In Search of Home(s)
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Faith in Humanity

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
-Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver 
Time and again this year I have had moments that enhance my own faith in humanity. Moments that exhibit the unparalleled kindness of strangers have fostered some of the most valuable personal lessons of this journey. One such moment unfolded at over 3,000 m. (10,000 ft) above sea level at Monserrate hill, the highest point of Bogota.

A Colombian woman who noticed me at the top of the mountain came over and introduced herself. She was there with her family, including her three teenage daughters, and they had all ascended to the church to celebrate Easter. When she found out I was Greek, she expressed her daughters’ enthusiasm for my country and continued asking questions about what has brought me to Colombia. Her warmth and spirit were touching, though nothing could have prepared me for the end of our encounter.

I complimented the woman’s earrings, bid her farewell and started to make my own way down to the city when she approached me once again. Earrings in hand, she said, “you can have these. You also have a piece of my heart.” She insisted that I keep her earrings as a token of her appreciation for work benefiting communities of Colombian women, as well as a reminder of the love of Colombian people.

This is love I have felt in ample amounts in the three months that I have been here. Today I may be nostalgic for Easter in Greece, but I arrived in this country as a stranger in a strange land and I am leaving deeply moved, filled with memories and lessons and, almost unavoidably, filled with love.

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