Following the Fellows

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By Alagra Bass

They asked what characteristic I admired in others, but didn’t possess. I responded, “confidence.” Seven months later, I still wonder if the committee sent me to Estero de Plátano, Ecuador, under the Yanapuma Foundation, because they knew I would gain that very skill.

With every project we do for the community, I realize I’m not just attempting to help others, but that I am also bettering myself.

Coming into this experience, I did not know what to expect. No matter how much we tried, we wouldn’t be prepared. It’s just one of those kinds of experiences.

Only after both integrating and getting the community on our side could we ever begin to support Estero.

Throughout my time here, we have affected this community—by adding a computer center, supporting scholarship students, teaching elementary school classes, advising a cooking cooperative, beginning a college fund, creating a cookbook, adding recreation for youth and starting a Zumba-like fitness course.

It’s hard to explain because this experience represents many feelings wrapped in one, many contradictions crossing each other incomprehensibly. However, I am confident I will leave a better version of myself and that Estero will be better too. For a more complete idea, read my blog AlegriaEnEcuador.tumblr.com and attend spring presentations.

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