Ahmsa – Volunteering in Colombia

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8am – meeting at the TransMillenio with Sebastian and taking a bus to a little town in the outskirts of Bogotá.

At first it was very unclear what Sebastian was doing and what Ahmsa was all about.

http://www.ahmsa.org/?lang=en

When we got there, he told me to put a volunteering jacket on to be safe. We walked through a dusty dry road into a very poor neighborhood.

The goal for the day was to teach a class about a disaster. The people of the pueblo live at risk. The houses are built on a mountain that is slowly falling down. The main street and most of the houses on the main road are destroyed.

Sebastian started the class. We had about 20 people, including kids. The main points were: Before/During/After the disaster and how to help each other as a community.

After that, we headed to the backyard where people received a free bag of dirt and compost to start planting trees and vegetables  On the way out from the town, we saw a lot of houses full of plastic, bottles, and bags.

-What is it? I asked.

-Recycling shops, said Sebastian. People collect bottles in Bogotá, bring them here, process with a special machine and sell to the companies that need plastic.

-How did they get the money to buy the machines? I asked

-Microlending.

Then we had a long conversation about the micro-lending and Mercy Corps that provides the funds to Ahmsa.

I learned a lot, took a lot of pictures and am really ready to head to Armenia to start a volunteering project there.

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