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Earlier, I got the chance to go on “survey” as a Project Supervisor. This means that I traveled to one of our host communities to make sure that they were all ready for our volunteers’ arrival!

I first got to visit with a very friendly host mom who welcomed me into her home, offered me lunch, and introduced me to her six children. One of her children, an eleven year-old boy named Jorge, immediately took it upon himself to be my personal tour guide for the rest of the day. Jorge and two of his younger sisters (ages six and seven) took me on a tour through the lush forest which surrounds their house. Despite their young age, they knew the names of every single plant, fruit, insect, and animal. Jorge picked me a sprig of oregano, a branch of canela leaves, and a lemon. He also carried a big stick with him in case we came upon any big bugs and held my hand when the terrain became hilly or muddy.

For the rest of the day, he escorted me around the community to visit host families and other key community members. When I left the next morning, he presented me with a painted gourd and a large wooden bird that he had taken off of his family’s wall. He had even written my name on both! I was so shocked and I asked his older sister if she was sure that I could take the giant items that he had just taken off the wall. She assured me that they were for me. I had never experienced such generosity and kindness from a family that I had only just met. Once I returned to staff house, I immediately hung up both of these beautiful gifts. I am so grateful to Jorge and his family for making a place I was just visiting for the first time feel like home, and can’t wait for my volunteers to have a similar experience. I cannot wait to return to this community!