Reaching across international and geographic boundaries to make a difference in the lives of others – there’s an act worth looking back on for the long term.
Local youth involved in the Rotary Interact club returned earlier this month from several weeks in Bolivia where they soaked up culture, started friendships that will likely last a lifetime, and did a whole pile of hard work.
There were 18 young folks who made the trip.
Each of the travellers had taken the maximum allowable luggage. Along with some personal effects they were loaded down with gifts for their hosts and others. With carefully measured amounts of sightseeing and recreation, a heavy work schedule was followed.
The afternoon (Sept. 15) the group was caught up with at the Kinnaird Hall, it was about to get down to some forward-looking business, including the election of a new president.
While still in possession of the executive distinction, Israel Millar provided a summary of the recently concluded expedition.
“We were all so excited to be there we forgot all the hours we had just spent on the plane,” she said.
The main goal of the visit was do work on a community school.
“It was fantastic, like, honestly,” said Israel. “From my perspective I could still be down there doing work at that centre because, it was a lot of hard physical work, but it was really worth it because the kids at the centre, and their parents, and the people running it were so thankful. We’d have days when we’d show up for work, and we didn’t have shovels anymore because the parents were so eager to volunteer. Everyone there was so friendly and so proud of what we were doing. We were greeted so warmly in Bolivia… it was fantastic.”
Israel noted how the locals in Cochabamba had not been in need of someone to show them what was needed, but a lack of resources and the ever-present general poverty make it tough to get major projects started and completed.
“Us coming down was kind of the start of the project,” said Israel. “Otherwise we doubt it would have happened. They have lots of students at the school… and they’re doing their best. We were so happy we could help.”
The idea for the project came to the visitors from fellow Rotarians based in Cochabamba.
Back to the future, so to speak, the club was in a bit of a re-grouping mode that Sunday afternoon in Kinnaird.
“It’s always kind of up in the air for the first couple of months when we’re back in Castlegar, mainly because we need to see where our club’s at,” said Israel… “kind of take our time coming out of the trip…refocus and reorganize.”
Whatever developments may occur within the group, it’s apparent a strong link has been has been created on the other side of the Equator.
“Bolivia will always kind of be a place for the Castlegar Interact Club to think about going to in future,” Millar concluded.
“Hopefully in 2015 there will be another trip.”