María José Vergara
Some of the things I enjoy the most is traveling. Two summers ago me and Isabella had the opportunity to go to a community service camp in Africa where we visited 3 countries, all with different landscapes. Even though we had the chance to meet wonderful people from a different culture and see its amazing wildlife, we also got to see the extreme poverty some of the inhabitants experience. Watching all these people on this environment made me realize of the injustices that exist on this world, and it made me very sad. It moved my heart to see how even in those conditions, kids from the communities were happy with such little things. We complain of the most insignificant problems that are going on in our lives, but we are not aware that some people have much bigger ones. I am lucky to say this trip changed my life, and the desire to help others developed even more.
After experiencing what I did in Africa, I wanted to give less privileged children the same opportunities that we have. Some years ago, I found out what Juliana and her group of Beyond Lagartococha were achieving. I thought their believes and accomplishments were a long-lasting project that would change the life of many indigenous children, and in fact it did. When I heard they were going to create a Second Generation I didn't hesitate in applying. Thankfully, in 2017 the First Generation of Beyond Lagartococha gave us the opportunity to join the group. The initiative of this project started with a small group of students from Quito, and as the name of the group highlights, it went BEYOND that. The project continues to enrich the education of many more indegenous kids, not only in Mañoco but also in Painkenape. The Secoya children deserve the right to learn and to shine BEYOND their isolated community. It fills my heart to be a member of Beyond Lagartococha.