Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coming Back For More!

            Weeks ago we hosted four different groups of spring break volunteers.   One of the most rewarding aspects of working here in Ecuador for MPI is to see how this experience can affect the individuals on the trip, even after their service work is completed.  Luckily for us, we have more volunteers coming in the summer months. 
Morgan Lowery was the trip leader for UGA’s spring service trip and decided that one week with MPI Ecuador was not sufficient.  That is why we will be seeing her again come May as a Summer Intern.  Please read her blog below to see how the experience here with MPI has brought her back for more!

After our frigid plunge from the waterfall at Molinuco.
The UGA group with brand new signs!
 Making plans for breaks from school may seem like a fairly simple task, but it can be somewhat difficult with the many choices now available to students.  When spring break comes around you’re expected to go to the beach and soak up the UV rays and possibly engage in some questionable behavior.  Up next is the all important summer break.  Summer plans are perhaps my least favorite to make.  There is the constant pressure from your parents and advisor to do something that relates to your major and what you’ll be doing the rest of your life or to get ahead by getting those lower level classes out of the way.  So you could listen to what everyone tells you and do the “right” thing or you could do something way more rewarding like I did over spring break and will be doing this summer.
            What did I do for my breaks you may ask?  Well, thankfully, making plans for spring break were much easier than they have been in the past.  Having been on a spring break trip to MPI Guatemala the previous year, I applied to be a trip leader for the Ecuador spring break trip, and, much to my excitement, I got it!  So I spent my spring break in Ecuador along with seven other girls from UGA helping the MPI with the advertising they do for the community center.  With the money we raised we were able to buy and a brand new, professionally made sign to go outside of the community center and refurbish other signs advertising the programs offered by the center.  While we weren’t working on our group project we were helping with the programs like English classes, art classes, and hanging out in the teen center. 
            One experience I had that I found interesting was the adult English class I sat in on. To me, a three-hour class is enough to make me have second thoughts, not to mention it was on Saturday morning.  However, I’ve never seen a more eager to learn group of people.  The adults that attend English classes come on their own accord and take time out of their day to study all in addition to their jobs and taking care of their families.  This was truly inspiring to me because it’s a serious struggle for me to make it to my classes while being a student is the only job I have.  The people that attend the class don’t come because someone else requires them to, but because they see it as a chance to make a better life for themselves and their families.  It’s hard for me to picture myself tacking on another 5 or so hour commitment to my already hectic schedule that might slightly increase my chances of getting into graduate school.  It was cool to see that MPI doesn’t force the help they offer onto the community they serve.  The people of the community want to change their lives as well and they are willing to work for it.  I could really see the idea of sustainable change at work.  This is just one of the many reasons I love MPI and the people it serves. 
            This experience along with many others is why I decided to return to Ecuador for a four-week summer internship with MPI.  I don’t know what exactly I will be doing yet, but I know whatever it is it will be something truly worthwhile and life changing for both the people of the community and me.  In addition to the work I’ll be doing, I can’t wait to experience more of the Ecuadorian culture and spending more time with the MPI team.  I can confidently say that this summer will be one to remember, but hopefully I won’t be slowed down by food poisoning this time.  It’ll be okay if I do though, because, as we proved over spring break, no one knows how to rally better than a UGA student.

So on that note I’ll say goodbye and go dawgs!  Hopefully you all will be hearing from me again sometime soon!


If you or someone you know is interested in spending a week, a month, or a whole year working with MPI Ecuador, please visit the home website for more information about getting involved, applying for the Program Director position, and much more!

As always, thank you for checking in!
All the best,

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