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La Virtud

Friday, June 21, 2024

It’s our last day. This place really does change you. I’m so sad to be leaving. I woke up extra early just to enjoy some quiet time and take in the beautiful view one last time. Eventually everyone started waking up and getting ready. We ate a quick breakfast to get an early start on the day.

The ride to this community was very short today. The area definitely looked more city like. Today was definitely a little more difficult but resulted in a lot of growth within me and the others on the team. We all got very used to these communities being very grateful for us. This community was a little different. The kids didn’t really want to interact with the weird people with stickers and bubbles. At first, I was a little disappointed but throughout the day I met a few really sweet kids, and I was reminded of something very important later on by Laura, one of my team members. Though these people looked better off and we’re not as outwardly grateful, looking at their hygiene state and how they were medically, they definitely needed our help and that’s all that matters. We’re here to help and give everything we can and though it feels nice when the kids are playful, and the parents are warm that isn’t what truly matters at the end of the day. I’m grateful Laura was able to remind me and the others of that.

Most people on the outside don’t understand why we struggle so much coming home. People see what we do from the outside and are like, “oh yea you don’t want to come home because it feels like a vacation.” We then respond no it’s because we spent a week seeing hundreds of people who need our help. After that then people often respond with, “well you should be happy because you got to help so many people.” While that is true, and I will not forget that you really don’t understand how many sick people are in need until you see it with your own eyes. Yes, we helped hundreds of people and FoB sends a team every month so so so much more help and support is still needed. The hardest part is leaving knowing that and not being able to give more, to feel you should stay longer when you can’t.

Though not everyone can see this firsthand I hope my journals gave a little glimpse of what it’d be like if you were here with me. Maybe it’ll help encourage people to donate or volunteer. I can say after this trip there will not be another year where I don’t come back and volunteer.

Though this trip was all about giving to others I can say I gained a lot in return. The people I’ve met on this trip have just been amazing. Minerva and Lidia giving their whole souls to this foundation, Melvin always connecting with the communities, Pedro being the ray of sunshine we all need, Jose and Fernando being so kind and funny, and all the volunteers just being so friendly. It’s a gift that I’ve had the chance to meet all these people, their families and everyone behind the scenes in the foundation.

Becca made a great comment today at our debrief, while our patients get to take home our help we get to take home lessons from them. Lesson to just keep up with good hygiene and take advantage of the medical help we actually have access to or just to be more grateful and polite in our day to day lives. So many of these people are suffering through things I could never imagine, and they were the kindest people I’ve ever met. I feel like we all will take that lesson home with us, and I will definitely be implementing it in my daily life.

I’m so glad Erica, my team leader, asked me to go on this mission trip. Though I was apprehensive at first, I knew this was meant to be and well it really did change my life. I may sound a little dramatic to some, but I will never be the same person after this trip, and it really is for the better. Thank you for sticking with me through each till tomorrow. Like Erica would say, 365 more sleep till we’re back again. 💙

~ Hallie

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