The Saturday before I left, my mom bursts into my bedroom with her phone playing one of my favorite songs “We Are The World”. However, this version wasn’t the original 1985 for Africa, or the 2010 25thanniversary for Haiti. It was called “Somos El Mundo 25 por Haiti”. It was a version of “We Are The World” written in Spanish by Emilio Estefan and Gloria Estefan. The artists that performed the song were considered a Latin super group with artists such as Juanes, Ricky Martin, and Shakira.
My mom has always shared her eclectic taste of music with me and I’ve learned to appreciate music styles from Neil Diamond, Aerosmith and The Jackson Five. Many nights we would watch videos together on YouTube of all these artists. I fell in love with the song and video of “We Are The World” at a very young age. One of the main reasons I loved “We Are The World” is the concept of bringing people together to support a cause. When the American version of “We Are The World 25 for Haiti” premiered, I was ecstatic to have that occur in my generation. However, I had no clue that there was a version done by Latin artists. I believe that it was more than just a coincidence that we happened to stumble across that video on the Saturday before I left for my adventure in Ecuador. It had to have been a sign: a precursor to all the interesting cultural facts that I will be learning, a sign that I may stumble across items or places that will remind me of home, a sign that proves the vast knowledge I will gain from this experience, and a sign which exhibits my life will be a mix of my North Carolinian home and my new home in Ecuador.
I’m extremely excited and nervous for the challenges and adventures that I will face over the course of the next 8 months. As I am preparing for my journey, there are many things I wish to achieve from my experience in Ecuador with the Global Citizen Year Program.
1.) Increase my comfort levels with communicating in Spanish
2.) Learn about new cultural activities
3.) Work on my patience and relaxation skills
4.) Learn a new skill or hobby
5.) Expose myself to various types of work
6.) Learn to eat a larger variety of foods
7.) Increase my writing skills through my blog
After an intense summer of fundraising and working 40 hours per week, I now realize the difference between the last few weeks of summer and the next 35 weeks with the Global Citizen Year program. I am entering a completely different setting where my confidence, comfort levels, and self esteem will be tested. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be participating in this amazing journey, but I can’t lie and say I’m not shivering with fear inside. Although, it is frightening, I know I am strong enough to face my fears with my positive energy and intense drive. Since I have always loved the concept of people for working for a cause to improve human lives, I cannot wait to do my small part for the people of Ecuador and truly experience the meaning of “Somos El Mundo”!