When I first told my friends that I was visiting Colombia they were worried about my safety. The years of cartel violence have shaped Colombia’s image poorly. But upon arriving, I felt that was far from the truth. I landed in Medellin, the city of eternal springs as its known. And what an experience that was. As you walk in the green covered streets, you see beautiful venues and parks everywhere, and if you listen closely you can hear the springs in the background. I spent a few days venturing around this beautiful city and met some amazing people and even took a salsa class.
From Medellin, I flew over to Cartagena, a coastal breathtaking town in Colombia with modern infrastructure and some skyscraper buildings. It was beautiful and an ocean view room made it that much more special. I loved trying new foods and met some cool locals. There are lots of Venezuelans that are trying to get by in Colombia due to the economic situation in Venezuela. When I arrived, I still needed to find a place to give back and help in.
Upon doing some research and sending some emails out, I found this beautiful organization called Domino Volunteers. They connect travelers with local ongoing projects in places that could use some help. We teamed up and got sent on a remarkable journey to a remote island across Cartagena that has no running water and no cars. Upon arriving, we were quickly greeted by the young local kids and toured to the local school on the island. It honestly isn’t even a school, it’s a room with A/C and some of the kids get help with education and preparation for school there. The heat that day was overwhelming and one of our volunteers suffered from a heat stroke by the end of the day.
The objective for the day was to paint a building for the kids to have a place to practice skateboarding and also build a compostable bathroom since the island does not have a sewage system. As we kicked the project off, the smile of everyone working harmonically together was overwhelming. The local kids and volunteers were so hands-on that by the end of the trip, they were completely covered in paint.
As the day went on all I could think about was how simple these people lived. We ended the day at the local beach on the island where we enjoyed some local fish and dipped in the ocean. It was a day to remember for sure and I am forever thankful for the experience.
If you do find yourself in Cartagena, please message Domino Volunteers, they can help you find places to volunteer and spend time getting hands-on experience to the local lifestyles.