Unimportant blog?

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

When someone refuses to associate with a “type” of person, simply because they are different. They are different because we don’t know anything about them. They are different because we refuse to learn about them. They are different because they look different. Doesn’t it all sound so silly? THAT to me, is a high form of ignorance.

Growing up in India, there have been a lot of things emphasized in my life, that I now find….utterly unimportant.

Unimportant thing number 1: Class system.

“You have to act like a certain class, and associate with people who are of the same level.” Of course anyone with a heart reading this knows how unreasonable that sounds. If we spend so much time judging people, how will be have time to love them? I do understand that there is a huge gap between certain people. Financial status does not define your success. I understand, in reality, you do need some kind of financial stability to help someone less fortunate. But you CAN NOT help someone until you respect them first, treat them as an equal and allow yourself to grow WITH them.

Unimportant thing number 2:You have to be the best.

You DON’T have to be the best. You should be great at what you do, you should be humble in what you do and the only competition that should worry you… is your former self. Be better than yesterday, but don’t compare yourself to someone else. For if a fish was to be tested on it’s abilities to climb a tree, it would spend it’s entire life believing it’s a failure. (I forget who said that quote but its a good one)

Unimportant thing number 3: “What are other’s going to think?”

One of the biggest things i’ve learnt while “travelling” (I still have a whole lot of the world to see) is that, at the end of the day, you HAVE to do things for yourself. You can kid yourself and live up to an “image” that others believe in, but it will eventually catch up to you. There is nothing better than doing something that makes YOU happy. As positive as i’d like to be about the world, there are a LOT of people who will talk about your failures constantly but never recognize your achievements. So you have to wake up one day and decide….what matters more? Listening to your heart or listening to another’s?

One of the best “Yes’s” I said, was my yes to Peru. Yes, to emerging myself into the culture. Yes, to the love I gave and got in return. Yes, to beginning friendships. Yes, to “I’ll return.” and YES I will keep my arms open for any opportunities that come my way.


I’ve got some beautiful updates from Pacifico, sent to me from Diego. YES i’ll post the pictures and YES you’ll love them. (Pictures from Youth in Action and the day care.)IMG_8062 IMG_8065 IMG_8066 IMG_8069 IMG_8071 IMG_8074 IMG_8075 IMG_8077 IMG_8078 IMG_8079

-Mansi Parasher


Future Leaders

We had our very first trip leader meeting, and it was awesome to hear everything that has been going on, and what the near future holds for all of us!

Congratulations to Jamila, Roxanne, Lauren and Breanne for being trip leaders for next year! This will give us all a chance to introduce a beautiful opportunity to other people. All you ladies bring in your own unique feature into SIA and I am so looking forward to sharing ideas with all of you. 🙂

missing Rox and Jamila

I guess this will be a good time to share some advice from our past trip leaders. This might help our new trip leaders, or just people in general. To be a leader is a life skill 🙂

As much as you can prepare, remember that not everything will go according to plan. Stay confident, stay positive, smile, and know it will all work out. These moments offer us the greatest type of learning we could ask for.Julie Ingriselli 

Embrace your fears and believe in yourself. Trip leading can seem like an overwhelming responsibility at times, but can be so rewarding if you let the experience challenge you.
Be calm, be patient, and be optimistic. Tell yourself ahead of time that there will be things that you can’t control – and that’s okay. You’ll roll with the punches and everything will eventually fall into place.Avantika Mathur

It is a totally difference experience transitioning from the role of a participant to that of a Program Leader and I believe that the 2014 Program Leaders will make the transition into their new role seamlessly. They have demonstrated strong leadership skills and shown their passion for Pacifico de Villa and SIA in so many ways – I encourage them to remember that they have been selected for a reason and to use their prior experiences in the community to guide their decisions prior to and during their programs in Peru. SIA has an incredible team of talented individuals both in Canada and Peru that are excited to work alongside this group developing the upcoming programs. Natalee Freeborn

Being a program leader is about finding a balance: a balance between challenging your participants and making them feel comfortable; keeping to the schedule and being flexible; sticking to your ways and being open-minded; and of following your head and following your heart. If you can find a natural balance between each of those, you will be a successful and effective leader – Heather Law

My advice would be to always smile and have patience. Sometimes it can be challenging to meet everyones needs and that can be stressful. But just stay positive and do your best.Nabila Kanji

You can check out more information on how to apply! http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher

Think about it.

Today, in one of my classes, we spoke about “sociological imagination.” Apparently, in simple words, it means “a concept of how we view ourselves”….How we view our society? How we view ourselves in this society? What place do we have in the structure of things? All of these concepts and questions came up.

I tried to answer these complex answers in my head.

But a very important question popped up in my head as I thought about all of this…..

“How do I view myself in society?” What is my role?

I could easily say, Hey, I am a 21 year old student. But really? That is definitely not an acceptable answer for me.

I have been fortunate enough to have all these life experiences that I’ve had. Working for the wellbeing of a developing community brings out things in you that you’d never imagine. I didn’t know I could be a leader, for example. I didn’t know I could impact the learning ability of a house wife. I didn’t know I could create an amazing relationship with a 16 year old teenager. I didn’t know I could handle a 3 year old screaming child. I also didn’t know I could create my own family in Peru.

My role, as a person, as a student, as a friend, as a stranger, as a daughter, as a sister, or as ANYONE, is and always will be… to share my thoughts with others. Seems simple right? Doesn’t even seem like much of a role…

The reason I find this first STEP (as I would like to call it), so important is because, we can do wonders with our thoughts. I can help someone simply by showing them a new perspective. I can make someone smile simply by giving them advice. I can make someone laugh by sharing an experience. I can make someone realize something just by introducing a new idea. I can also… make a change.

This is the first step to making a change. It all starts from inside of you. You really think that smile doesn’t make a difference? Do it more often and just see the feedback you get.

Finding a purpose in life comes after you find your smile. So stick to something that makes you smile, and hold onto it. (For me, those are memories of being in Pacifico de villa)…. What about you?

So, I invite you all to …smile 🙂

Buenas noches!

-Mansi Parasher

A smile that impacted me immensely :)
A smile that impacted me immensely 🙂


Today, I will tell you a story.

This story is about a young boy, whose name is Jose Javier Herrera Grefa. Why is this boy so special?

Well, it all started earlier in July 2013, when I was in Pacifico de villa with the lovely July group. It was another day of placement in the community and we were just about to have lunch. Daniel walked in with a tall guy, sat down with him at a table, gave him a lunch and was talking to him all lunch. Later on Daniel came over to our table, and said that he saw Jose outside the community centre and invited him in for lunch. Jose was just a curious bystander wondering what these crazy canadians were doing in the community centre.

I met jose briefly that day. I heard his story, that he had just moved to Pacifico a month and a half ago, and was living with his uncle and aunt. After mentioning to Larry (Boss man) that we should invite jose tomorrow for the health campaign, I soon realized he had already thought of doing that.

The next day, we had our health campaign (Check out blog from July 12th). Jose is in one of the pictures BECAUSE, as soon as he arrived that day, he just took in charge. He was responsible for the registration of everyone who came to our event. I joked around with him as much as I could in spanish, and watched as he would inform everyone about the event, and tell them to register, and basically commit to this job he has been given, without even asking any questions. He just made himself a part of what we were doing. And I admired that.

Since that day, Jose joined us everyday. Seeing his lovely smiling face brightened up my day. Within a week he had made relationships with many of us.

His message was simple, give the love you wish you receive. 

He interacted with the kids, he interacted with the volunteers and most of all, he had found a sense of belonging in Pacifico. Why do I say that? Well as our relationship grew, I found out that in the past month that he had been in Pacifico, he didn’t enjoy it much because he didn’t know many people. (No one likes to move). I was happy to know that joining SIAs vision gave him a sense of responsibility, and belonging that he had hoped for.

Jose, joined the program Leaders de villa and was a part of hosting an event and doing an amazing presentation on garbage for the community members (In August). He was a committed student of the english classes we held. He also started working with Youth in Action and helping with Daniel. It was that simple.

As other groups came down, we saw jose’s leadership skills rise day by day. He was a part of everything we did. I spent my last month and a half of summer with him everyday, and saw him grow so much.

So, why is jose so special?

Because he proves that life is full of surprises. It is not a surprise to me that he is like a little brother to me and many others who have interacted with him in the past few months.

What I have learned from him is that you should be open to any opportunities that come your way. Treat everyone with respect, love, care and affection. Tell everyone they are beautiful. Commit to the things you truly love. And that love really needs no translation.

(left to right) Julie, Jhoselyn, Me, and Jose.
The day we all metIMG_1448
1238086_498924796850061_1120172615_n Natalee and Jose


“A Loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.”

-Mansi Parasher


Technology is the one thing that keeps us so connected. When I woke up yesterday, I looked down at my phone and I had received a voice note from my lovely friend Daniel, who runs Youth in Action in Pacifico de villa. YES.. a voice note… way better than an e-mail or text, (Whatsapp is amazing).

It was amazing to hear the excitement in his voice as he told me that they were all preparing for an event. An event about spring, and the youth in action kids had prepared a lot of things for this event. The event was called “Primavilla – Primavera en Pacifico de villa.”

It was even better to be able to see the pictures on Facebook that they had uploaded from the event which i’ll share here. 579051_10202178465003463_816000002_n 1235975_10202178460483350_860983554_n (1) 1240474_10202178486844009_1368565062_n

We are all so proud of all that our peruvian SIA team is achieving in Pacifico. I know that all of us past participants reading this, wish to be back there….but technology keeps us connected! I am so thankful for that.

“Missing someone gets easier everyday because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will.”

Looking forward to being back, and seeing familiar faces. You can officially apply to be back in Pacifico de villa with SIA next summer, go to http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher