Hey everybody. I am in Chile and I am doing fine. I dont have internet access at home but I can use the computers at the school I am working at. However, posts will probably be long and infrequent so I will do my best to keep them organized and interesting.
I should probably back up and explain what I am doing in Chile. For the next year or so I will be part of the Saint Johns Benedictine Volunteer Corps (SJBVC). The program was started several years ago to send recent SJU grads to various Benedictine Monasteries around the world to live and volunteer. Cole Woodward (SJU 08) and I were selected to be the first SJBVC members to travel to Chile and work with the Manquehue Movement in Santiago. Manquehue is not a monastic community but a lay Catholic community that lives and works in a Benedictine way. They operated three schools (San Lorenzo, San Anselmo and San Benito) as well as a womens shelter and they also have retreat house at their community of San Jose in Patagonia. Cole and I will mostly be working at San Lorenzo, which is located in the Recoleta area of Santiago and is a free, private school in a very poor part of the city.
Right now we arent exactly sure what we will be doing in the school. We will probably be working on something in either or all of the following areas: recycling program/environmental education, helping with sports teams, or tutoring students in english class. Its funny, but also sad in a way, I am a young and energetic person, with a college diploma and I have lived in an advanced society my entire life. Yet I feel like I have no skills and nothing that I have know of that could be of assistance here. It was easy for me to sit in the comfort of the United States and think of all the good that could be done in the world, but when I got here I realized that its not that easy. There are a lot of barriers to overcome; resources, cultural differences, language (I am not doing so well with the Spanish down here). Thats not to say that San Lorenzo is struggling. This school is very well run and has done so amazing things for the poor in the area. Its just been hard for me to figure how to combine what I can do with what they need.
Anyway. We will also be travelling to Patagonia, in September for 10 days and again from January until March. We are living in the guesthouse of the community (Casa de Gringos as it is sometimes called) which is located in Providencia, a nice neighborhood close to downtown Santiago. Thats all for now. Feel free to comment on anything or suggest a name for this blog. I will try to write a better post later and explain all that has happened in the past two weeks.
2 years ago