It’s been a while since I have written per usual. I’m on my last day in Mejillones, where I returned for maybe too much time for my last goodbyes. I’ll backtrack first though to catch up from when I last wrote. What has Whitney been up to in the last month?
After Mancora, I took the long busride down to Lima to catch another bus to Pisco to volunteer again at Pisco Sin Fronteras. The week was amazing. I definitely experienced more in my week there than I did last time around when we were moving volunteer houses. The first day sign up led me to the wood yard busting pallets and then shoveling debris into the truck. Best jobs to break you into the PSF work. Then I got to play translator and accompany people to the hospital and to do site visits to familias that requested PSF assistance! That was probably the best part so I could get a feel for what types of projects are our there, how decisions are made, etc. Also in the evening, there was a really productive all-hands meeting and committee breakout meetings about things like fundraising, promotion, and most importantly – Miracle fund criteria. Lovely to see PSF moving in such a positive direction to be well-organized and sustainable.
Daytime projects – helped a family get a roof on their house! 2 days of mixing and pouring concrete. Shoveling the shells and sand into the mixer gave me some nice muscles but hauling buckets of the concrete gave me bruises. Haha. The last construction project I did was pouring the roof at the first modular home that PSF built and gave to a family. This family had no house before and were only living in a tent. Extreme Home Makeover – Pisco style. The last touch was the roof… and as soon as the family was home they were jumping to help and fill buckets of water for us and give us juice boxes. So appreciative just like everyone in Pisco. Only wish that more could be done sooner and faster since so many have been waiting for years to improve their living situation. So many obstacles. Last day of work sent me to Ludateca where I helped entertain neighborhood kids for the morning while they were chaotic but sometimes cute as kids are haha. On my last day, we watched the World Cup final and then said goodbyes along with a few others that were leaving. It was hard to leave but time to get to Chile!
I made a quick stop in Arica to visit Octavio, then headed down to Mejillones to visit and prepare for working at an English Camp. The day I left for the camp, I came down with flu-like symptoms. Hoping that it was a virus with a short lifespan, I tried to wait it out but failed. In Taltal, we started the camp, had poor attendance, and then I realized I needed to see a doctor. In the end, it turned out that I was actually ill so I missed out on the camp and came back to Mejillones to recover. A week later of doing nothing, I was healthy! Just in time to celebrate the birthdays of 2 of my friends here – Nacho and Isai. Made visits to the other familias and also was lucky enough to get a short one-week job of teaching english at the marine house for the captain and lieutenent who had an upcoming test. I meant to leave Monday and now it’s Thursday and so I’m FINALLY going to take my bus to Santiago. It’s been a great visit and I even met the new volunteers. Strange to think I was just arriving to Mejillones a year ago and now am leaving with the replacements arriving now. So many emotions and thoughts running through my head so mostly I try to keep busy and distracted…. Aka I’m deep in denial about leaving South America and Chile and have become reflective on my experiences – what I’ve learned, how I’ve changed, the mark I’ve made here…
In one week I will be in the United States. If that’s not the strangest thing we’ve all heard, I don’t know what is! I still owe some entries so hopefully I’ll get to writing them soon… I’ll move all these reflections from my head to share here… or at least some of them.