"There comes a point in a person’s life when you start asking yourself, “What difference am I making in this world?” I was at that point earlier this year when I began to plan my annual vacation and decided to put my free time into something worthwhile." - - Gayle Harrod
Click here to see some of Gayles impressions
Aug 5th Lima: I got off the 6 hour flight from Atlanta at 11:42 pm on Thursday night. Customs was a nigphpare! As we were exiting, or as they say in Spanish “Salida”, thousands of people were screaming, “Taxi!” - - Cody Harrod
Click here to see some of Cody's impressions
It seems each of us is coming in contact with this place. Our American selves and the Peruvian way of life. Understanding our limitations is difficult for us Americans. We can accomplish so much than what we think. Last night I went into the courtyard for a while to be with the kids and one boy came over and wanted to be hugged. We sat for quite some time, me holding him, rocking him like a baby. He was smoothing the back of my shirt in place and he snuggled his face into my neck. Occasionally, he looked up at me with such innocent and adoring eyes. I didn’t deserve such adoring eyes. Then after some 10 or 15 minutes of this another little boy and a little girl came over, who started braiding my hair on one side. Then there was another, and another, and another. They began fighting with each other over me. My head was being yanked from side to side. The need is so great for these children to be held and to feel the warmth of another person’s touch. - -Anonymous
We went to mass at a beautiful church. Mariso translated from sign to Spanish for me and I would guess at the rest. We returned to the Hogar long enough to line up for the next adventure.
We were told that we would take the kids for a “walk” which means a hike up the mountain with 30 children. We arrived to the top to find Llamas grazing. As we hiked further, we came to a natural rockslide. We joined the kids on the slide. We returned to the Hogar for “lunch” at 4:00 p.m. The group went to the square to shop and use the Internet. We ate a nice dinner at Victor Victoria. --Anonymous
Today I awoke early to help the children get ready for school. I was given the fun job of putting sunscreen on their faces. We had a fabulous breakfast of cheese, bread, and oatmeal. Meals here are at 7am, 4pm, and 8pm we went to Pisac, where we saw ruins, hairy pigs, alpaca, tombs, a tunnel, landslide, and beautiful scenery. We had a brief shopping excursion. 45 minutes was not long enough at the huge market, but I was able to buy most of my gifts. Back to the Hogar for a lunch of potatoes with smashed flowers. Then we played jump rope, learned sign, read, and counted.
My initial goal is to have fun with the children. I have a strong feeling that we will all leave something positive behind, and return home a different and better person. --Anonymous
All that really can be said or needs to be said is... these kids are amazing! Despite all of their troubles and hardships, they smile, laugh, and love through it all. We've only been here for two days and already it's been the trip of a life time. I wish everyone could experience this. The synpathy you have for the kids upon first sight... but then this overwelming feeling of love once you realize how rich these kids are in the things that matter the most like love, joy, and friendship.
-- Jessica Raper Click here for more of Jessica's impressions:
Vibrant colors, high altitude, Alpaca sweaters, and great Peruvian food.
Deep breaths, long sighs, a warm welcome, wide-open eyes.
A few hearts overflowing with love, a turquoise blue sky up above.
Tall green mountains, a colorful town square, white cotton clouds high up in the air…. Aahhh.
The sight and sounds of our 1st day in Cusco. - - Leanne Goldburg
Click here for more of Leanne's impressions
What an incredible time I have had so far and it is only my first day! The hogar is amazing, the children beautiful, loving, playful, and constantly smiling. We rang the bell to enter the hogar and a beautiful young woman opened the door. - - Blythe Brockway
Click here for more of Blythe's impressions
“The Monks surround and protect us like God's sentries and
for a time they hold our souls a little nearer to God, to Love.
Today every moment is complete, like no other has been before
or will be again.” - - Patti Hawn
Click here to see some of Patti’s impressions
folks gave me a priceless experience. It would be my pleasure
to send you as much video as I have pertaining to the week or
anything else I have mentioned for that matter.” - - Terry
Westerman, Kealakekua, Hawaii
Click here to see an excerpt from Terry’s journal
"I've done the packaged bus tour thing, and did enjoy it, but I was ready for something different. I'd like to express how wonderful it was to experience Thailand in this way. I felt I got so much deeper and closer to the culture. I have made life-long friends - whoever thought I would have ended up with regular email correspondance with Buddhist monks! And I have come to believe that the best way to make fast, real friendships is by working side by side with people on a project that benefits a needy community. I was overwhelmed by the gratitude that was expressed, and also in the great care (and even pampering!) that was showered on us as volunteers." - - Karen Hibbitt - Washington D.C.
Click here to see an excerpt from Karen's journal.
“Let's just say this--my life has changed because of this, but I am still a Catholic actor in LA. Just a more grateful one, and hopefully a little more enlightened. We shall see! I can't begin how to describe to y'all this experience. Travel always puts perspective on things and how much I appreciate our country, and you always learn about other cultures, but to have the experience we have had with a family is basically that works so hard to feed and take care of us, but calls us family and treats us that way; to live in such a basic, and let's face it, primitive environment but to really have everything you need; to get to see what Buddhist life is like (though we always have to ask, or they will never tell us about it!), but one that is non-exclusive with a lot to offer as a philosophy of life; to meet four other Americans who are such cool people and to make new friends in them. It really has been amazing, and it will take me a while to a long while to learn all I have learned from this. It's just hard to describe, but I feel truly blessed by this whole thing.” - - D. Patrick
Secret Recipe to Happiness
Add 5 american volunteers to a family of Mamee, Pee Jam, Pee Jap, and Pee Fiat. Add 7 wondurful, young Buddhist Monks. Let Simmer. Sprinkle in love, great food, amazing conversation, open hearts, and open minds, a few mosquitoes, and more laughter than you can imagine. Simmer for 7 days.
Result: One of the most amazing experiances of your life!
At Wat Pai Dam
Mom you’d die
If you saw
How cute the
Mini monks are
At this point
I’m sure you’re wondering
What the hell
She is thinking
To young children
She still thinks
Greenwich is pronounced
But here I am
Staring at me
No idea where to start
So I take just a moment
Ask his novice
Where they’re from
And the province
Has a map
And say’s I’ve gone there
What a fantastic place to visit
She’s so loving
I am sure
That she is wondering
How she’ll fit them
In her suitcase
And how much she just
Wants to hold them
So much fun with
Ha ha ha
Yes, that’s a pronoun
Colloquy is the in thing
He makes learning
So much fun
-- Robyn Liston
An Ode to Global Wednesday
The day starts out as always with the dawn’s morning light.
The Monks arrive at camp – to everyone’s delight.
We start the language training – one monk; one volunteer.
The monks speak el – o – quently; it is music to our ears.
We’re on to making candles, to give us evening light.
We got our wicks to stand up; to everyone’s delight.
Then comes – de – fol – i – ation, with axe and knife and saw.
The ladies show their muscles; the men look on in awe.
And then comes time for fishing; the strategy is set.
The fish are also plotting to elude our deadly net.
The crowds are sitting watching as we harken to the task.
One fisherman named Phii Chai feels a tickle near his ass.
Phii Ying’s bit by mosquitoes; Phii Yim is bit by ants.
Phii Chai is bit by fishies that are swimming in his pants.
The next day all are happy; they jump and sing and shout.
Because the menu says that we are having trouser trout.
I do feel that the work project is meaningful. I totally understood what the community is up against and how they are trying to solve the situation. I had plenty of free time. The food was always plentiful and delicious. The cabins looked like they would be a great place to stay. I chose to stay with Alvaro and his family in one of their spare rooms. It worked out great for me. From previous mission treks, I’ve already realized what a wasteful culture we live in and how everything is driven by financial gain. The people of El Sur are happy and grateful for what they have. I thoroughly enjoyed all the planned activities, especially playing soccer with the kids in the village. I will definitely do another volunteer vacation in the future. --Stephen Zeller
Today was a very long, (yet productive!) day. We finished making the bridge and it looks great. I was incredibly hungry right around lunch time and was pleasantly surprised when I was served fried chicken at Carmen’s house! It made me miss the fried chicken back at home. Everyone here in El Sur is just so friendly, always welcoming us with a warm smiling face. Every meal is a new adventure. I feel very comfortable with each family I encounter, and feel very at home. Before I left for Costa Rica, a few friends of mine said that the “ticos” are very friendly. They were right! It’s just great. Tonight we all made smores by the fire and sat around and talked. I was in absolute heaven! The chocolate was awesome with hazelnuts in it! Afterward, Ronald played the guitar and sang! It was a really mellow and relaxing night that brought everyone together. Everyday that passes is another chance to experience how different life can be. It’s an experience how different life can be. It is an experience that I am sure that I will remember! -- Amanda
Beginning at 6 am, 6 of us set out with Roy in a “bird watching” hike. The plan was to begin working on completing the bridge at 7 am that we had begun the day before. Our bird outing ended 3 hours later. Roy took us on some side trails and we saw a green parrot, a hummingbird, and 2 big beautiful light blue butterflies that flew along the stream. I was so hot that I emptied my pockets and dove in for an unscheduled, chilly, rejuvenating dip. We ended up at a secluded stream following a 30-minute decent along the side of a steep incline. On the way back up, the heat, humidity, and the muddy terrain left me panting and diaphonic. I pulled it together enough to complete the journey. What began as a leisure bird watching outing evolved into a battle against exhaustion. Bird watching was supplemented by obtaining sufficient oxygen on my personal priority list. There was the contrast of untouched natural beauty with stifling heat, traitorous footing, and heavy humidity. Once back from our morning stroll, it was back to work on the bridge. By noon, the final touches on the bridge were done and the highly needed “free time” was the reward. -- DEAN SANDIFER
This is Andrea. It’s been a long few days! So far, I’ve got a few great memories from this trip. The guy dancing in the bar and doing somersaults into the wall, hearing “Do you believe” by Cher blasting from one of the houses, the 3 puppies(so cute), pluse everyone I’ve met and befriended since I’ve been here.-- Andrea
Click here for more of Andrea's impressions
Hi it’s Hannah! We only have one full day left in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Lets ee, we’ve built bridges, milked cows, painted, taught English, learned Spanish, rode horses (and motorcycles), gone swimming, planted seedlings, danced, sang, ate, fed the dogs and bonded with the village people. It’s been a great experience meeting everyone and helping everyone. I also had a lot of fun walking and hanging out with my cabina friends! We spend most of our nighttime at the “bar”. We bought like half the store for only 500 colones. Last night me and Sarah ate ant Nena’s house, and a few times, bugs would get zapped and fall dead from the light onto the table. I’ve tried multiple fruit juices and some interesting food! -- Hannah Sandifer
This is the third week of mission work I’ve done so far this summer, and honestly, before I came to this trip I was not too excited about working in the hot sun for people I don’t know-with people that I don’t know-for the third time in 2 months. But not knowing people here is not at all the case. All the volunteers have gotten along fairly well and the Costa Ricans treat us all like family that hasn’t visited in a while. This trip has turned out to be better than what I had expected already, and we have several days to go. I cant say I just love all the new juices I’ve tried here, but the food itself is awesome. The work here isn’t unbearable because it’s only for a few hours in the (early) morning. The biggest surprise for me was that everyone here goes to bed around 9:00. That for me back home is just about the time to go out until curfew brings me back home! So it’s a little weird . I love the mountains because Florida has none what so ever! I don’t mind all the up hill treks, because I know after we leave it will be a really, really long time before I go up anything but stairs. And the first time I got bit by any sort of insect was this morning on our walk (more like journey) to the bat tree. And I don’t even wear bug repellent. I guess I have bad blood. Even though I speak minimal Spanish (Hola…como estas…that’s all) it doesn’t seem to be a major problem. Enough people speak a bit of English that there isn’t total silence in a conversation. Either that or Sarah help us out – she’s awesome by the way! I learned the necessary phrases: No habla espaniol, no encantado, ans no se once. Good stuff to know. I also learned that bug spray takes off nail polish – yet another great thing to know (just kidding like when am I going to need to know that?) Everything else I learned has been very useful, and the people I’ve met and befriended, I will never forget. -- Erin Sandifer
This is Steve. Today is Monday. It’s been raining since 4 O’clock this morning. It’s now 6:30 local time. The skies were lit up before the rain storm with light shows of lightning flashes. It’s peaceful with the steady rain, the birds are chirping away. -- Steve
Click here for more of Steve's impressions
Today now marks the second day of playing in poo, horse or cow, who knows. I’ve got to admit this is definitely a trip of new experiences. Never before have I mucked out stables, poured poo mixed with soil into Baggies, or milked a cow. -- Kayleigh Peters
Click here for more of Kayleigh's impressions
Today was my favorite day of the trip. We rose early for a long horseback ride. I had the one white horse. It took me a little bit to get used to riding. Lots of beautiful views. We ate lunch at a series of small cascades. The water was low. This must be beautiful at high water. After lunch we rode to a swimming hole with a small cascade that is deep with a nice current.
Then came the Rice Pudding Party. For me, this was the highlight of the week. As we were chatting on the porch with the kids, Jesus came by with rice pudding. Then many others followed. 3 had rice pudding, all a little different. They had this planned, but did not tell us. It seemed odd that they all brought pudding – same flavor. The spirit of their community was very evident. This was very welcoming and made me feel very much a part of their community. Toward the end of the party there was a full rainbow across the mountains. This was a great event. People sharing their culture, laughing and having fun together. Defiantly a moment of transcendence. -- OJ Robinson
"I participated in 2 different Globe Aware trips to Costa Rica. I work full-time so I cannot easily take 3 weeks off, so the timing was perfect. I felt the programs were so well organzied that not only were there activities set in place to help us bond with fellow volunteers and the community hosts, but also to contribute to the community projects quickly. I came away quite shocked that both 1) I was actually able to help and 2) that I felt the community and experience taught me more than vice versa. The lushness of the tropical rain forrest was exhilierating. How lucky this community is to live amidst those gorgeous waterfalls and scarlet mackaws! It was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. I think I'm now ready to try out some of the more exotic locales." - - Brenna Fizgerald - Dallas, Texas
I learned how people can be very happy and bright even when they don't have enough money or modern facilities. Second, I learned how to interact with strangers and know about their worries. Before I came to Costa Rica, I thought we were coming to a jungle. I could'nt imagine that a village like this would be formed in the middle of a rain forest. At first, I wondered why people chose to live in such a difficult enviroment. But now, I realize that compared to other Costa Rica cities, these people are having so much more tranquilities and beauty of the nature around them. With the purity and natural abundance of the rain forest, people have found their own way of leisure and survival. During this trip, I really enjoyed staying here, and I appreciate the love and care that the town people showed us.
--Lim Ji Young, Kent CT. (age 18) Click here for more of Ji's impressions:
It's bittersweet to be home.. can't wait to go back. My brother and I took over 700 pictures, and we're just going to filter out the blurry ones from the ones we really like. Once again we cannot express enough gratitude for the opportunity to serve in El Sur. We are beginning to plan the next time we will be able to travel back to the village because our experience was so moving. We'll be in touch...
--JuDonn Bishop, Eustace Preparatory School Group, New Jersey
At 5:00 am went to Arocelly to make Dulce. I stirred and turned
until the consistency was right. It is poured into molds that
are bull shape. The finished product is hard-formed brown sugar.
One of the uses of this is to mix with water called “Agua
Dulce” (sweet water). They would say to us “it’s
very good for you”. I ate at Alvero’s and had a beef
patty (like a sausage patty) with mashed potatoes, bowl of rice,
cabbage salad, papaya juice, and lentils.
We also saw Ronaldo’s beehives and walked to the top of the mountain to a sugar cane field, with a machete you pick out a yellowish one in color it is cut at the ground. It is then cleaned with the machete and keeps the green top part to stick back down into the ground to grow. They bring down with oxen and cart with water. We planted 10 different trees and made signs with the names they were given.
Roy, Mario, Crandell, and Juana took us to spear shrimp in the river. Wearing rubber boots, we are told to always walk in the river because of poisonous snakes. We used lights to spot shrimp eyes, which shine red….
Then get ready…
Spear the shrimp!! I loved the “spotting” job. We got 26 shrimp. Some looked like a lobster. We ate our shrimp on corn tortillas for Desayano (breakfast). - - Deborah Samuels
I am back from my trip, and what an amazing experience. I hope that everyone will do a trip like this at least once in their lifetime. I enjoyed it so much, I’m already thinking about doing another one next year. And if, AND WHEN, I have children, I want them to take part in trips like this as often as possible. It’s so important to know the world outside of the U.S.
- - Stephanie Whittemore Click here for more of Stephanie's impressions
Jacqueline Anders 9yrs old
Kara Anders 7yrs old
Rourke Anders 5yrs old
The people in my group made me realize the value of U.S. citizenship. Javier, Tonya and Carl are three of the best people I've had the opportunity to meet. My intent for this trip was to ready my children for life when they no longer have daily parental input or protections allowed to a minor. Javier, Tonya and Carl are a mother's dream team. I could not find more gracious, intelligent or compassionate people to engage my impressionable teenagers. --Jane Dugger
This trip was better than I ever imagined. I’m so glad we all got along so well and made a great new friend. Sharlene—thank you for all of your hard work! I will remember this trip forever. I had a really great trip with you both. I am feeling a bit sad that we now have to say good-bye to Sharlene, but I look forward to a reunion soon—sure to be another adventure! -- Love, Carmen Click here for more of Carmen's impressions
I had such an amazing trip – I am glad our group was small and cozy and made of fabulous women. I am so proud of the way we connected with the community—I think we made a really positive impact and I am so grateful for all that I learned from everyone in the community and from you! Sharlene, thank you for your leadership and all your translations and Spanish teaching you are such a warm and intelligent woman—I am so glad I got to know you. Carmen, you are the first person I would want to share this experience with—I admire you so much! -- xoxox Jeanie Morton, Canada Click here for more of Jeanie's impressions
Para Carmen Augustine, Sharlene Bagga, Jeanie Morton,
Bueno lo unica gue les puedo decir gue estoy muy conten to por haber conocido a unas chicas muy buenas y alegres. Espero gue nunca te olvides de tus amigos Carmen . Oscar y Mireya --Chau Mello, Oscar
Had such a nice fiesta last night, complete with Peruvian folk dancing and sticky marsh mellow goodbye kisses from the children. Hard to go with out thinking of coming back soon. We’re not sore from the walk. We will miss the good food and the beautiful people. We have exchange our email address with quite a few people and hopefully will not loose contact.-- Jeanie Morton and Carmen Augustine, Canada
I can't say enough how extremely fortunate I feel to have had the opportunity to volunteer in San Pedro de Casta. To be in such a remote village, close to the top of the world, and know that we contributed to the lives of the people there by painting a few houses, building two stoves, and teaching English, was a completely meaningful experience and I look forward to doing more of the same in my life. --
Tanya Villaneuve, NY
Click here for more of Tanya's impressions
When I stepped off the plane I was immediately planted on the beach! It was wonderful and beautiful! -- Teresha George, Dallas, TX Click here for more of Teresha's impressions
Hao was a very good coordinator and I think he did a great job organizing the accommodation/meals etc. My biggest fear about the program was that it would turn out to be like summer camp for adults and maybe because we were such a small group, and Hao included us all in decision making, I'm glad to say this didn’t happen. Vinh and Hung were incredible hosts - very generous with their time and anxious to make sure we had a good experience. I think we tried a different type of Vietnamese food at every meal. -- Lisa Ludvigson
Words are truly inadequate to express my appreciation and gratitude for your kindness while Susan and I were your guests in your beautiful country. I don't feel we could have found two better ambassadors than the two of you. You do your work very well. Thank you. Working with you in your schools was a true privilege. I will write again after I have caught up on my sleep and some of the issues that require my attention. So goodnight from America, and thank you again. I'll be in touch soon! My best to you both. --Cherri
Do you feel your work project was meaningful: Yes, I know we have impacted their life and Vinh drived very hard.
Tell us your thoughts about the accommodation and anything you’d like to change: Accommodations were fine, internet, a printer and some phones
Describe any surprises you learned about the culture you visited (I.e. can’t believe how much kids understand even when I don’t sign) I was impressed with the students, Attention span. They were so eager to work and learn. I could tell they have a higher capacity than we were prepared for. I also was impressed with teachers eagerness to observe and learn from us.
What did you like the most on the program: The variety of situations we experienced
--Ms. Susan D’Alessandro
Do you feel your work project was meaningful: Yes, It was heart warming and I hope made an impact
Do you feel you had enough free time: Yes
Did you like the food and did you get enough? Yes and yes!
Tell us your thoughts about the accommodation and anything you’d like to change: Very adequate and the owners were very gracious
Did this program change how you view your own culture, and if so, how? Yes- I have excessive advantages
Describe any surprises you learned about the culture you visited (I.e. can’t believe how much kids understand even when I don’t sign) It is a universal truth that boys are mischievous and girls are attentive and orderly! I was impressed with the beautiful penmanship of the teachers and some of the students; also impressed by the match problems I saw at the first school.
What did you like the most on the program: The smile and eagersness of the children! --Cherri McKenzie
I really feel like I had the opportunity to discover DaNang and Hoi An. Vinh took me hiking and introduced me to the town and beach. I had plenty of time to have lots of clothes made, enjoy the beach (which is extremely beautiful and I live in S. California!) and visit whatever sights I was interested in. I am pesco-vegetarian so some of the most popular dishes I am not able to eat however, I really enjoyed the dishes I could eat and there were plenty of western influenced resturants for those who don’t enjoy the food. I am pesco-vegetarian so some of the most popular dishes I am not able to eat however, I really enjoyed the dishes I could eat and there were plenty of western influenced resturants for those who don’t enjoy the food. I visited with not much expectation on the culture. I was surprised at how much western culture had been embraced. I found the culture to be rich with tradition however, starting to enjoy some of the styles and technology brought in by other cultures. I was surprised at how many people knew or could understand a little english. English is so different from their native language I was very impressed and embarrassed by my lack of understanding of Vietnamese. Vinh and Hung were amazing hosts! They were very flexible and always let me choose what we would do. You could tell that they really enjoyed their jobs and were excited to share other projects and tell stories about volunteers from other areas in the world! --Summer 2007
August 17, 2006
I am currently in Luang Prabang in Laos with an organization called Globe Aware. This week has been truly spectacular and fulfilling. I have been keeping a journal and taking lots of pictures, so once I return, I will post all of that here. For now, just a quick hello before I am off to help teach English to some of the Novice Monks in the town (really!)..... --Rachel Toyen
March 15, 2006
Today we went to a nearby village, located down the Mekong River about 20 minutes from Luang Prabang by slow boat. We had our local person, a university teacher with us to help with translation and getting around. Contrary to the appointments from earlier in the week where we got started 30-60 minutes after the agreed upon time (aka “Laotian time”) she arrived 5 minutes early and surprised us both with her punctuality.
Our first visit was to the north school situated at the far end of the village where the boat was docked. Walking through the village and seeing thatched huts on stilts, chickens, half starved dogs, and little children running around made me feel like I was in a time warp. There were no organized streets or neighborhoods, but rather “houses” built anywhere there was a spare scrap of land.
When we got to the school, the children were excited to see foreigners and started gigglingand watching us with cuious glances. We bought textbooks for each class and handed them out –one book per two children. They were polite and grateful to be receiving anything, let alone a textbook, that each one said “Kop Chai” (Thank-you) to us. It was all at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. The teachers and principal were just as greatful and said, as translated by our local host, that they wished us many blessings even though they had nothing to give us to thank us. The humility and gratefulness of the people of that entire school really impacted me.
Our next visit was to the south school, a 10 minute boat ride down the river. The south village was even more primitive than the north. We arrived and went to the building where the community events take place. The village elders had prepared us an elaborate thank-you ceremony for us for providing the text-books for the children. The elder women and men said Buddhist prayers and gave us blessings by tying white strings around our wrists. I had at least 20 on each hand and the appreciation of our gifts was once again overwhelming. I felt like I was royalty. They even made a special lunch for us, made by one of the women of the village. We went home a while later since school had apparently been cancelled for the afternoon.
March 16, 2006
We returned to the south school this morning to drop off small gifts and English books to the children. They quickly assembled in the classroom and were talking and giggling before we arrived. The moment we entered the room and greeted them with “Sabai dee” (Good Morning), they all stood up as if at attention and put their hands together in prayer pose. The faces of the children lit up when we gave them gifts and we taught them to sing “Happy Birthday”. Their smiles were precious and I was having a hard time keeping my composure as I noticed their uniforms were torn in multiple places and brown with dirt. I wondered when the last time was that any of their pants or shirts had been washed. I wondered when any of the children had bathed last. Their arms and faces were dirty with dust and their fingernails black with dirt underneath.
What was being used as a classroom was pitiful. No lights, no fans to circulate air – This was because there was no electricity. The doors, tables, and benches made of wood were so old they would probably crumble or break if someone kicked them. Despite these poor conditions the children were laughing and acting curious. I won’t be forgetting their smiles anytime soon. --Kay Chitale
In the future, you will be able to post your photos from your Globe Aware programs here on the website for free, by posting your URL link from www.ofoto.com.
April 18th, 2008
I am so grateful and fortunate to have had the opportunity to go on this trip. It was life changing, life altering and one of the most valuable experiences of my life. Of course I am now seriously considering doing this kind of thing for the rest of my life as a "full time job". I will never forget it and I will never fully recover from the mind-blowing experience this trip was. I loved every single minute. It was great to have a small group of 4 people, because each of us got to know one another really well, and it made the experience that much more powerful. We all agreed we couldn't imagine doing it with a larger group. It was intimate and deep because of the smallness of our team, and gave us each the opportunity to connect with Dine and have a chance to personally learn from him. Thank you for all of your hard work ensuring this trip was more magical than I ever, ever imagined. --Elizabeth Kiester
August 4, 2006
Today we met the recipients of the wheelchairs our group built earlier in the week. One was a woman now in her mid-40s who had contracted polio about a dozen years ago. She couldn’t walk but could move around on her hands with amazing efficiency. I was walking around taking pictures, when she came over to me and started pointing at herself and at me and at an infant being held by a someone across the room. I couldn’t figure out what she wanted or what her connection to the baby was. Grandmother? Aunt? She vaulted herself into the wheelchair and kept beckoning to me and speaking in Khmer. I finally understood that she wanted me to take a picture of the baby. I learned from the APDO staff that the woman (the “lady in red,” we called her) had desperately wanted a child and, against the odds, had finally had one. I think it’s glib to say that people all over the world are the same, because we – especially we privileged Americans – are separated by all kinds of boundaries and differences. But recognizing the fierce pride and love in her face as she watched her daughter, and knowing that I feel exactly the same emotions about my own 16-year-old daughter – well, culture and difference just melted right away. --Barbara Presley-Noble - Click here for pictures.
This trip has been amazing in so many ways! The first thing that I noticed about Cambodia was how comfortable I felt. As soon as I got here I wanted to walk around and see everything and I think I felt so comfortable because of the people – they are so warm and their faces are so open. I work for a technology company and have many associates that work for me that get excited about the little things. When we release new products, they giggle and laugh just like the children did when I showed them my digital camera and ipod. It was a way to connect with them without using words. I won’t forget that new excitement. --Erica Anderson
Before we started teaching I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea what they were going to ask me, and 17, if they would even accept me as their teacher, especially since I am younger than about 90% of the students! However things were made remarkably easier by two things: firstly the fact that we had a book to teach from, and secondly because of the students incredible want to learn! Although they were shy at first, by the end of class they were calling out answers and reading out-loud at the front of the classroom.
They clearly wanted to learn English if they were willing to come to this school in the rain everyday! However, my favorite part of teaching was having the students ask me individual questions. It took some prodding in the beginning, but eventually everyone, (including the monks) were asking me about my home life, my family, and they even asked me to simply read from a list of words. What felt most rewarding was being able to answer their questions and the looks on their faces when I did. --Kate
July 31, 2006
We visited the micro-library in a small village several kilometers outside of Siem Reap. A lovely 18 year old teacher. As word spread that visitors (foreigners!) were at the library, more & more kids ran to the library; first peeking through the bars on the windows, then slowly inching their way in. The little boy shown here was a star reader of the group, tearing through this book. Erica brought out her digital camera and giggling all around as they saw their own pictures – then even took their own. Then, the ipod was revealed and Apple could not have asked for a better reception. The visit ended with group photos in front on the library – the boys standing far from the girls. Some things are universal across cultures. In all, a wonderful visit. --Elizabeth McNamara
The cultural experience in Cambodia has been a journey through an unknown world to me. Beautiful and terrible. Pain plays an essential function, it gives us something in which to measure our joy. Understanding sadness means we know how to laugh. I am grateful to my entire group for our experience. --Nicole Gabriel