by Alayna Priya Devineni, Greenheart Travel Volunteer in Chile
Malloco was amazing. Honestly, it was extremely difficult being the only volunteer in the bitterness of Winter there, but after the first month, I adapted and I’m thankful I stuck with it, spiders, cold and all. Working with the children there was so satisfying, although at times difficult. And yes, the environment was always presenting challenges, but it was all so worth it. I really felt like by the end of my stay there, I was Chilean and I could live this life. I was really “one” with my environment and this was an amazing feeling.
Now that I am back at NASA and trying to transition back to my work and mode here, it has been so difficult. I really miss my Constanza (one of the little girls that I got to work with the whole time there and she is the sweetest child I have ever met in my life) and all the Tia’s and family there. I think about them literally every day and they really helped me become a better, kinder, compassionate person because of how kind they were. I have never seen such happier people ever. It was just beautiful to be a part of that family.
Now that I have been back, I have really been contemplating what is truly important to me in life. I saw the world from such a different perspective (not just a travel perspective), but from a humanity perspective. I realize that helping others, especially when they need it, is really important to me. I realize that there are so many parts of the world who don’t live as easy and as comfortably as we do here, maybe in the U.S. And that I want to somehow be a part of helping develop these environments and helping others. For such a long time in my life, I was always living for my parents or my family and trying to be “successful” for them, but now I am at the point and especially after my trip to Chile, I am strong enough to do what I care about. I had a lot of time to write and think about this, being alone in that volunteer house for 3 months.
It was definitely an eye-opening experience and really has cause me to see the world so differently now. We all are such a small part of such a huge beautiful world. We are all connected somehow, even though we live such different lives. And there is always a bit of “good” in each cultures way of doing things. I loved it.