So, I was the first person to blog about this trip to Paraguay, and now the trip has ended and I’ll share some final thoughts.
I started off this trip with fear, passion, and excitement. And now I am ending this trip with those same feelings.
First, my fears. Well, if I told you all of them you might never want to leave your house. So, I will tell you a few. One of my biggest fears was being kidnapped and sold to rival gangs for organ use. I just saw “Get Out,” and I felt like this trip was way too good to be true. I thought they were going to kill me and send another Avery back home. That’s one of my silly fears.
But my true traditional fear was just like everybody else’s. Fear of being away–not from my mom, but away from the United States in a foreign country that doesn’t like the United States. I was away from the protection and benefits awarded for being a US citizen. But Paraguay eased all of those fears because of the passion and the love I was shown from all parts of the country. People smiling, waving, saying hi. And the care, kindness and acceptance from my host family–especially from host brother, Juan–alleviated all my fears and destroyed the stereotypes I had of this unknown country.
I have done so much in Paraguay in such a short period of time. It truly destroys me that this time has ended. I will never forget my time in Tobati and Santa Rosalia, Asunción, Santa Ana and all of the other places we visited in Paraguay. I will never forget all that I have learned from Domingo, a social entrepreneur, community leader, an innovator and motivator. I won’t forget the passion and selflessness shown by Po, a social business that creates inexpensive prosthetic hands for those without hands or fingers. Po is incubated by a larger social business called Koga.
I especially won’t forget Santa Ana/Tobati. All my fears coming into this trip stemmed from the homestay there. What would it be like? Would they like me? Would be able to communicate with one other? Would they truly accept me? And, well, they did, but who wouldn’t? These experiences shaped me in a way I won’t realize until I set foot back into Washington, DC. Back in the land of seeding social innovators.
I want to take my experiences from Paraguay and do something with them. I want to teach. I want to inspire. I want to change my city.
Avery W., Thurgood Marshall Academy