By Carrie Scott
Every few days, for the past four weeks, I’ve started up my computer, opened a word document, and began typing my blog post for Abriendo Mentes. Inevitably, my finger would end up mashing the“backspace” button until nothing remained. Reasons behind this scenario are numerous.
– One: how do you describe a nine month period of your life and a community like Brasilito in a blog-sized post? Do I choose to write about one special moment or person – and thereby ignore the fact that most (read: all) of the people I met were special?
– Two: how do I do justice to the fact that Abriendo Mentes has changed who I am, and how I see the world around me. Moreover, it’s still doing so, over a month after the fact.
– Three: writing this post admits that I am no longer in Costa Rica with Abriendo Mentes. A disagreeable reality sharpened by the massive culture shock I’ve been experiencing.
I imagine Abriendo Mentes as a self-aware machine. It has a clear purpose – as good machines do – to help the communities of Potrero and Brasilito. Being self-aware it keeps modifying itself to better serve its purpose. This means that, having left the machine (which by now sounds like a beneficent Borg collective), it will never be as it was while I was there. Furthermore, it is silly to even say “as it was while I was there” because I was lucky enough to see and experience the multitude of changes AM underwent during my tenure there.
I remember the Communications Team celebrating 300 Facebook “likes” after a big push. Then, I remember the Communications Team celebrating 1000 Facebook “likes.” I remember Meredith and Drew preparing to pass the reins of direct leadership to Lindsay. I remember being astounded at the smooth transition. I remember Brasilito in its days as a giant class of all ages, with Rebecca and I leading over 20 kids outside to sing songs. I remember that class changing into two public-space classes and then expanding to two more classes with the public school. Later, Brasilito expanded once again with the addition of adult classes and an influx of more volunteers.
The point is that I remember a sea of changes. I am jealous of all the new volunteers that are coming in over the next week for this new year. They get to set the stage for a wonderful new chapter for Abriendo Mentes.
I can’t even imagine what Abriendo Mentes must look like to a new volunteer. This machine with a new women’s group office, two growing community class locations, new kids coming to the materno and older classes, and who knows what else. I hope that someday I will get to return and be a new(ish) volunteer again. I love Abriendo Mentes. I love the Brasilito program. I am still realizing how lucky I was and am for having gotten to be there. I hope that every new volunteer has as wonderful an experience as I was fortunate enough to have.
Carrie Scott led the Brasilito program for nine months in 2012. She recently transitioned back to Oregon.