The first one I went to was the kindergarten and soup kitchen in Barracas. This project is both a school for neighborhood children and a soup kitchen for those in the neighborhood who are unable to feed themselves. The school is filled with lively and enthusiastic children and dedicated teachers while the kitchen is full of extremely hard working women committed to making tasty and wholesome food for both the people in the community and the children at the school, who are fed by the kitchen everyday.
The second project I went to was in Pacheco. Located an hour bus ride outside of the city, the project is a small farm school co-op designed for university aged people in the local communities. The program has mandatory classes every saturday where the students learn various different things in relation to farming, and it is also expected for students to come one afternoon during the week to practice what they are learning on the farm and in the greenhouse.
While seeing both of these projects was absolutely amazing, it was talking to the people involved that had the biggest impression on me. When discussing the projects with the women that created them, they each, individually of each other, talked about the dynamic of the neighborhoods surrounding the projects. They both work extremely hard to build relationships with the entirety of the communities they work in, and just want the best for their students and people. Lucy, the woman who started the soup kitchen and kindergarten, told us in an interview that she hopes eventually her students won’t come back, because that would mean they had moved on to better places, and that is all she wants from them.
All in all, my first impression of Voluntario Global and the people they work with is that they are all amazing, inspiring, dedicated, and caring people, and I could not be more excited to spend the next two months with them.