The Service of Living
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The Service of Living

A few times a year, groups of students from the United States visit Chulucanas for weeklong service trips. Usually, on their first night in Chulucanas my community members and I reflect with them on their initial impressions of the city. We are always eager to hear the students’ observations—after living here for almost 7 months,...

Forever Pleasantly Surprised
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Forever Pleasantly Surprised

Sticking my head out of Consultorio 1, a simple cinderblock room with a small wooden desk, floor lamp and bed where Doctor Tom has been seeing countless patients over the past few days, I see a scene of volunteers in green vests shuffling patients around. I see kids squealing in delight as they play with...

What I Learned During My Volunteer Year
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What I Learned During My Volunteer Year

It is nearly impossible to sum up ten-months of your life in one blog post, especially when those ten-months involved moving across the country, starting a new job, and meeting tons of new people. Well here is my attempt: Doing a volunteer year is unlike any other year of your life, and unlike any other...

A New Standard for Success
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A New Standard for Success

I have always thought of myself as being decently successful, but when you get thrown into a foreign context (literally), that standard for success kind of goes out the window.  Part of my job as the AV for the Diocese of Chulucanas Health Office is to accompany patients to the hospital, sometimes here in Chulucanas...

Little Kids, Little Things
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Little Kids, Little Things

“Mr. O! Mr. O! I was ra ra running to tag Sarah, and Billy pushed me!” -Johnny “Why did Billy push you, Johnny?” –Me “I don’t knowwwww” -Billy “Billy, did you push Johnny on purpose?” -Me “Noooo!” -Billy “Are you sure?” -Me “Johnny is always laughing at me in class!” –Billy “Yeah ’cause you laughed...

Freeways, Flights, Faith & Thirty Second Dance Parties
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Freeways, Flights, Faith & Thirty Second Dance Parties

I look like a fool here, sitting in the middle of this tucked-away coffee shop, counting upon my fingers numbers that are probably better reserved for calculators. But the final count is two-hundred and twenty eight. That is the number of days that it has been since I and my community have moved out here...

Camden
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Camden

Blessed Oscar Romero said “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” In volunteering at Merrimack College there are many opportunities to step outside of yourself and really be present to the students you are serving. This past week I was able to serve alongside twelve students and another advisor for an Alternative Spring...

An Avocado
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An Avocado

One of my favorite YouTube videos is a dad giving his son an avocado as a gift. If you have never seen this video, it is a quick watch and the link is at the end of this post. I am sure the dad thought his son was going to be extremely disappointed with the...

A Bittersweet Symphony
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A Bittersweet Symphony

How do you find God in greed, hurt and pain?  When people go without and have nothing?  When people mistreat the system that is built to help them?  In mental illness?  In a community that is either ill-informed or ignoring a housing crisis? This is the bittersweet struggle I go through at HELP of Ojai....

Home Is Where My Heart Is
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Home Is Where My Heart Is

2,687.3 miles… That is how far I am from the place that I have called home for the past 25 years. Before last year I never thought about leaving Pennsylvania to live anywhere else and doubted that I would even leave the Philadelphia area after I graduated from college. That is, until I began to...

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