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18 Reynolds St.
East Norwalk, CT

Dedicated to building bright futures for impoverished children, their families, and their communities.

Simply Smiles blog

Follow our blog and read insights from Simply Smiles staff, volunteers and other individuals whose lives are affected by our work!

Choate in Oaxaca 2013: Blog #1

Timothy Nurnberger

“My passport is more valuable than a diploma,Empathy is more important than charity, Conversation is worth more than a text book. You feel me?” --Michael Barrett, Choate volunteer

After a long flight from JFK, the volunteers from Choate arrived at the Center of Operations. Following a good night’s sleep, the volunteers embarked on their first day at the center. The day consisted of an orientation of the beautiful Coyotepec neighborhood in the morning and work on different projects around the Center of Operations in the afternoon. Then, the volunteers visited Casa Hogar, where they spent hours playing with the kids and building friendships. The day ended with a reflection led by Rev. Trister under the stars.

Among the projects we worked on at the center, bagging rice for the food distribution to the jungles of Oaxaca was certainly not the most exciting one, but it carried much more significance than first met the eye. The simple, repetitive process of bagging produced finished bags that meant the difference between life and death for the people who needed it.

Another highlight of the day was our trip to Casa Hogar. Though the entire evening of laughter and fun with the kids was special, one of the most beautiful parts of the trip was the gathering under the largest tree at the orphanage to listen to Nacho play the guitar. The music attracted all of us, from child to Choate volunteer, to sit side by side in a moment of mutual understanding that music has the power achieve. Eliminating the barriers of language, background, and culture between the volunteers and the children, Nacho’s music strengthened the human connection among the entire group and was a perfect ending to our evening.

Team 1- Hannah, Will, Natalie & Alex