So far…

Olatunde Richardson - Ecuador


April 7, 2014


So here I am, I apologize for being off the grid for so long, not posting pictures or posting blogs. I will not lie and say that part of the reason for not posting anything is partly because of procrastination, but I will say that the majority is just because that’s not how I do things. I’m not going to give the normal speech like every other kid. Obviously Ecuador and every part of my life is great even the so called bad parts, because I’m learning how to find inspiration and learn from everything.

I reflect differently than a lot of my peers. I reflect through my art: poetry and music. A lot of what you will read will be things that I think about, but I guess that’s obvious. I have grown here. I can tell the way I think, the way I see things and the way I act have changed. I have learned how to be thankful about a lot that I have had in my life and to find the importance in interactions more than in things.

I’m finding myself although I’m still lost, there is so much I don’t understand about the way I think, feel and act. Ecuador is a beautiful place and the people are equally as beautiful as it’s natural wonders. I’ve taken joy in observing. Although I speak a good amount of Spanish the language has been difficult, so I’ve learned how to be the quite guy in the group. I have learned to listen, instead of always having to get my point across.

It’s crazy how normal things can become. The life I live now is the life I know and the life I will be continuing seems as foreign and mysterious as the life I have now seemed before. I am returning with a clarity and an urge to push myself like never before. So far I have been blessed, gifted with many opportunities and chances, some utilized and some not.

Being here has made it a little depressing to think about all the time wasted and opportunities lost through bad decisions. I teach English, Art, and Music at a small, underfunded elementary school in a small indigenous community named Yambiro. The children I teach and interact with are among some of the smartest and Character filled people I’ve met. Sometimes I am on the verge of tears thinking about how far they could go and how statistically most of them will stay in the borders of this region. I ask them what their dreams are and some say amazing things like doctor but others say “I don’t know”, because they really don’t know what they could be. But looking through with foreign eyes, I can see so much possibility and so much potential.

I know that if they had the education I had or even half of it they could do wonders. I still have faith and everyday I try to inspire them and open their eyes to a world beyond what they can only see. It sucks to understand that true change takes time and I didn’t have the time to change things the way I wished. I tell them that nothing is impossible and that through hard work and dedication no dream is out of touch, but will those words resonate the way I want them to? So many people have said the same words to me in my life, and maybe I took those words for granted. I hope I can at least inspire one child to shoot for the stars and see what could be done in the world.

They told me when I came here that this experience isn’t for us to change the world but instead to change ourselves in preparation to change the world in the future. Before I heard that I thought why not, I didn’t understand how much it would take and how ready I needed to be. I’m not close to being ready but I feel I can be in time, because with time true change can manifest and I know I’m still growing. So with me ranting, I want to say thank you to all: my family here, my family there, my friends here, my friends there and most of all thank you to life, for blessing me with this opportunity. Enjoy what is to come.

SAM_1709

Olatunde Richardson