Notes of Gratitude from Peace Corps Colombia

Gratitude and cloudsGeralyn Sheehan, Country Director

I’m thankful to be here in Colombia with all of you.  I believe there are no coincidences.  Each of us is here, at this time, in this place to be in each other’s lives, to influence and support each other, to learn from each other and to enjoy each other.  I’m thankful for each of you, as volunteers, that decide each day to make a difference in the lives of the people in your pueblos.

And the difference you make doesn’t start when you get to work.  It’s how you greet the day, a smile, a “Buenas” as you pass someone or a quick wave at a neighbor … You are building relationships with each gesture, eye contact, and word you speak.  I’m thankful to you for the difference you make, those small differences in your family and neighborhood, as well as the impact you have through your work.  Blessings on all you do from an open heart that you share with others every day.

 

 

Audrey Roadshow picturesAudrey White, CII-8

There are many things to feel thankful for as a Peace Corps Volunteer. However, it can be hard to feel thankful when you’re hot and sweaty all the time, when students don’t care, when meetings don’t go the way you planned or don’t even happen at all. However, while you’re wading through all that muck of feeling less that gracious, something cuts right through it and shines a light on your service. Something happens that makes you feel so stoked, so proud and so THANKFUL that it rejuvenates you and makes you realize you are making a difference. For me, one of these moments came upon the conclusion of my first teacher workshop for Road Show.

Road Show is a group of volunteers who have gotten together to develop and present a series of 10 workshops geared towards English primary teachers, providing them with communicative activities, materials, and best practices for the classroom. Twelve teachers came to my first charla and it couldn’t have gone better.  I was so appreciative that my primary school counterpart came as well as my own Colombian host mom, who also happens to be a primary teacher. My site mate, Helena Vonk, signed people in, passed out materials, helped me with activities and added valuable knowledge to the workshop. This charla went as smoothly as it did because of her support. I just can’t thank her enough for agreeing to help me. The participants were fantastic.  They were engaged and eager to learn. They happily participated in the activities and asked pertinent questions. They left abuzz, chattering amongst themselves with excitement. I am beyond grateful that these professionals took time out of their lives to come learn from me. Being surrounded by all their light, makes mine shine so much brighter.

 

Brianna Thompson, CII-8

Gratitude Collage

 

 

Barbara's portraitBárbara Lewton Beach, CII-8

November is gratitude month and I have so much to be grateful for this year.  My life is full and rich. I’m actually a volunteer in the Peace Corps fulfilling a 40+ year bucket list item of mine. My family is doing well and thriving. Thank you Peace Corps Volunteers and office staff for all your help as I walked through some pretty dark and scary days a few months ago to help a family member. I’ll never forget how supported and loved y’all made me feel. ¡Abrazos y besos!

Back home at the family Thanksgiving dinner I liked to have each guest at the table name something they’re grateful for. I would get a few moans from the kids but most of the time they shared something pretty special. This year I’d have to say I’m grateful for the beautiful people of Colombia for helping me be a better me. I’m come to realize how over-consumptive my life has been. I’m learning how to keep it simple and do so much more with less. My daughter reminds me, “Mom, you are enough!” That’s awesome. I am enough, but I still hope to improve who I am.

Blessings to all this Thanksgiving! We will miss you CII-5, 6, and 7s. Thanks for showing us the way as we become the elders in this outfit. Blessings! Bárbara

 

 

Cii-9 Group PictureAkil Cole, CII-9

I am thankful for so many things. But to name a mere few, I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to serve in the CED project in Colombia which matches my professional goal to perfection, which is to combine my passions for personal finance and Spanish. When I resigned from a good job in order to pursue a long-held dream, there was no job opening that matched my desires. But like the movie Field of Dreams, I told my coworkers that believed that “if I built it, it would come.” And to my surprise, the perfect opportunity came while I was studying Spanish in Panama.

I am also thankful to be surrounded by such rich, compassionate, hopeful, and hospitable people that I have come to encounter in Colombia. And I am thankful that I have been divinely selected to prayerfully serve the small community of Suan with all the skills and abilities with which God has equipped me. And finally, I’m thankful that I have been blessed with similarly-wired very talented colleagues, especially José in the neighboring community, with whom I can collaborate during my service. I’m brimming with hopeful anticipation as to the positive impact that will be made in the next two years.

 

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