This summer, I was blessed to have gone on a two week service trip to Bolivia. Through my college, we teamed up with an organization called Food for the Hungry who led us during our time in Bolivia.
We spent time in La Paz, Cochabamba, and Toro Toro. Most of our service work was based in the small community of Toro Toro. For this trip, our team brought seven microscopes and a hundred water filters from the U.S. to Bolivia in order to distribute them in the schools and communities.
Our team had prepared a lesson plan on how to use the microscopes for the professors to first learn by and then teach their students with. For two days, we had biology teachers from seven different communities meet in Toro Toro where we had lessons on the microscopes. The teachers were so excited, and it’s crazy to think some of these biology teachers had never used a microscope before. They got a hang of the microscopes quickly, and we had them then teach us how to use them in order to be sure they were ready to bring the microscopes to their students.
For the next few days, our team traveled to the different schools where we presented the microscopes to the faculty and students. We also supplied the schools with water filters, soccer balls, jump ropes, and other toys. We almost always had to end our time at the schools with a game of soccer which I loved.
Although we were able to serve in a few other ways, teaching the professors about the microscopes and the communities about the water filters were our main focus. This provided a more sustainable positive impact then building a house or something along those lines. Now the professors can learn about nutrition and clean water by looking through the microscopes, and hopefully over time they will contribute to preventing malnutrition in their communities.
Basically, we helped plant a seed, but it is up to the community to make it grow.