If we think back to when we were younger, most of our closest relationships were with people who were lived just down the road. The community would never stretch much further than beyond the main road. However, the interactions that we have with the communities in South America are different. Children in the communities and the Canadian participants build strong relationships and in many cases they become attached to one another in a way that they never experienced before. However, for most of the year these relationships are separated by about 6000 kilometres.
What happens then when we leave the community? How do the friendships sustain themselves once we leave the community? Do the bonds we made begin to loosen? An announced visit to the community and a surprise invitation changed my understanding of our relationships and our community.
Above the busy bus “terminal” in Pacifico, the soccer field remained empty, there were no kids to be seen welcoming us, or preparing for a visit to the park. Just a few shouts could be heard as kids called to one another between the makeshift houses. It was a far cry from the one hundred community members who bide us farewell the previous F
riday. I was not disappointed. I like making announced visits to the community, either alone or in small groups. It is as if we get a genuine snapshot of everyday life in the community.