The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
- St. Augustine.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Involvement, and why I write this blog at all

I was reminded of the purpose of this blog when I read this quote from Confucius, "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand." These words are really applicable to everything in life. Love, education, literature, film, all the ways that humans try to communicate with each other. For me, I immediately thought of my efforts through maintaining and writing this blog. It is my sincerest desire that I will involve readers in my personal journey. I don't just want to tell stories through words and show experiences through photos. I want to involve all my readers through the common thread that I believe connects us all - humanity and a desire to lessen the sufferings of others. I want my readers to imagine themselves in other people's lives, to ask themselves difficult questions, to take the risk of traveling somewhere they have never known and to want to help people that they have never met.

That is really my motivation behind the promotional video that I am working on for Colobri. Progress is achingly slow, especially because I do not have the right software and am currently agonizing over financing for my gap year, but I hope that the finished film will involve viewers through its narrative portrayal of policemen and volunteers from all over the world. These strangers come together to support children for no other fact than that they are children, they are disadvantaged, and they, like everybody else in the world, deserve opportunities and love.

Alas, it is not yet finished. I hope that I can finish it once I am back in New York and definitely before the New Year. Thus, I must leave you all with photos of my time in Colobri and hope that that will still involve you all :) As they say in France, a bientot!

Family portrait
Maté y queque
Estaba leyendo el texto mientras ella lo copía
Vamos a la parque! 
Mi ultimo dia... vean uds la locura? 

I love them. I left a piece of my heart in Colobri.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Longing to volunteer

I arrived to Paris a week ago. It is my first time visiting this city, and I must admit that it is truly beautiful and the quality of life here is high. I also am thrilled to practice my French; its my favorite language to speak!

At the same time, I am impatient to make enough money so that I can travel and volunteer again, especially since I am now interested in the healthcare industry and I have approximately 9 months to decide whether I will apply to Mount Sinai's Medical Humanities. I read a book about the founder of Partners in Health, a healthcare nonprofit based in Boston and serving the poor in countries such as Haiti, Peru, Rwanda and Russia, and I am interested in volunteering in Chiapas, Mexico for a bit. I have already received two opportunities to volunteer as a teacher in Ecuador and Kenya, but now that I am interested in global public health, I feel that this time is crucial to test out the waters in that field. I already know that I enjoy working in education and community development, but I am really excited about healthcare. Healthcare is a basic need and an universal right; it comes before education.

Anyway, I can't write a post without thinking about my readers. For cash strapped, intellectually curious, vagabond travelers such as myself looking for a place to stay in Paris for free, I recommend going to Shakespeare & Co., an old bookstore that has housed famous penniless authors and travelers for half a century. I will live amongst the bookshelves, work two hours a day at the shop, and read a book a day for a month.

Also, for those interested in volunteering in Thailand, I found a remarkable database for not only free opportunities, but opportunities that offer accommodation and food besides! Gotta love the Thai people. Here it is - so get out and go volunteer, people!