so I've got two good stories and one is pending.
First of all - many of us out there in the United States and Europe are always worried about the dangers in Latin America and Guatemala. All the robberies, pick pocketing, assaulting. We can turn a beautiful country and people into a dark place. Not saying these things don't happen, but just listen to my story.
For those of you who know me, I can be a bit clumsy, a little forgetful, downright oblivious sometimes. Well a couple weeks ago, I was walking through Parramos chatting with a friend and I decided to take off my rain jacket. There was absolutely no one around us and sometime in this moment I dropped my wallet.
After I realized it was gone and we searched for a 1/2 hour or so, we figured it was long gone. I canceled my credit card and thought well it was going to happen sometime (please refer to attitude in top paragraph).
STOP! THERE IS HOPE FOR HUMANITY!!
A few days later and stranger in town called NPH (because the number was in my wallet) and wanted to return it to me! I waltzed down the street and a sweet young mom with her 4-ish year old daughter handed me my wallet and wished me a good day.
The only thing I lost was about $3
Take that cynics! And be encouraged everyone!
ok 2nd story.
So ever since doing Americorps and serving with the Special Olympics, I've been enamored with how this organization celebrates and empowers people with disabilities. Shortly after starting to work with the kids with special needs in Guatemala, I started the searching events and contacts for the Special Olympics. After emailing and calling the Guatemala SO, the US sports director, the Latin American director, and I think a few others, I finally got the contact info for the director of Guatemala.
After a couple months of few and far between emails, yesterday the director and I finally set a time to meet up and talk! What is more, I found out last minute about a tournament today and that we could come and watch! I thought it was too late to try to go but suddenly everyone at NPH got really excited about it. A few volunteers, the director of psychology, the director of the house of kids with disabilities. A process I thought was going to be long and a struggle suddenly came together out of nowhere.
I scrambled to finish up my morning classes with the kids and as they got their snack and got ready to go to the library, I set out with the house director of the spec. ed. kids, and three therapists.
2 buses and a taxi later, we got to the stadium. And in this moment, the tournament was ending. what?!? We just missed it. But we did get to meet and chat with the director and some friendly athletes who had won medals wanted to take a few pictures. They were great!
us volunteer posers :P
So, what we found out so far is that everything is FREE. There's another tournament in November. And all we have to do is register our kids and have a volunteer coach train them (aka, the person in my position...at least I'm guessing). This means that our Special Olympic dreams can be realized!! It won't be a financial burden on NPH, the kids will get to excel in competition and be cheered on.
Of course there's a lot more to find out about, but everything looks promising.
We're meeting with the director a week from Friday to talk about what exactly we have to do.
As a side thought. Volunteering here for a year is great - a year is both a long and short time. But, gosh, something like connecting the Special Olympics with these kids at NPH would just, wow, it'd be like leaving something lasting. Like when Stephanie is long gone like every volunteer eventually is - to be a part of something that's going to be around for them for years (hopefully) and continue to develop and just... yeah I am pretty excited!
Anyway - see you later!