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May '12

Colombian Paradise

After a few months of traveling, we have just signed up for a second round of volunteering, this time in a tiny town called Minca in the mountains above the Carribbean Coast in Colombia. We are working with a couple who works in the public school in Minca teaching English and Art. We teach Monday through Friday from 7am until 12pm. In addition to the school in Minca, they also go to a couple of schools in the more rural areas (campos).

One of the main reasons we chose this program over the others we were looking at is because it also included the opportunity to live with the couple and their kids. We thought this would be a great experience for us to be immersed in Colombian culture, improve our Spanish and hopefully, have some small impact on the children of Minca.

Our Family!

Our Family!

The home we live at is incredible. It has a huge patio that looks out onto their backyard which is complete with Mango, Avocado, Limon and Mandarin trees that are all currently producing fruit we eat everyday. The backyard backs up to the Minca river, right at a swimming hole, complete with rope swing!

Swimming Hole

Part of our homestay includes 3 meals a day Monday through Friday, and the food is out of this world! At every meal, we have freshly made juice from all sorts of delicious fruit (many of which we’ve never heard of before). We eat mainly vegetarian food, which in addition to being very healthy (and a great break from all the fried food from restaurants around here), is always fresh and delicious.

The family is also amazing. Maria speaks great English and her husband works hard with us to speak so we can understand. They have 2 young children who light up the house and spend a lot of time playing with us gringos even though it can be frustrating when we don’t understand the rules (or scoring systems) of the games.


Aaron losing at marbles...

We feel as though we are living a life of pure luxury, however we’ve realized how our sense of luxury has adapted to focus on those things that really matter. Like many houses in the area, the house we live in doesn’t have A/C (we’re near the carribbean coast….it gets hot), a refrigerator,  a washer/dryer or hot water. The water in Minca comes from a local waterfall/natural spring so we have to boil it before drinking it and when it rains, all the water coming through the faucets turns brown-ish for a little while.

There are so many little things that I thought I needed in order to function that I’m discovering just aren’t that important. The opportunities and experiences we are getting (in addition to the fruit) far outweigh any of the “inconveniences” we face. And, while I’m not going to get rid of my refrigerator or A/C (have you seen the Texas summers?!), we’ve learned that luxury can be measured in many different ways. This is one of those experiences that I know will shape our lives and we couldn’t be more excited to be here, working with the kids and experiencing true Colombian living.

More posts to come about our volunteering experience as we go on!


1 Comment »

1 Comment » to “Colombian Paradise”

  1. Don Berg Says:

    Glad you have not contracted the American disease of Affluenza! Learned recently that if we earn $34,000 a year we are in the top 1% of the world’s population. Continued blessings on your travel!

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