A heart strives off of dreams and encouragement in life. Whether someone believes they have a dream or not, everybody has hopes and desires. Despite the amazing truth in this, we still let so many things get in the way of us and our dreams. We don’t go out and explore the world or seek to help others accomplish their dreams in the way that we should either. I was lucky enough to experience the joy of traveling and serving others once and I am determined to return again someday.
My name is Cheyenne and 13 months ago, I went on a short term mission’s trip to Bogota, Colombia. I had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time yet when the time actually came, I didn’t want to go. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help or serve. It was not that I didn’t want to travel. I simply was afraid to go to another country. What if the language was too much of a barrier? What if I could not handle saying goodbye when the time came? What if I or somebody else going was injured or killed while we were down there? I knew my fears sounded ridiculous but I couldn’t rid myself of the thoughts. I tried my hardest to get out of the trip the night before we were to leave but it was pointless. I had already paid and there were people counting on me.
As the plane took off and we stopped on the way, my mind raced. I slept; I wrote. I prayed and I cried. I could not understand why I was so nervous. As we landed in Bogota and stepped off of the plane, we were greeted by unusually warm weather and a very kind man. The orphanage that we would be working with for those 10 days is called Children’s Vision International and it was started decades back by a woman named Jeanene Thicke. Some years after moving from Wisconsin, United States to Bogota, Colombia, she married a wonderful man named Richard. This was the man that met us at the airport Can you imagine marrying someone in a foreign country who already had about 50 children!? It may seem insane to us but I respect them both so much for their love and courage and dedication throughout the years.
The ride to the orphanage was crazy. Rich drove us in a bus and in the same crazy way as the rest of the drivers. He explained that you see plenty of cars but the most popular form of transportation is by motorcycle because you can weave between cars and there is less chance of being robbed while on the road.
As the days passed by and we would get up every morning at eight to work, it became a blessing instead of an obligation. We played games and bonded with the children. We baked with Jeanene and helped out at the school. We took trips to the local shops, markets, and the mall in the afternoons and bonded with each other as well. The days were busy but they went by so quickly. I was learning a lot but I don’t think that the truth of the circumstances down there had really sunk in yet. If not, it most certainly did that last Saturday there.
A few days before we left, we took a trip up to a mountain. A couple of the children from the orphanage had formed a group to put on skits and others came along simply to help. We went to distribute food and water to the people that lived on the mountain. There was a family of 12 living in a 3 bedroom house that the husband made himself out of wood. They’re bathroom was a hole in the ground with a toilet seat over it. There was another family with a one room house and a new born baby. They had a fridge, a sink, a couple of toys, and one bed. That was all. It really hit me then how blessed we truly are in America – how blessed I am.
Bogota may be a place of poverty and I may not speak the language but no place has ever touched my heart the same. I had always wanted to travel even before that trip but now I am determined to return there as well as travel other places over the years. I want to learn and experience in new ways and help others reach their goals and dreams in the process. I encourage everyone to take a trip to another country, even if it is only for a week or two. It will amaze you how much you can learn simply through travel.
About the Author: My name is Cheyenne Katsma and I am originally from Wisconsin but am currently attending college in Illinois. I am a secondary English Education major but would love to do anything with writing as well.
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