By Ronald Tipan
The children of Intiwawa, the communities, and the people have become a part of my life. Any place that I volunteered at, whether it is in Nepal, the Dominican Republic or Guatemala, they are always with me. I couldn’t stop talking about my experiences there. Any person that I meet, I spend hours talking about the work that I did, the people that I met, the community that took me in as their own, and the lifelong friendships that I forged. San Isidro opened my eyes and the children touched my heart. I loved every minute of my time there. Having worked at different organizations in various countries since I left Arequipa, I acquired new skills and gained work experiences. I took on different responsibilities and became involved with different projects. I learned how to run an organization. But no matter what I’ve done, the best part has always been the chance to immerse myself in the local culture and learned to live like locals and appreciated their way of life. Intiwawa allowed me to live in that type of environment and I miss it ever since. I wondered how Intiwawa, the children, and the community have developed, and my curiosity left me with a mission. I left my heart in San Isidro a few years ago and I’ve been trying to go back. Not to get it back but to continue what I left behind.
Whenever you volunteer for any organizations, you always take something with you and leave something behind. I left behind a lot of children who I felt made a greater impact in me and the community that I called home for all those months. I left behind a school that welcomed me as an untrained teacher but embraced me as a part of their tight-knit family when I said my goodbye. I left behind a group of volunteers who continued to do the work they set out to do with an even greater enthusiasm. I left an organization with a promising future and the commitment to make a difference. But I took with me a lifetime of memories.
There are many people who started an organization for the benefit of the people and the community in need. They were once world travelers who just wanted to see the world but ended up witnessing a world different from their own. They get inspired. They became passionate. They wanted to make a difference. They did something about it. They returned to where their heart belongs, followed their intuitions, and built something amazing. I am inspired, passionate and I wanted to make an even bigger impact on other people’s lives and Intiwawa is where I wanted to be.
But as I pursue my masters in Belgium, I would always take with me the experiences that I had throughout my travel. It is a part of me now and it what inspires me to do good. Even though I miss that way of life, at this time, I think I could do more. So cheers to the next chapter!