|Saying goodbye to the parents at SFO|
|Guess what goes in the red garbage bin|
|The Man Cave|
Orientation has been a lot of fun so far. It’s been especially interesting meeting people from all over the country who share a similar passion for making a difference. The other volunteers come from New York, Illinois, Texas, Oregon, Colorado and even South Carolina, to name just a few. I am the only person hailing from California. Don’t worry, I will do my best not to embarrass the Golden State.
But I can’t make any promises.
|Eating a cheeseburger in Bogota|
Since Santa Cruz does’t have internet access, my first stop in Cota was the internet café to let my family know I had arrived in one piece. To be honest, it has been kind of nice being cut off from the internet and my phone—back home I constantly check my email and Facebook via my iPhone and laptop.
The next item on my agenda was to find some Colombian cerveza. My group found a small café just down the street that served beer, so we went in and sat down. I asked for a cerveza and the café owner, in typical fashion, served me their most expensive beer called Redd’s, which came in a green bottle. The beer was sweet, but strong and I sat smug and satisfied with myself for having had my first authentic Latin America beer.
One of my roomates, Rob, joined as at the café and asked the café owner what the most popular beer was. The café owner said it was a beer called Poker. Rob asked who usually drank the beer I was drinking and the owner responded, “los mujeres.”
|View from the Colombian Central Bank in Bogota|
The next day, all of the volunteers traveled to Bogotá to register our cedulás (Colombian ID cards), along with a few other things. Waiting to register our cedulás was a lot like waiting at the DMV, but it was an opportunity to get to know some of the other volunteers.
The highlight of the day came when we visited the Colombian Central Bank and listened to a presentation by one of Colombia’s highest-ranking economic policy makers. He spoke about how although Colombia has made huge strides towards a brighter future, great inequality still exists between the rich and the poor. He went on to talk about how English is the language of knowledge around the world and how speaking and understanding English can mean the difference between prosperity and poverty and how valuable WorldTeach is to helping his country. He said that Colombia lacks a culture of volunteerism and that many people don’t understand why anyone would sacrifice a year of their life helping people they don’t even know.
|Presentation at the Colombian Central Bank|
I am doing my best to be one of them.