After being in Colombia in August, September and October my volunteer mission has come to a close :/ When you get older you really can’t understand how time flies so much faster than when we are kids and it only goes by faster and faster as time goes by! My last day of volunteering was today – we helped out to feed the homeless and it was one of the best days we had there – a local school came in and played music while everyone ate there was enough hands to help out, clean-up was fast, everyone was extra appreciative and there was enough food for everyone – Perfect last day
On Thursday it was my last day at Hogar San Mauricio and this is where it was bittersweet! I loved these kids they are some of the most amazing ones I’ve ever met and I can’t phantom someone not wanting them – they love to laugh, they love to play and they love attention and affection! The day was even more special because we finally finished the mural Here are the before and after (with my little angels of course)
And of course Erika and I can’t do anything without being super silly
We also had our last tutor session for my little ones who were getting adopted to America and are awaiting caring and loving families Carlene, Erika and I tried our hardest to make learning English as fun as possible and used nothing but positive re-enforcement, we received nothing but stellar results!
Here is the little girl who stole my heart and who won me at arm wrestling
After finishing the mural and the tutoring session it was time for good-bye photos :/ we took A MILLION but here are a few.
Veronica was a big part of our experience at Hogar San Mauricio not only because she was one of the few that spoke English but also because she welcomed us in with open arms, we got to teach some of the classes with her to prepare the kids to be adults and how to be self-sufficient. Hans was a gentleman that unfortunately we only met at the last leg of our time there but I had wished we gotten to know him more and spent more time with him – he is a friend of Veronica the chef and he was great with the kids and always positive, as a gift from them both they bought me a bag of Guanabana juice which is a local fruit and I thank them a million times for it Veronica will be moving to Australia in February to further her education as a chef at a culinary college! I wish her the best of luck!
The kids really taught me sooo much about myself and they let me be a kid with them which missing out on so much of my own childhood – it was amazing The orphanage was my favorite placement by far, I loved every minute of it, it did however break my heart to leave the grounds – it didn’t help that they wouldn’t let me go they hung on both my arms and walked me all the way to the gate – it was one of the hardest things I had to do – to say goodbye!
I never really spoke about being an orphan, it was one of my closest guarded secrets – it was something that was private and I didn’t want anyone to know, I didn’t want pity, I didn’t want judgement, I just wanted to be treated like everyone else. I started being open about it slightly before I came on this volunteer mission because of a friend of mine – Edward Brady, he was the first one to really get it out of me and I knew that he was genuine enough to actually care, so I want to thank him for taking this out of its fort knox shell that its been in for almost my whole life! Thanks brother!
It’s true that family holidays are still rough for me, it’s a mix of me being sad about not having those two people in your life that are supposed to love you unconditionally and also not being used to that family holiday setting, but I have realized that my friends are my family and at this point in my life I wouldn’t have it any other way I hope that the months I spent at the orphanage in Colombia – helped in some way, that I acted as an example of positivity and showed them that even though I got dealt the same bad cards at their age, that can do whatever it is they want in life! it doesn’t have to define you, it makes you stronger
My experience has changed me – I view life differently, I realize what is important in this short life that we live, I plan to make many changes to the way I live my life and I cant wait to get back into the States to get the ball rolling on sooo many projects and future volunteer missions (one is being planned as we speak!) I have become an even simplier man, a minimalist, one that wants to do more and more for those around me and around the world!
I want to thank every single one of my fellow volunteers and everyone else back at home who were with me on this journey and next chapter in my life: Lupe the Volunteer You have let a dreamer to continue dreaming of being the change!
Special love to Emering Voices in Colombia, IVHQ and Hogar San Mauricio
Humbly yours – Lupe
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