When sitting down to think of potential holiday destinations, there are a bunch of locations that come to mind. Colombia, however, tends not to be one that you consider right away. So, when myself and ‘the Laurens’ got the offer to go there this summer – I had genuinely no idea what to expect.
The whole experience was an adventure from the word go, beginning at Heathrow: with myself and Lauren L making the 21 hour journey to South America. Between delays, panicked confusion and lost luggage – Lauren and I were starting to feel like we weren’t quite cut out for this whole being an adult business. Quickly though, the craziness of travelling became irrelevant once we joined Lauren Mc in Bogotá and we started to get settled in. We quickly discovered the the beauty of Colombian culture, the stunning views, delicious food and grappled with communicating in Spanish (which wasn’t our strong suit).
Working with Co School Colombia
We got the opportunity to spend the first week planning and collaborating with Co-School, the Colombian organisation we’re working with, that taught us a great deal about the context we were working in and motivated us with ideas to bring back to the UK.
Our aim – to help young people in Colombia and develop our 5 outcomes in a way that is relevant to them and their environment. Between us we then delivered a mixture of ‘Who am I’ sessions and Heroes training in three bi-lingual schools across Bogata.
We were blown away by the young people there!
While this wasn’t the first time HU has been to Colombia, it was the first time the heroes journey had been run there – making it a very special experience. While the context was completely different to the schools we work in on a regular basis in the UK – the experience was a massive reminder that the honesty, bravery and compassion of young people is truly universal.
Myself and Lauren L got a brilliant chance to explore outside of Bogota – we spent a day in an area called Yumbo, which was such a stark difference to the world that we’d seen in the capital. There was a massive contrast in terms of quality of life and the level of poverty that existed in Yumbo – to then meet young people in schools there, with so much passion and love to give, was truly humbling.
And it wasn’t all hard work! Our journey continued to the coastal area of Cali, beautiful & warm, along with our host to ‘Pertronio’ – a four-day music festival showcasing all kinds of pacific music. Cali is known as the ‘salsa capital of the world’ – so while neither of us are particularly great dancers, we were eager to find out what the hype was all about. Needless to say we were not disappointed – the music was immersive and the atmosphere was incredible…not to mention we (somewhat) mastered the art of salsa.
The month went by in a blur, but allowed us to return feeling energised, having learnt a great deal from the wonderful people we’d met and the things we’d witnessed and been a part of.
All of the potential opportunities to come are massively exciting …watch this space!