Amazing. There are no words to truly describe this experience, but if I were to attempt, it would be amazing. Everything that we have experienced on this trip has been life changing for so many of us, but Tuesday was the day where so many things changed for me.
On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to serve and teach English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Nuestra Casa. Nuestra Casa is an organization that caters to the Latinx population in Yakima and surrounding areas. They offer ESL, citizenship and a variety of other classes to the population that they serve. For those who are parents, Nuestra Casa offers child care/pre-school hybrid to those that choose to attend classes. As a group, we served through the ESL classes.
We self-selected into the levels we were all the most comfortable serving. For those of us that did not have much experience speaking Spanish, we either chose to help out in the pre-school or assist in the Level 3 class where the students were comfortable speaking only in English. Others placed themselves into Level 2 if they were comfortable speaking a little Spanish but more English. The rest placed themselves into Level 1, where more Spanish was required of us as teachers.
I originally chose to serve in Level 2 because I personally thought that I would be unable to cater to the needs of those in Level 1. I did not think that I knew enough Spanish to get through the two hours that we were there. So, I chose the easier route and stepped into Level 2. Practically seconds after I gave my introduction, a woman came in asking if someone from our group could go into Level 1 since more people were coming in. I looked around hoping and praying that someone would do it so that I wouldn’t have to, but no one did. I pushed back all that was holding me back and mustered up all the courage I had to go into Level 1.
Right when I sat down with the man and woman I would be spending the next two hours with, I knew that it was where I needed to be. I was greeted with excitement and warm smiles by the both of them. The man was so funny. He was such a jokester and so full of life. I learned so many things from him. The woman was a little more quiet, but I saw so much of my mother in her. Through this woman’s dedication, hard work, and dedication I saw my mother’s story slowly unfolding and becoming life to me. The two hours I spent with them were amazing. And though I was supposed to be the “teacher”, I honestly was the one doing most of the learning.
This entire trip, I have been constantly amazed by the fact that I have gone in with the mindset of serving others when the people that I was supposed to be serving have served me in so many more ways than I could imagine. This specific experience was one that was needed, and I will never forget it for the rest of my life. Through being a person for these other human beings, I found strength and empowerment.