Friday, June 3, 2011

Dalyn, one of our country directors, asked me the other day if I feel like I've accomplished something when I leave, or if I feel like this experience has been worth the time and money.

Of course it has.

Maybe it's selfish to think of how my skill set has expanded, or how I've learned so much, but that is definitely one of the biggest things I'll take home with me (in a little under 2 weeks, mind you). In a few short weeks, I've:
  • Learned how to plan and teach an intermediate English class.
  • Experienced microfinance firsthand and met with several experts on microfinance in El Salvador.
  • Conducted preliminary vision screenings for elementary school children.
  • Discussed life goals and aspirations with young women who have been abused, former drug addicts and my team members. *Seriously, the girls at CIPI and CREA are so fun to talk to. I think I'll miss them the most out of all the SalvadoreƱas I've met here.
  • Gotten to know the bus system of San Salvador (believe me, that is an accomplishment of its own).
  • Experienced Latin American culture firsthand and fell in love with it (naturally).
  • Improved my Spanish and gained confidence in my ability to communicate effectively with native speakers.
  • Learned to live with 19 different personalities in a non-air conditioned house with 3 showers, and one small fridge.
I feel like so much of this trip has been me listening, speaking, experiencing and soaking up all the knowledge I can about so many different aspects of development. One of the greatest takeaways I have now is the desire to continue to be involved in development wherever I am. I really want to volunteer with the Hispanic community in Provo, not only to continue to use my Spanish, but just because I think it would be fun.

Apart from the personal gains I have experienced, I really do think I've been able to help in some small way the people of El Salvador. Even if it's just helping build a walkway around one house in Ahuachapan, teaching some eager students how to use the past tense in English, or reminding the girls at CIPI that they are loved, I hope that my time here has helped someone, somehow.

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