cover of Shari's book
sneak peak at the cover of Shari's book....soon to be published...stay tuned.
Indeed. It’s hard to believe that well over a year has passed since we returned from our four month family volunteer trip to Ecuador and Peru.
When we returned to Oregon, the girls fell back into their school routine, summer time fun, and then another academic year. Andy and I spent the summer months working on our TESOL and TEYL certifications, and then began volunteering teaching English with our local community college. We resumed our lives back at our respective jobs and all was good – but not exactly.
Lots of restlessness and thinking about what we had done and what we might like to do in the future. Late last fall, we read about a culture and teaching assistant grant program in Spain. We decided to apply for the North American Culture and Teaching Assistant grant. The application process itself wasn’t too difficult, but did involve gathering a lot of documentation about: college transcripts, letters of reference, letters of intent, medical certificate of good health, local police background check (to be superseded by a FBI criminal background check), copies of our passport and….I think that’s about it.
The acceptance into the program process and acquisition of the visa process – that’s another story to be told. A friend told me that “the Spanish love their bureaucracy” and indeed – that seems to be the case. Nonetheless, at the end of April 2011, we were formally accepted into the grant program. While we did tell some folks about it and began making plans for our “one year abroad”, the biggest hurdle was yet to come. In order to stay in Spain for longer than 90-days, we needed to have our visas (student visas). The student visas allow us to get an identification number and a temporary residency card.
The student visas arrived on June 30th – and so now we are confident in our trip plans and have begun the makings of a new blog:
You can follow our travels there. The blog will also be uploaded to our facebook page.
Oh yes – there is other news to report. One year from the day we began our family volunteer trip to Ecuador and Peru, I started reflecting on that experience. What started as a multi-page journal entry quickly turned into thousands and thousands of words on the computer. One month and well over 20,000 words later, I was wondering whether I might have the makings of a book about our experience. Multiple iterations, reviews from family and friends later – it looks like I have a book nearly ready to be published: “It all started with my daughter, Marleigh, and her quest to help. She was seven years old. It was in late August, 2008, and we were staying in a hotel in Coban, Guatemala with just a couple more days left of our three-week journey. “Mommy, why are people here so poor?” she asked.
I answered with my adult response, “Oh, it’s such a complicated answer, sweetie.” She interrupted, “Mommy, we need to help.”
“Okay,” I said, “What do you think we should do to help?” I was thinking she would say something like, we can give them money.
Instead, she said, “I know how we can help. Everyone here grows corn. We need to teach them how to grow something they don’t already have…like…like…like Brussels sprouts. Yes, we need to show farmers here how to grow Brussels sprouts, because there’s none here.”
Aside from the thought that I wasn’t certain Brussels sprouts was the answer to addressing poverty in Guatemala, I was stunned by her insight, and of her genuine concern and desire to find a way to help.”
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