With every place in Colombia I visit I fall in love more and more. As it’s said about Colombia, “The only risk is the want to stay longer.” Chivor wasn’t an exception.
For the past two weeks I have been volunteering with Emerging Voices in Bogotá. That involved working with blind kids, helping grandmas and working with homeless people. Teaching English in Chivor was organized by the group Vitaminas who is trying to promote tourism in the Minas of Esmeraldas in Chivor.
The main goal is to teach people English for about $12 a months, 4 days a week, 2 hours a day and give them $6 back if they attend all the classes. What can be better?
“So do you want to come and help teaching with us for a week while we are looking for a permanent volunteer?” – asked me Monica. “Free food and bed, beautiful place?”
“Free food and bed and getting to know a new place with minas and mountains? Lets do it!” I said.
When we arrived to Chivor, we were met by the nicest people who right away asked if we wanted anything to eat, drink, visit, etc. They also called me “profe.” I felt very important and respected.
The first day of classes we had to wake up at 5am, take a cold shower, eat a large plate of delicious soup and leave for High School at 6:45am. There, the director introduced us to two English teachers with whom I spent the rest of the day presenting myself, sharing Ukrainian music, singing anthems in French, Russian, Ukrainian and English, and teaching the kids basic English questions and answers.
In the afternoon I had classes at 2pm and 6pm for adults and a few kids. That was a blast. They loved the dynamics and teaching method of the classes. On the other hand, I loved to see how they were learning. The best thing was a little note written by a 5-year old girl saying “Profe, I love you.” Tears came to my eyes.
Between the classes someone would always ask you to go have coffee or a bandeja paisa, or a pastry, or a chocolate. If you wanted it or not, you were always around the nicest people and food in Chivor.
At the end of the week two nicest women took me to the mines of Esmeraldas. The idea was to walk from the house for the sake of exercise but the nicest miners driving pass us gave us a lift all the way to the final destination. There, almost in every little site we visited where live miners, we had a cup of coffee. I think I had about 10 of them.
On Saturday, before leaving to Bogotá, another nicest neighbor took me on motorcycle ride to visit the vicinities of Chivor and on a stroll in a ferry. It was fantastic!
What can I say? If you are in Colombia and close to Bogotá, it’s a MUST see place. And if you can volunteer there, it’s even better.