I am mindful of the fact that there is a huge time gap between my previous post and this one, reason being because of all the change that has happened over these past few weeks.
I had not shared my Tv debut in Bolivia 2 days in a row or the wonderful surprise leaving dinner Team Patsida threw for me, nor did I mention the interesting journey I had back home (To London) by myself. Sorry about the brief passing statement but hopefully the pictures below will give you an idea of some of my experiences since the last blog. However not to dwell too much on the information I haven’t blogged about. My life has literally been super busy since arriving back home.
My routine has completely changed, and I can say 5 weeks into my new postgraduate course I am fully settled in to uni life.
However, the most frequently asked question by far has been ‘How was Bolivia?’, ‘What did you do out there?’, ‘Was it life changing?’ All extremely relevant questions however I can’t express how difficult it is to answer them. I’m still trying to figure out whether it is the amount of time it would take for me to give a real and justified explanation that makes it so daunting to answer, or whether I haven’t quite come to terms with all my reflections about my time in Bolivia. I seem to result to the generic “It was an amazing experience, but extremely challenging!”
I hear you ask so really, how was it?
Well the highs definitely outweighed the lows, the highlight of my whole experience was my time at Camp Kewina (See previous blog post). I really enjoyed the experience of learning Spanish and being on a team with the most amazing Bolivians (shout out to Madre Jackie, Tia Abryl, Laura, Princess David and Daniel!) and of course Brits 😀
That begs the question why?
Looking back, it is fair to say the whole experience exposed a huge amount of my weaknesses but also built on my strengths.
What did you do out there?
We worked with Tearfunds partner project PATSIDA – in the capital of Bolivia, Sucre. PATSIDA signifies ‘Practicando el amore en tiempo de sida’ (Practising love In times of (Hiv) Aids. My group consisted of our team leader, 5 British volunteers (including me) and 5 Bolivian volunteers and we ran workshops on HIV/AID prevention and awareness as well as a number of olympiadas for local school in order to educate them about the risk of HIV. We also ran weekly sexual abuse prevention workshops for children aged 5-12 years old and in sub groups ran skilled based but empowering sessions with teenage girls who have been victims of sexual abuse.
Was it life changing?
MOST DEFINTELY YES! But in ways I did not expect. Whilst being within such a close proximity to females who were victims of sexual abuse, and children at risk of sexual abuse, yes it makes you grateful for your life back home and the support systems you have. Although we were placed in emotive situations, the biggest life lesson I took from the whole experience was one which my dad constantly reminds me: “If you can’t change the situation, change your approach”. Of which I failed miserably at on many occasions. Its always so easy to realise what you ‘could have…’, ‘should have…’, ‘would have…’ done in hindsight, however whilst immersed in the experience it is (dare I say) natural to be reactive rather than taking a step back to reflect on the situation you find yourself in.
So when I am asked the inevitable ‘How was Bolivia?’ I will continue to respond by saying. “It was amazing, but extremely challenging!” – whilst readers of this blog post would know the thoughts behind that vague response, I am hoping that a correlation has been made to the word “novaturient”…
(Adj.) desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behaviour, or situation
Thanks for reading after an almost 2 month break 😀
p.s. This blog may take a drastic turn into the realms of social work, if it interests you, that makes 2 of us, if not there will be the occasional random life posts of moments of reflection.