LearnServe AbroadParaguayParaguay 13

Paraguay 2013, Day 10 – Think Twice Before Calling Someone Poor

July 5, 2013.   Utterly exhausted. That is how I feel right now. I wish I were in my cozy bed far away in my deep thoughts, calmly reposing on my warm pillow. The idea of sleep is all that is pervading my mind.

Here is why:

1.     Last night, we went to bed around midnight after a 4th of July celebration at TGI Friday’s

2.     We woke up this morning around 6 to arrive at Hotel Chaco at 7:30

3.     Our bodies are still accustomed to extensive hours of sleep that we got last week with our rural host families.

Because of these 3 factors, we are all like lifeless zombies trying to find energy to accomplish our work here.

We are at the Escuela Santa Rosa de Lima in Santa Ana collaborating with students from this school and community and from the Colegio San Jose to improve, on a small scale, the lives of the community here. We are divided into three different groups:

– The art workers who are painting multicolored murals to embellish this community center

– The guarderia people who work with the children, teaching them new things while spending enjoyable time together.

– The yard workers who manually create a garden for agriculture, which would provide sustenance and serve as a model for other areas nearby

As a group, we believe that today was quite successful in that despite our sluggishness, we all worked to our fullest and mobilized or motivated peers to do the same. Moreover, many of us exhibited crucial leadership qualities such as perseverance, motivation, ingenuity, patience, and diligence, which are lessons we will all take away from this experience. It is important that we realize that we, teenagers, have the potent ability to be driving forces of social change in our communities if we are capable of using our inner passions to make a difference in the world.

Finally, I would like to share a final thought that has really impacted me this week. We all say that the families from the San Jose School here are rich and that the dwellers of Monte Alto and Dacak are “poor.”

Something about this phrase bothers me.

Indeed, there is a stark contrast between these two worlds; it is a fact that the families here in Asuncion are materially and economically much wealthier.

Nevertheless, often expressing contentment and grace, the humble families we stayed with last week have an abundance of wealth on the inside: their rich culture, durable relationships, warm hospitality, exemplary meekness, and sturdy core values revealed a different aspect of the word rich.

Hopefully we will now think twice before calling someone poor.

Thomas B.L., French International School

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