. Such a once-in-a-lifetime trip inspires, tires, and changes people, and blogging is one way for us to process in the moment, while keeping the memory alive forever (Thanks, internet!). Thanks for reading, and we welcome any comments, prayers, and positive vibes that you have for us all the way back in Minnesota, or wherever you’re reading. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Alan: It was my third time on an airplane and I still hate them. It gets boring and it is so uncomfortable. If you don’t know me, I LOVE Hamilton and of course I spent my whole time listening to the soundtrack. I think the best moment of our flight was playing LetterMix with Jose, Jose, and Jackeline. We just had to make words out of 5 letters. Mainly, the 1st place was a competition between Jackie and I. Also, Vanessa and I got lost for like an hour at the airport. We were trying to find McDonald’s and the directory map gave us the wrong directions but we ended up finding it.
A highlight of yesterday was arriving to the airport in Bogota, Colombia and as a surprise, our partners were waiting for us. It was the best welcoming I’ve ever received. It was so exciting to see our partners whom we’ve been talking to for months. Then we got to where we were staying and we found presents in our room. Honestly, they are so kind and respectful. I’m so thankful for all of them. When we got on the bus, we immediately bonded with our partners. It felt like we’ve known them forever. Then, today in the morning, we played some icebreakers and we had the best 2 leaders: Sofia and Lessy. They are full of energy and know how to get the spirit up. We sang and danced. I love the icebreaker where we sang about kitchen utensils (crazy right?!)
The most striking parts of today were the murals!!! They’re amazing! One mural that stood out to me was this one that said “Memoria”. Each letter represented a story. M represented the indigenous people. E represented how sometimes people get kicked out of their homes. M represented living in poverty. O represented the construction of highways and the effect that it has on people. R represents being an outsider and not getting help at all. A represents the relationship between urban people and people who come from small rural areas. I love the murals so much because it has so much symbolism even the tiniest detail have a story and symbolize something even greater. Art, especilly graffiti which is not valued, is the only way that people make their voices be heard. I find it interesting because in the U.S., for example I go to protests in order to be heard. There was this hashtag that said “no se quede mirando” which means don’t just stare and it’s basically saying to take action. Don’t stay silent and let injustice happen. If you see something, say something! Another powerful quote that I like that was on the highway was “sin plata pero tenemos suenos” which means that although we don’t have money, we still have dreams just like everybody else.
Vanessa: I agree with everything Alan wrote! In my experience today, we walked through downtown Bogota in the rain, then in the sun, then in the rain again while we interacted with many different cultures, including some indigenous folk from Colombia. I observed that there were spectacular things to see but what astonished me the most was the difficulties people live through. From a man who was missing his arms walking through the street, to many single moms stranded on the sidewalks with their children.
From people making their money by selling selfie sticks, or charging for taking pictures with them in costumes, to selling corn on the cob or juggling in the street, everyone here is trying to survive and take home a few dollars for their families.
At the end of the night, when we got together to process what we experienced, we all reflected the same emotion: gratitude. Especially as Thanksgiving is approaching, we all remembered the blessings in our lives. We were born in the United States- that’s a blessing. We have the opportunity to make a change- that’s a blessing. We don’t have to wait for these opportunities to show up in the newspaper or online or in the Campus Ministry office… We can start them ourselves right now!
Today’s bloggers were Alan, Vanessa, and Ms.Mtz!