Hello Friends and Family,
As our time at IPODERAC comes to an end, we wanted to send along a quote from each participant about their experience over the past few days. It has been a fast, but meaningful, time with the Chavos!
We will be waking up early tomorrow to catch a bus to Oaxaca, where we will have a day to reflect on our time at IPODERAC, eat some delicious food, do an afternoon scavenger hunt, and put our spanish skills to use while bargaining for souvenirs in local markets.
Paul and Tyler
“Coming into IPODERAC, I was worried that I would not be able to communicate with the children. With the words I learned and the soccer defense I had, I was able to bond with the kids despite mostly not speaking the same language.”
“I came into Ipoderac not knowing what to expect. What I found was a group of kids with the tightest bonds I have ever seen, and who loved soccer more than anyone I ever met.”
“A lot of cool kids, soccer, and the inability to go to the bathroom basically sums it up. But for reals, I would love to come back and do it all again.”
“Although the main experience at Ipoderac was supposed to be with the kids, I felt accomplished building them a road.”
“My time at IPODERAC was filled with fun, laughter, and a lot of work. I will never forget the bonds and friendships I’ve made with the kids.”
“Although we only spent a short amount of time at IPODERAC, playing soccer with the kids really proved my ability as the BEST goalie in the world. I really look forward to possibly returning next year.”
-The Real Deal Oneal
“I really enjoyed my time at IPODERAC and I probably got ten times better at soccer. I definitely look forward to coming back here in the future.”
“As we drove in on the bus, the thought of sharing a house with 19 of my fellow bells, and communicating in a language I can barely speak, I was of course worried. But as we worked together to paint houses, rebuild roads, and empty the trash cans filled with toilet paper, we as a group bonded more than I would have ever expected. When we were playing soccer with the kids, and one of us missed a shot or screwed up a pass, the kids would not hold back in telling us how we sucked. Even though I was pretty bad, I still managed to bond with a few kids we played with like Renae and Richie. I didn’t realize how much we impacted the kids lives until the last night when we had to say our goodbyes, and some of the kids that I had played soccer with began to cry. Seeing that made me truly understand why we were here and how much they looked up to us. I look forward to being able to come back again next summer hopefully as a leader so I can bond with more of the kids”
“When we first met the kids at IPODERAC I was worries about not being able to communicate with them but then I saw that it was not as hard as I thought it would be. when we were playing soccer with them I saw that they had a very colorful vocabulary and were not afraid to criticize everything we do. When we were saying bye to the kids and taking #selfies I could already tell that they would miss us and we would miss them.
“As I was deciding to sign up for this immersion trip, I didn’t have a clue how life changing it could be. Deciding and successfully going on this trip turned my perspective on appreciation, bonds, and love to a whole new level. Specifically, traveling to IPODERAC was the peak of this experience so far. Throughout the 3 days I stayed here, I created a special connection with Rana and Helrido. Today, the last day, leaving the chavos was a heart wrenching experience. All the memories created will not be forgotten. I can truly say that the chavos are an addition to my second family. Leaving here will be like leaving a “fam” member. I will never forget this experience and hopefully i can return to my “family” once again”.
Christopher (Swagchef) Tran
“I had no expectations coming into iPoderac. These kids, although not a biological family, act as though they are. They are the closest group of friends I have ever seen, and while I could not communicate with them, I was able to interact with them through the few swear words I knew. It’s been an amazing experience overall, despite the ED (ask me later what this means!).”
“Despite being sick for one of my three days in IPODERAC, I had an awesome time bonding with the kids and improving my soccer skills. The bond I was able to make with the Chavos in such a short time was unbelievable, and their ability to remember me was also very heartwarming. To them I am “Superman,” “Super Gringo,” and “Jack Black,” and that is something I will always remember.
-Jack “PERMISO” Duffy
“Before coming to IPODERAC I was a little nervous about the language gap between the kids and I. I would soon find out that I didn’t need to worry about how good my spanish is because even when I would mess up they would always correct me and help improve my spanish. Saying bye to these kids was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I feel like I’ve had a really strong bond with everyone here and I won’t forget my experience.”
“I had a conversation with a chavo, paraphrased here:
Me, ‘Donde estas tu casa?’
(I was referring to his biological family’s house, perhaps in a nearby town.)
Adayir, ‘Vivo en San Pablo (one of the various housing units at IPODERAC.)’
To leave IPODERAC is to leave a family behind.”
“I’ve played more soccer in my time here than in the last year, and I’m more sore than I’ve been in at least two years because of that, but it’s definitely worth it. I overcame the language barrier and bonded with the kids through the game.”
- Will Hackett
“At first, I was a little nervous coming to IPODERAC, not knowing if I could communicate with the kids. For the first day, talking to the kids was hard, constantly making hand motions to try and get our point across. But as we kept spending time with them, our spanish improved and we picked up on their slang. By the end of my time at IPODERAC, I felt I had bonded with the kids and was sad to go, but excited for the rest of the trip.”
“IPODERAC was not the part of the trip that I was looking forward to the most, but has ended up being super fun. I played more soccer than I think I ever have before and had a great time learning from the kids.”
Dom went to sleep before we could contribute a quote, so we will get one from him in the next few days.
“IPODERAC was definitely the best part of the trip for me. I really bonded with the Chavos here, especially playing soccer. I leave here sore from soccer and with my hands calloused from building a new section of road. I also leave with a new perspective on life and with more positive attitude then when I arrived.
“I come from a country, an environment, a lifestyle where normal behaviors such as putting shorts on each day have never been questioned or a surprise. Yet, coming to IPODERAC los chavos have definitely put me in check. I suddenly became the focus of attention, not only in IPODERAC, but in the streets as well. The chavos came up with every question possible, such as why do you put on shorts? Why are you the only guy that wears gel and not the others? Do you pay attention in class? these questions are only a minute fraction of what I had to explain in great detail. I then realized the beauty of an ignorant mind, and the beauty of the kids of IPODERAC. My responses did not affect them in any way, they only knew a little more about me the more I responded. My responses helped me more than it helped them, they sometimes threw me in vulnerable positions, yet while in these positions and in my responses I was able to truly confront myself and realize why I did some of the things I did. The greatest epiphany that I had made me realize that I did not have a fulfilled life, like the chavos had and I keep wondering things I have to do to achieve what they already have established.”