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​Paige’s Malingua Reflection

“I want to stay here,” I say as we were leaving the small community of Malingua Pumba. This little community was just so accepting of all of us foreigners.  They never take things for granted; instead, they cherish even the smallest details of the world. Just seeing everyone be so grateful for what they had gave me a new perspective on life. I look at the beauty of the mountains differently, I look at my horse as a strong, spirited animal, and I have learned to keep my arms wide open for new friends to come into my life. The boys in Malingua played so much futball (soccer) and they always invited me to play with them. Though boys and girls rarely played with each other, my biggest accomplishment was getting a group of thirty kids of both genders and of all ages to play duck, duck goose. We taught each other different dances and different words in Spanish, English and Queechuah. I did have to change my name to Sofia because they just couldn’t pronounce Paige. The kids and adults loved bubbles! The toddlers at first were scared of them but then soon learned how to pop them. They also loved chalk and Frisbees. Everyone was just so willing to learn English and where I was from. And though my Spanish was quite choppy at the beginning, they didn’t care. Instead, they would help me learn by correcting my mistakes and speaking slowly so that I could understand them. Everything that I say just doesn’t do Malingua justice. When I think about Malingua, I think about the warm feeling that I got when they took time out of their day to greet us. I think about that feeling of acceptance as the kids welcomed me into their home and into their games. During my experience in Malingua, I learned how to be comfortable in my own skin.  The kids in Malingua taught me the true meaning of being proud of who I am..​

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