by Becca Hurliman
When living in a tranquilo town like Potrero, it’s sometimes easy to convince yourself that nothing ever changes, or if change does happen, it is so slight that it is hardly noticeable.
Here, though, growth can be measured in many ways. Abriendo Mentes is a continuously developing organization, and it is easy to see the steps we’re taking forward when you consider them.
I see it in the layers of fresh paint applied to the walls of the Kid’s Club, the filling out of verb charts day by day in my adult English class (I was, you were, he/she/it was…), and the growing number of stickers stuck with painstaking care on the kids’ attendance cards at the end of class. I see change when a kid goes out of his way to ride his bike back to the garbage can so he can throw away his popsicle wrapper.
Familiarity and comfort are marked by the fact that certain stray dogs recognize me and greet me with a wagging tail instead of growling.
The growth of my relationships with Potrero’s wonderful people is marked by the amount of “Buenos dias”s, “Hello Becca”s, and “Adios”s that greet my ears as I walk through town. It’s marked by the length of my conversations with cashiers at the supers in town. It’s marked by the fact that I am recognized here.
My watch broke a while ago. Time is still marked by the passing of the calendar, but also by the welcoming of new faces and goodbyes said to good friends. Time is marked by how much darker my skin is now than it was in May, and how long my hair is getting.
The growth of community can be measured in the knowledge of who is at the office based on a glance at the pile of shoes sitting outside the office door.
These reflections remind me of my love for the process. The countless emails to potential volunteers and the hours spent planning lessons is sometimes monotonous, and the time it takes to explain the differences between the words feet, hooves, and paws is often challenging, but the big picture is quite worth the effort. A lot of little things add up to make a monton of difference.