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Andrew Chekadanov

EXPL 292
Professor Green
April 28th, 2016
Engaged Learning Reflection
First off, I wanted to address the few class periods that we had before
we left for the trip. I thought that being able to bring in Father Flaherty and
learning about Peru was very important to the success of our trip. By learning
about Perus culture, history and people we were able to make some
expectations about what Peru was going to be like. These expectations
allowed us to go straight into the Agustino and immerse ourselves into the
lives of the locals because we at least had a little bit of background on what
the area was going to be like and some of the history behind why El Agustino
is the way that it is today. Learning about Peru prior to the trip also allowed
some of these expectations to be challenged, broken and exceeded during
our time in Peru.
At some point during the trip, it finally made sense to me as to why we
chose to go to Peru. It was not because it was the cheapest place to go to, or
because we were expected to change the lives of the people down there.
Sure, our service work may have given brief joy to some children or family
for that day, but the experience was able to open our eyes and make us and
even the people of Peru more aware of other situations that people live in all
across the world. In Adam Davis article, he argued that one performs

services, such as the one that we did, for their own well-being rather than
the well-being of the people to whom he is serving. Davis is correct in saying
that much of our trip was for our own betterment, to open our eyes and be
able to experience life outside of the luxurious bubble we call home in the
United States. Not only was this trip able to open our eyes, but it also
allowed the people of the Agustino, who probably do not see wealthy
Americans very often, to experience some aspect of life from our
perspective. The visit showed them another side of life, so that they can also
be aware of how others are living in this world, and maybe find some hope
that they too, one day, can escape the poverty that they live in. Or maybe
they do not want to. This relates to a poem that we read called Decisions, by
Boris Novak. The last few lines in the poem read: between hope and despair
choose hope: it will be harder to bear. This relates to our trip because we
may have made it more painful on some people by reminding them of the
fortunate lives that we live and the struggles that they go through. Like this
line suggests, it is better for them to have that hope that maybe one day
they too can escape the poverty. Even though it may be harder to bear this
hope and seeing us in their communities, I think that it can help them realize
that this hope is very important in trying to live a better life. Maybe they are
perfectly content with living their lives as many generations of their families
have in El Agustino. Either way, these people took strides to being a better
global citizen, just be acknowledging our presence on their land and
experiencing glimpses of how we live our lives back in the United States. So

maybe the point of our trip was selfish, like Davis pointed out, but it not only
helped us but helped the people that we met in Peru as well.
This goes along with Ivan Illichs article To Hell with Good Intentions.
Ivan believed that we middle class Americans should not try to go into these
underprivileged Latin American countries and try to help them out. His
argument arises from the fact that us middle class Americans have
absolutely nothing in common with that of the underprivileged in Latin
America. In this statement, I have found flaw after our trip. When we first
read the article many weeks ago in class, I immediately connected with
Ivans text. I understood where he was coming from and it really made me
question why we were even going on this service trip if, like Ivan says,
there is no possible way that we can connect with these people and help
them. Yes, in 10 days we may not be able to change their lives, but that did
not stop us from forming relationships with even the most poverty stricken
children and adults. There was one distinct thing that we all had in common
in Peru, and that was our love of soccer. As our coach Nate Boyden put it,
soccer is a language in itself. So to be able to connect with the kids through
the language of soccer really allowed us to build relationships, even though
they were very temporary. The excitement the kids showed when we were
able to run those training sessions out in El Agustino was surreal. They were
so enamored with the fact that we were soccer players from the United
States that they immediately opened up to us and we began connecting with
them. Just like Morton stressed in his article Starfish Hurling and Community

Service, we were able to build relationships and learn about the culture,
language, and people of Peru. We listened to and saw the struggles that
these people in very poor areas go through on a daily basis. Maybe we did
not change their lives in that one day, but we may have inspired one or
many children to continue with their love of soccer. After seeing how we
became relatively successful through the game of soccer, these kids would
try to imitate us in a way. This would prevent these children from growing up
and getting into drugs and violence like a very high percentage of kids in El
Agustino do. So, to hell with Ivan Illichs article. I saw firsthand how we were
truly able to connect with these kids, even though they are from such a poor
area, how maybe we were able to encourage some of these kids to continue
loving the game of soccer and stay away from the terrors that many can face
in El Agustino. Whether directly or indirectly, we were able to make a
difference even in the very short amount of time that we were in Peru.
From this trip, there is no doubt that we came out as better global
citizens. Madeleine Green was able to define the term global citizen through
breaking up the term into 5 different parts. In all of these parts, I think that
we can see how our trip was able to positively affect us in all of them. Her
first section was global citizenship as a choice and a way of thinking. The trip
to Peru allowed us to experience other parts of the world. From this, I think
we can now better (but not fully) decide whether becoming a global citizen is
something that we want to do and want to practice. If we were to make that
decision while only experiencing the United States, then we would not have

been educated on what it is like in any other part of the world. This trip gave
us that education and a chance to decide for ourselves whether we want to
participate in this idea of being a global citizen. The next section was global
citizenship as self-awareness and awareness of others. This trip opened our
eyes to the lifestyles and cultures of others places besides our own. It
allowed us to become more aware and realize that we are not the centers of
the universe. The awareness of others is so important in our society today,
because how are we supposed to function as social beings, if we are not able
to be aware of what is going on around us and around the world? Global
citizenship as we practice cultural empathy was the next section. This relates
to understanding how we felt as the minority in Peru, and being more
sensitive to minorities that we experience in our lives. Being able to
empathize with the less fortunate lets us see other perspectives so that we
are better able to understand how someone else feels and act accordingly.
The last section of Greens definition of global citizen included participation
in the social and political life of ones community. As I discussed previously,
the purpose of this trip was in some ways selfish. It was meant to open our
eyes and teach us how to deal with being outside of our comfort zone and
some strategies to how we can possibly make a difference in the future. So
much like Madeleine Green discussed, the trip, as well as learning about the
Chicago sports-based youth development organization allowed us to be more
aware of the poverty that was going on in our own community. From our
experiences, we are more aware of the poverty and violence that occurs in

the south side of Chicago. So to be a global citizen, I think it would be very


important to try and at least help out in some way in our own community. So
whether that is physically going to the south side and helping with events or
volunteer work, or simply learning more about what is going on in those poor
areas, I think it is crucial in becoming a good global citizen. We must take
what we learned in this class and in Peru, and apply this knowledge into our
own communities where we can make a difference over time.