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A dream that became more than reality

My name is Milagros and I want to share with you that from October through December of 2018, I had the great opportunity of living in Mexico, an experience that I will never forget thanks to the Milonga Project. The two months that I was in Mariapolis el Diamante and in the small town in Puebla, Mexico were fantastic. They were filled with light, happiness, and friendships and above all, learning experiences.

If I ponder and ask myself from which moment did I start to dream about this trip? To be quite frank, I don’t have the answer. I always dreamt about helping others in other parts of the world and perhaps that is what led me to believe in making it a reality.

One day, I decided that I had to go to a place in the world and live out this experience, to complete this service, and put into practice everything that I had learned during my life and offer my service to others. Mexico seemed as a possible destination and it was also enticing because of its culture, history, places, people, scenery and its issues. That is how the Milonga Project became the way that was going to allow me to make that dream a reality.

When I decided to go on this trip, I had an incredible fear. I had previously traveled and volunteered, but always with my family scout. The thought of volunteering without them frightened me because it was something completely unknown to me.

A day before arriving to Mariapolis El Diamante, I had the blessing and the opportunity of visiting a magical place, a place that I always dreamt of visiting, a place that meant a lot me and my family, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I offered everything to the Virgin of Guadalupe and God, and I asked with all my heart that they accompany me on this new experience and adventure that I would be starting to live.

I embarked on my trip towards Puebla, towards Acatzingo, my home for a couple of months, filled with magic and charm. When I arrived, my fears and uncertainty invaded me, but the people who welcomed me, among them Lisa, my companion, my friend for life, were hospitable. They took me to our apartment; it was beautiful, so comfortable, and so clean that I immediately felt right at home.

The following day I started my volunteering at Colegio Santa María, the place where I would be working and putting all my effort and knowledge into practice.

When I arrived, I want to stress that that I was impressed, I was expecting for a school a bit more vulnerable, but it was a big, beautiful building filled with flowers, green spaces, classes, students, and teachers. I must admit that I asked myself, what could I help with here?

The Colegio Santa María is very special place, filled with children, teachers and professors from different economic backgrounds, some with more and others with less material needs, some with more and others with less emotional needs. Every day that passed by, I started to realize that in fact there were needs, and that I would be able to help.

I started out as a teacher assistant in preschool; I am not going to lie, it was a challenge, it was a difficult task, but I enjoyed it. The children were very special because they constantly showed me their love, and they always made me smile. I really felt useful.

Part of my job as a volunteer was to put my profession, social work, at the service of the school. I worked during the time of my stay conducting interviews and visiting the communities, along with wonderful and committed professionals who were in charge of the program, Godparents from a Distance.

One of the things that I enjoyed was that, along with another girl who also lived at the Mariapoli, we were able to give a discussion over “children’s’ rights” to fathers and mothers. This was a great experience and even though we were from different countries, we were able to see that people were thankful for the help. It was gratifying.

The time that I was working and making visits to the communities, I observed that the situation of Actipan and Hidalgo were affected with social issues of great complexity such as drug trafficking, prostitution, kidnappings, constant deaths, and great poverty.

Children in these towns live and grow surrounded with great inequality; constant deaths, mistreatment and machismo, and these are situations that we cannot allow as a society. We have to be thousands of persons working together to ensure that this does not continue happening.

This experience really filled me with grace, happiness, satisfaction, and love. The fact that today I write this, I am aware that God had this prepared for me. Despite of the difficulties and the distance I had between my people and me, I was very happy on this trip. Today I am a different person and I feel better. Returning to my country was very difficult, especially because of all of the people that I had met and whom I will forever carry in my heart, and because I feel I could have done much more.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that the Milonga Project gave me, and I hope to continue working towards better things and to be able to help so that the future of those persons is filled with opportunities to better themselves and continue moving forward.

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