I wish to relate how life has been at the Leadership Center for the last three months. I have to say that it hasn’t been so easy, for each stage in life comes with its difficulties. However, we also have the opportunity to see these difficulties as adventures from which we can learn something new each day, and from every thing that happens, no matter how small it may be.
The first days here we had to learn to adapt to this new place with new people, as well as to a way of life that is a bit different than where we come from. But when you meet the people here, you see the compassion in their hears. I’m not only talking about the directors of the institution, but also about each and every one of the volunteers and each of the girls that are here at the center.
When we arrived here, we were received with kindness. We were shown the facilities and our respective dormitories. Later, we talked about the class schedule and each of the rules—of which there are few—was explained to us. These rules help us to better ourselves in each aspect of our character as leaders.
To give you a better idea of life here, these are some of the experiences we have had:
Our first teachers were super fun because they looked for fun ways and techniques to teach us. During that time we did many fun things such as:
Building bonfires: In the evening we would light a fire and eat smores and sometimes have soda or milk. We told jokes and listened to music and some of the girls would dance. We also celebrated some birthdays with small parties with piñatas and fun games.
We also have watched many movies. We like to go to the river because it is very close by and some of the students are even learning to swim! Every Wednesday is Baleada Day. We are always excited for Wednesdays because everyone loves Baleadas.
In addition, within the past three months we had our first group presentation. We worked as a team to create a successful political campaign. Each candidate and her team had to describe their slogan, platform, and publicity. And then our respective groups arranged to explain the work we had done. The teachers evaluated our performance in each one of the categories. Despite it being our first presentation they told us that we had done a good job.
For Thanksgiving we made cards for each one of the volunteers in art class in which we wrote how each one of them are such good people, teachers, and friends. We exchanged the cards at dinner, which was, of course, very delicious.
Another thing was that with the help of some of the volunteers we were able to act in a play. Two of the volunteers wrote it, and each character in the play had traits that corresponded to our own personalities. When they gave us the first page we didn’t know what they were trying to do. We thought the play was only to help us with our pronunciation, but as we continued to read the following pages over the next couple of days we began to understand what the volunteers were trying to do. Like I said, it was a play that we presented to many people, including ones from the community. We performed the play in both Spanish and English and we were quite nervous. We did learn a lot about pronouncing and performing in front of people, but most of all we learned how to have fun while learning.
Now I will tell you about the community events we have organized. I have a lot of ideas about how to help the local communities by offering information about important themes that can improve their quality of life.
The most recent event was a movie, but first we had to plan each part of the event. We looked for a schedule that would be accessible for the community members and us girls. We personally delivered the invitations to each one of the members of the villages. We had to find the most adequate place to show the movies, and since it was a movie it had to be somewhere dark. We covered the windows of one of the classrooms so the movie would look good in there, we placed chairs in the room, we installed the projector to make a big movie screen, we prepared a snack, and we also made a place for the children where they could watch a kids movie. We decided to show the adults Mrs. Doubtfire, and the children Shrek.
When the day arrived, we already had made everything ready but the weather was not favoring us. It was cloudy and a little rainy and windy, and we were worried that we would not be able to have the event. But around 11 o’clock, right before midday, the weather changed totally. The sky turned clear and the sun was bright so that when the time for the event arrived we were all ready when the people began to arrive. We started with some words of welcome in which we told them to make themselves comfortable and positioned to enjoy the movie. Then we handed out snacks to help with the enjoyment of the movie like in a theater. When the movie finished, we imparted a small reflection about the message of the movie and how it could apply to our lives. We said that sometimes we don’t value what we have until we lose it, and then it is hard to get it back. Sometimes even, we cannot ever recover what we have lost and it is important to be thankful for what we do have.
To finish I want to say that during the time we have spent here we have learned many things, we have cried, we have laughed, we have played, and much more. But the most important thing is that we have grown as people and we are successfully establishing within ourselves the character of a leader.