How San Isidro Changed a 19-Year Old from New York
by C. R.
(New York, USA)
At the Güembé Butterfly Sanctuary in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
I am 19 year old girl from New York who visited Bolivia with my father for an experience. Bolivia opened my eyes to bigger things. It made me see that the world is not just my little world, there is so much more out there, and there is a lot of suffering. Before my trip, I would have been more upset if I did not get a new cell phone or car. But when I saw these people struggling just to put food on their table, it changed me. I liked seeing the joy on the kid's faces, it made me realize that they are so happy. I feel like they enjoy life so much more than we Americans do, which is odd because they have so much less than we do.
My impressions of Pablo and his friends at San Isidro: I thought it was really interesting how young they were, and yet they do so much for the kids at such a young age, being only a few years older than I am. They dedicate their entire lives to doing this for them, but do they even get paid for this? These are unique qualities that I have never seen in people. And they were really, really kind to us, let us in their office, offered us food and juices, willing to give us anything that they had even though they don't have a lot.
Pablo: he was a really strong person, with a good head on his shoulders. All the kids idolized Pablo when they arrived back from a soccer game that was out of town. He seemed like their big brother.
Pablo's friend from Germany (cannot remember his name): he chose to work at San Isidro instead of serving one year in the military in Germany. He had been there only a few months and did not want to leave. He enjoyed working as a translator for Pablo.
Bolivian people in general are more giving, more friendly, they care about you more, they cared about us an individuals, and anything that we needed they were on top of. It is not as good here in the US.
Roxanna was another friend, an acquaintance of our guide and translator, who was very helpful and kind to us. When we gave her a little something to buy a shirt, she thanked us many, many times. Bolivian people don't care about material things. They are happy on life.
After our meeting at San Isidro: At the end of the day, they offered to take me to a festival with them. We went out at 11 pm at night. My friends from San Isidro picked me up at the hotel, they paid for everything the whole night for me, including the taxi ride and food for me. It was a big gathering of 1000 people with food and homemade red wine Bolivian style. We drank wine out of little cups. Pablo put me on his shoulders so I could see the stage, we hung out and talked. Pablo's friend from Germany translated for me so I could talk to Pablo, and we watched people dancing and playing music on the stage. At 1:00 a.m., the crowd consisted of all ages, even little children were out celebrating. My father was pretty good about my arriving back at our hotel at sunup. He said he finally gave up and just went to sleep and hoped I would be in my bed in the morning.
Family was a big thing in Bolivia. They spend a lot more time with their families. On the weekends, no one is working. People are spending time with their families much more than Americans do. Read all about San Isidro here.