Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lasting Impressions

This week I thought I would reflect on my overall time here in Sololá. It’s coming to an end, which is making me think a lot about the past three weeks. One of the things that stuck in my mind is the influence that I’ve left on the community. Yesterday, in our last Tuesday discussion, we not only thought about the impact that we’ve left on the people here, but we also considered the influence that the community and people around have left on us. Which one should be more? Should we be leaving a bigger impression on the community we visit, or should they have a bigger influence on us? After thinking about it a lot, I don’t think there is a correct answer to this.

Ever since we started teaching, and after having only one class a week, I’ve felt like I’m not doing enough. Even though it’s not our fault that classes got cancelled, it still felt like we should be doing more. After talking about it with the group yesterday, I realized that even though we’ve only taught a couple classes, we didn’t solely teach some kids about dental health, how to brush their teeth, and which foods are good and bad. We also provided them with some human interaction; they loved seeing us at recess, asking us questions, and hanging all over us. Although we may not have directly taught them things during recess, we gave them the opportunity to ask us what words mean in English. They may have learned a couple English words, but they also got excited about learning, and the chance to communicate with more people.

The people here have left a lasting impression on me as well. Their friendly attitudes and interesting culture has taught me a lot, and opened me up to a world that I never knew. Although I’ve grown up with waves from the neighbors and friendly smiles from strangers, somehow in the past few weeks I have learned how important this really is (maybe because of my poor Spanish). I’ve also learned to accept that things don’t always go as planned, and it is really important to be patient and willing to go with the flow.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that for this trip, I think the impression I have left and has been left on me is about equal. I can only hope that the kids Becca and I taught will remember (or even be able to) brush their teeth everyday, but I know that the knowledge and skills I have gained from this trip will last a lifetime.

Students at Central dental health classes

-Lucy, Visage Student 

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