Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When I Go Back This Time

Last summer Anne-Milda Pu, a high school student from Lexington, MA, and her family traveled to Bolivia and met the children of Kaya. While initial expectations and hopes for the trip were to make an impact on the lives of the children there, the impressions made on her life were far greater. Upon returning to the states she has committed to helping the kids from afar--through her time, her resources, and even her artistic skills. This summer, Anne-Milda will return to the children with a team from Highrock Church, more equipped and even more enthusiastic about the new projects on her plate.

Last summer I traveled to Bolivia along with my family and a group of people from my church. The experience I had was completely life changing. Everything I saw challenged what I thought I knew and caused a passion to grow inside of my heart for helping street children. Our days consisted of touring La Paz and El Alto in the mornings and spending time at the Kaya Center in the afternoons. We taught the kids various subjects such as arts and crafts, Legos, wiffelball, and about electricity and the solar system. But amidst all the teaching we were doing, the kids taught us even more. What we learned were not facts, but rather life-long lessons. They taught us how to sincerely love life and how to make the most out of everything given to us. They taught us that knowledge is much more than reciting facts. Even though the kids had not been in school nearly as long as I have been to school, in many ways, they were so much smarter than me. They knew how to be creative and resourceful and how to be sincerely caring.

After last summer’s trip to Bolivia to visit Kaya, Kaya, and everything that the organization works for, has been on my heart. I began thinking of what I could do that would tie in my talents but that would also benefit Kaya. With that, I began painting and selling flower pots, donating all the money to Kaya. Also at my school, I became involved with in a club called Helping Our World (H.O.W). I introduced the club to Kaya and we contacted Kristin Huang asking about ways that we could help. We found out that the kids love getting mail and began writing letters to all of kids in the day program.

This July, I am looking forward to spending another week in La Paz. As last year’s trip was amazing in every way, all of this year I have been looking forward to hopefully going back. This year I believe that I will take away something even more deep and meaningful than last year. Last year, the initial fears of going to a country so different from the one that I am used to scared me. I was afraid of the altitude difference and the language barrier. I had no idea about how cold it was going to be there or what La Paz would look like. When I go back this time, I will know about how the altitude affects me, I will know that they speak Spanish very fast and I will know that, although it is in South America, it is very cold. I will be able to put these aside and focus on what I am going there to do. I will be taking Spanish classes in the mornings and then go to the Kaya Center and work with the kids there, hopefully painting a mural with them. I am so excited for this summer’s trip and hope that God moves me just as He did last year.

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