“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”
William Butler Yeats
Here at AMIGOS, we ask a lot of our staff, our participants, and the communities we serve in. We arrive as individuals with our own goals, intentions, and perceptions. We are asked to work with and seek out common ground with people who don’t look like us, have different beliefs, and perhaps have who have had very different upbringings; asked to do so within a short amount of time.
Like anything in life starting something new and meeting new people can seem daunting, but after only one week in community the smiles of the participants are telling of it all. We ask a lot of these kids. Go into a community, live with a host family, eat the food of the country, facilitate weekly themed workshops, etc. In a normal circumstance these items take some time to get used to but the participants have done so with so little time and are doing so with flying colors. The key: they are starting to understand that one is never alone in these leaps of faith.
We are leading by example as a cohesive unit, handling any situation with tact and a positive attitude while creating a fun, safe environment for everyone. We make sure participants feel supported and are prepared for the summer ahead. With confidence and the few remaining butterflies, the participants have already began adapting to life here in Chimborazo. Many have found solace in their home away from home, thanks to partnership bonds, to an autonomous immersion in host family’s daily life, and thanks to organizational benchmarks that necessitate the dependence on others (example: leading daily activities for youth in their communities, and the soon-approaching first encuentro juvenil!)
Though we appear worlds apart due to time, space or distance, the bonds that are being created this summer are a reminder that we are all one. Though we all arrive with different mentalities and objectives, we are united this summer in the hope of a better future today.
Laughter, smiles and warm regards are the same in every language and we hope that this summer brings all the warm fuzzies and growth to make this the most memorable yet.