We started the day off by going to the Fanny Mikey school in Ciudad Bolivar. This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Bogotá. As we were walking into the school, the students welcomed us with a flash mob. This is the second day in a row we’ve had an outstanding welcome from the students that almost brought us all to tears because we were so honored by it. The student leaders from the school gave us all a tour of the building and we met a lot of students. We then broke off into two groups: one learned how to dance and the other learned how to play a local sport. Some of the students taught us how to dance the salsa, we had a lot of fun even though we weren’t that great at it. At the same time, the other group was outside learning how to play Golombiao, which is a sport that the students created on their own. It was easy for us to learn how to play because it’s very similar to soccer.
We joined back up and met with some of the student leaders at the school. We got to hear their stories including their life before the YMCA, their time here, and how the YMCA has changed them for the better. Hearing their stories was very inspiring to all of us. Before we left, everyone met up outside in a big circle. Here we reflected on our day, talked about what we learned, and we left advice for the students there. Springfield students mentioned how grateful we were to be here and we said our goodbyes.
After leaving the school, we took the bus to the Botanical Gardens of Bogotá. We had lunch, walked around and had our group reflection inside the garden. We talked about our day, what we learned and compared and contrast our visit to Monday’s, and things we want to improve in our future visits.
Then we came back to the hotel where we listened to a presentation from Alveiro Valencia who is the general secretary (President) from the YMCA Colombia. He gave us a lot of information about the YMCA here and invited us all back. We were all very excited to know that if we ever wanted to come back, they would offer us a job.
After the presentation, we went to dinner at Patacones which served traditional food on a plantain bed. We also had dessert and sang happy birthday to Jackie. (Happy birthday Jackie!!!)
By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all exhausted but it was worth it because we had a great day!
Thank you to Ashley Pilling and Chris Tringalli for the update!