Today was a mixed day for me. It reminded me of why I was here and how different my life is to those who live in Las Juntas.
Women’s Recycling Cooperativecenter to start my service project. I originally was a part of the painting but because of a horrible sun burn (REAPPLY SUNBLOCK VIGOUROUSLY) I switched over to the shaded area. I had an amazing experience working with my group sorting through papers and just talking. After that I headed over to two local farms with my group to interview the people of Las Juntas. I interviewed a local female farmer who was practicing sustainable methods using hydroponics and was running her own little greenhouse. The other person I met with was a local farmer who primarily focused on selling dairy products. They both gave me a lot of information on my product and made me open my eyes on the effects of climate change the people of Las Juntas are experiencing. I had an amazing morning and thought the day was only going to get better.
Then the beautiful sunny weather passed quickly like it always does and the clouds started to roll in. I was at Carlos’ with my group and a few other people when a horrible thunderstorm blew through. The pounding rain and deafening lighting shocked people and left me in awe. That quickly changed when I like the rest of the group started smelling burning plastic. The powerful lightning hit a house and set it ablaze. In what left me in awe and wonder left me terrified and devastated to see a family lost their bodega and primary source of income.
However, in the wake of all of this devastation, I saw something beautiful occur. I saw a community come together in a time of crisis. The fire station was not available to help put out the fire right away so the members of the local community rushed to help out the family. People climbed up on the roof and were throwing buckets of water onto the house to help control the fire and people were running into the bodega to save as many items as possible from the flames. It was beautiful chaos. By the time the fire department showed up most of the fire was put out by the community rushing to aid this family. Sadly, this bodega was completely destroyed, but the fire thankfully didn’t spread to the rest of the block.
This event left me in shock and left me speechless. I reflect on this event and realize the importance of me being here in Las Juntas and the importance of strong united community. I realized that it is important for me to be here to not only learn about a different culture and customs, but to learn about how people work in a community like that of Las Juntas. I reflect on my community back home and think about how my community would not function as quickly and as affectively like those of Las Juntas in a time of crisis. It also made me realize that there are bigger problems in life compared to maybe mine. Here I was, earlier today worrying about my sunburn and focusing on myself and later just watched a primary source of income for a family be completely destroyed. It puts everything into perspective about problems that occur in life. I never fear of a fire that would take my belongings and worry about small little things; whereas, there are people who worry about horrific events like this and how they can recover from hardship. It makes me realize that I am lucky to have the opportunity I have in life and makes me feel more compassionate and understanding of others.
Some final thoughts on this event is to be thankful for what you are given and support your community and local members. If we shared the same support and passion like those of the people of Las Juntas, who knows what could be accomplished in times of hardship like this.