My Life Changing Experience in Bogota, Colombia

Impact: 5
Support: 5
Fun: 5
Value: 4
Safety: 5

I am from the United States of America. I have been blessed with a life that is abundant in opportunity and choices. I live in a culture that is more about satisfying wants than needs. I have more than I need and wanted to do something for someone other than self and family. I signed up to volunteer in Bogota to help feed the homeless for a week. I admit, I picked Bogota because it was relatively close and I went for only a week, in case I did not like it, I figured I could survive almost anywhere doing almost anything , if it is only for a week. From the moment I arrived, it turned out that getting out of my comfort zone, was the right decision for me. I do not speak a word of Spanish, but that did not prevent me from making the most of this adventure. From the staff to the programs themselves, were all well organized and exciting in a spiritual way. Even though I had signed up to feed the homeless for the entire week, I was encouraged to experience the other programs, so I did. I was able to work in a school built by the UN, where we taught English to 1st; 2nd and 3rd graders. The kids could not have been more excited and appreciative. They were adorable, and despite their surroundings they were eager to learn and they touched my heart. Everyone should have a chance to work with children, who come from difficult backgrounds and are filled with love and curiosity. I was also able to work in the orphanage where I had a similar experience. The children crave attention and physical contact. I thought it would be depressing, but instead it was uplifting. Putting a smile on an orphans face, if just for a day, was worth the trip to Bogota. Finally, I worked with the homeless in two different programs. I was amazed at how much they appreciated, what seemingly little we were providing them, until I realized, that a hot meal and something cold to drink was not a small measure for them. Volunteering is easier than I ever thought. I haven't shared a room with others in 30 years, but learned that isn't so bad either. The biggest sacrifice for me was losing sleep, with six of us sharing a room. This however was a small sacrifice for the gratitude of those we helped, both the staff and the benefactors of our efforts. I plan to do this work every year. I hope to get others to start losing sleep over the thought of others in the world whom we are not doing more to help out. Thank you IVHQ and Emerging Voices for making my experience possible and enjoyable. The personal rewards of volunteering cannot be quantified.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
Private Note to Provider (optional)
Marta and Natalie you were awesome! Thanks.