Ryan Collins ’15 chronicles the group’s conversations with the people of Palomino:
After our first full day in Palomino, everyone was tired but definitely happy with what we were able to accomplish. We started the day by taking a quick bus ride to the town of Palomino in order to talk to some of the local people and to see a service project that one of our guides had participated in. The group was excited, as we had come to a general consensus that talking to local people was something we wanted to do more of in order to practice Spanish, learn about the country, and hear different stories from new people.
My group of four people met a woman who was standing in the doorway of her home. We began talking to her and to her daughter about the town and how they got there. She welcomed us into her home, where we sat and talked and watched tv. After talking with the family, we asked her two twin daughters if they wanted to play soccer. Their faces immediately brightened and they grabbed our ball and ran to the center of town where the sand field was located. There was about eight of us at first, and we started a small game while some people watched. As we played, more and more children from the town came down the streets and joined in. Within 10 minutes we were playing a fast and loud game with at least 25 kids. They were all so happy to be playing and to be meeting all of us. Their accents were very hard to understand, but the language barrier was overcome through the soccer game and the fun we were all having.
After the soccer game, we went down to the street to visit the service project that one of our Envoys trip leaders, Maria, had been a part of in the town. All of the children came with us, and their teacher spoke to us about the town and the area, as well as the building we were sitting in that the service project was responsible for. After talking and playing with the kids more, we then went back out into the streets in order to talk to more people and learn more about the history of the town, which we had not previously discovered. My group began talking to a man who was staying with his son while his house was being constructed down by the water. He knew a lot about the town and talked about the tranquility and comfort that he feels there. He was also very open with us about the water issues there and how the corruption that exists within the government allows for these issues to be ongoing. His story was incredibly interesting, and he was extremely open and friendly with us. We ended up talking to him for the entire hour that we were given, and it is undoubtedly another life story that we were lucky to hear.