Thursday, February 25, 2016

Colombia Post Trip #5- The people of Brisas

When I'm reflecting on my trip and browsing through my photos, which I do pretty often in a day, I smile.
 The people of Brisas del Mar have left an impact on my heart. My team has left a mark in my life forever. The next few posts I want to share about all the people.
  It's hard to know where to begin, because just as is the case with the experiences, the people have become part of my life story, but putting words to those moments is a challenge. However, I want to try to give you a glimpse of their little village and of their beautiful hearts.

 I was amazed at how well they all communicated to our team members without knowing English, and the same with the team communicating with them. Everyone would use a few broken words here and there and a lot of hand motions. Michael (the team leader) had said prior to the trip, that it didn't matter that the team couldn't speak their language because the language of love is universal. But, I'm getting ahead of myself because that's a whole different blog.
  What I'm wanting to say is that even with a language barrier, communication was still fairly efficient. That being said, I must be honest and share with you that for me, speaking with them in their language was meaningful to me. I loved being able to have deeper conversations with them. And because of this, I left with friendships that will forever be part of my journey.
 The youth did a lot to help us. They would rally the children, they would go out into the village and tell them about all of our activities, they would help explain the games to individual groups because we could only translate in so many places. But I connected with one girl in particular: Mileth.
  On my first day there, as I said, we went to a funeral. While that was an interesting experience to say the least, I walked most of that dusty road with Mileth, and we chatted. She wants to be a translator one day.... similar to my own heartbeat. That walk connected us the rest of the trip. She would explain something to me when I wouldn't understand. She tried her best to teach me to dance (a lost cause and she would giggle at my attempts, but hey, at least I tried!) We sat together on a few occasions writing in her notebook phrases she wanted to learn in English and I would teach her and have her repeat them. I don't know if that'll stick, but I hope so. She is spunky and fun but has a huge heart for others. We exchanged letters at the end of the trip, and I carry her letter around with me. (cheesy, perhaps, but it really meant a lot to me...if you haven't figured out yet, words/writing/letters tend to be how I process and something I love!)So much could be said about this young lady, whom I came to love dearly.
Me and Mileth

My last day in Brisas with Mileth

 Juan.... Juan is a cool guy. He's in his 50s, so he has seen a lot of life take place in his little village. He wears the wrinkles of a wise person, whose heart is eager to serve and to be around the people. He was very animated with his hands and even his expressions. He smiled a lot, and man, could he swing  a pick and break up that dirt unlike any of us. He wore his thin flip flops in the dirt, but smiled while he worked away. He wasn't asked to be there, he chose to work with us. He would sit off to the side and keep watch on the tools while we would all move on to the next thing. Juan was always mingling with someone. You can tell people there love him; we certainly did.
 He worked so hard. We had fun swapping words- he wanted to know what Brisas del Mar meant (translates as sea breeze, or also can be said as ocean breeze), and then he would articulate the English word over and over so as to engrain it in his mind. He'd smile and nod at our work, but there were a few occassions when I'm certain he was thinking "These crazy gringos don't know what they're doing...." but he was too kind to ever say it. He'd simply quietly get in the hole we were digging and redo something, letting us know we needed to adjust our method. The deeper we got, we found a rotation. Eric would pick, I would shovel, Jon (our construction leader) would pick again and then Juan would shovel. Paula, Gil, James and Michael took some turns in the hole as well with Juan. He likes baseball and could rattle off most of the American teams to us. He told us a story about how he learned to play and then came back and taught others when he was younger. Juan had a heart of love.

Tres Amigos, standing in the hole. Eric, Juan, Me.

Christian. This guy has a heart of gold. He was always smiling, always eager to jump in anywhere needed when he was free to do so. There was one day, he and I were shoveling in one area together and we got talking. Let me tell you that when he asked me what my job in the US is, trying to explain working for a marathon was not easy. I explained it, but I still think he was confused- and not for my lack of speaking, but because that type of thing is pretty foreign and odd to them. In the end I just said I do logistics. That was the easiest way to put comprehension to it. We talked about our different climates and how they do celcius and we use farenheit. I learned some new words in that conversation (In Colombia all the math is different- we use F they use C, we use feet, they use meters, we use dollars, they use if I am not bad at math already, I had to strain my brain or rely on Pastor Ed's conversions of numbers to get me through!) Christian brought smiles to everyone he was around. I didn't spend a lot of time with him, but he touched me in ways he'll probably never know. He's studying to be a teacher, and he works in the school. It's clear he has a heart for his village.
Me, Christian, Paula

This little girl, I don't know her name... but on a few occasions she followed me around and would hug on me constantly. I love this picture... it captures her and really the village in general because they love unconditionally. I'm sure they have their petty sibling or normal teenage rivalries, but to me, to our team, they defined love. This girl will leave that imprint on me always.

 There are plenty more people stories to come... I am so thankful I got to meet these people.


  1. The people (like you!) that I meet on my travels always hold the greatest & fondest place in my heart!

  2. You are too sweet... but I have to say that I love looking back and seeing how God weaves all kinds of people into and through our lives. Some become a bigger part, some here and there. But all the same, part of our journey. Like you. And like the people of Brisas. And I'm sure many more to come...