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Eli Becker

My time in Malingua Pamba was incredibly meaningful. When I showed up, I was immediately welcomed in by the Sacatoro family.  By the end of our first dinner together, I already felt like another member of the family. I have done lots of traveling and volunteering in various communities, but this was the most total immersion into a different culture that I have experienced. The people there live simply and authentically as a part of the land around them, finding a perfect harmony with their environment. They are happy. They maintain the strong bond that keeps communities together. Everyone in the village pulls their weight and helps each other out. I was particularly inspired by the way that the mothers sit for hours preparing food and discussing the town's affairs, the way that even the very old go out to work in the fields and tend to the animals, the way that the children take on household chores, and the way that everything in the community is shared amongst the collective group. These are things that we don't see nearly as much of in our modern western world. Still, the world is changing and the people of Malingua Pamba want to grow and change with it. They had a genuine curiosity about my modern life and about ways that their community could change for the better. They are so grateful to Pamelita, and all the volunteers who have come through town to try and help them. I have no doubt, that as they change, they will keep the values of strong community that have allowed their ancestors to survive there for thousands of years. The main thing I was left with after my experience, was not that they need our help, but how much we can learn from their way of life. I know I got more out of my time there than I could ever give back to them, but I am grateful that Centro Educativo La Minga is there to help make their lives a little better and encourage a interchange of ideas between our cultures.



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