It all started with a mouse click.
I was reading an email from an old boss and mentor of mine. She was an active figure in my growth as an individual and professional in the past year, accompanying me through the various inevitable hardships that arise when living and working abroad. From this close relationship, I took most of what she said to heart. Thus, when I opened one of her casual emails, recommending that I look into a certain international non-profit, I immediately obliged. When I clicked on the blue illuminated url link to Recrear’s home page, I wasn’t expecting to find a network of incredibly progressive individuals sharing their ideas on development, executing innovative projects all over the globe, and creating an outreach network to make their work available to entrepreneurs and youth around the world. I became giddy with the thought of getting involved. As they tend to do, one thing led to another. During the application period of Recrear Magnify Conference 2012, I was in my normal state of absurd travel; having touched down in the US from my year abroad just 20 hours prior, I didn’t miss a beat on jumping on another plane to the east coast to visit my university for fall 2012. It was between flights on airport wifi, that I hurriedly applied.
Just a little over a week later, Kirsten was reaching out to finish the application process with an interview. It all started great…until we were periodically cut off by untimely power outages. And when we hung up, I was sure that it had all hit the fan. Much to my surprise, I was accepted or should I say hired.
Yet before I could blink twice, I was fundraising, booking flights, and then stumbling out of a Quiteño cab somewhere in between Venezuela and Rocafuerte in old town Quito. There I was two days late to the conference, surrounded by passing cars blasting much missed reggaeton and speeding buses cutting corners. I released a sizable sigh of relief. I had finally made it or so I thought.
Having traveling extensively durning my gap year in Ecuador, I remembered the trip from Quito to Esmeraldas as more or less three hours in duration. After what felt like endless introductions, I and the rest of 2012 Recrear Magnifty attendees piled into the bus. Along the way, we made occasional stops to visit a breathtaking waterfall or to stretch feline style or grub, naturally. I was pretty astonished when it took us closer to 10 hours to reach our final destination in beautiful Tonsupa, where we were to have our personal development course as well as a wrap-up of the 100 Voices research project. With my bags still packed, I fell asleep before my head felt the pillow.
With the arriving rush finally coming to a close, I have felt incredibly engaged and empowered during the past three-day personal development workshop. We participated in activities ranging from energizing morning yoga conveniently located ankle deep in the Pacific Ocean to a group salsa lesson to contemplative blind walking. We even practiced communicating only with our hands in pairs, eyes closed, dancing to drumming beats. I couldn’t imagine a better way to get to know a more high-energy, high-potential group of international individuals.
As a final anecdote, when I decided to position myself in a solitary place to reflect and to write this blog, I had five of us participants seek me out to find out if something had gone array. If that doesn’t speak to the kind of dynamic characters I’ve found at Recrear, I don’t know what does.