What We Can Do

Kim Myeong-eun from Namyangju, South Korea

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‘What can we do there since we don’t even speak their language?’

This is what we thought while flying to Colombia, which is located on the opposite side of the earth from Korea, during the summer of 2019. Although we wanted to have a meaningful volunteer experience during the summer vacation, I couldn’t stop worrying that there might be nothing we could do as we didn’t know how things worked there.

However, our thought changed when we met officials from the City of Bogota. We visited the city hall, introduced ASEZ WAO consisting of young adult workers from the Church of God, and asked them what kind of volunteer work the city needed, and they were deeply moved. An official introduced us to the workers in charge of another department and to the deputy mayor, and they praised the activities of ASEZ WAO again and again. We were dumbfounded by their unexpected welcome.

The volunteer activity that we did with the City of Bogotá was cleaning a hill in a region called Alcaldia. The city officials explained that this place had a lot of trash and a high crime rate, and expressed their hope that our volunteer work would become a foundation to change the awareness of the residents. Although we had conducted cleanups consistently with the church members in Korea, that day we felt a greater sense of mission.

We cleaned together with the city officials, losing track of the time, and as a result, we collected three truckloads of trash. The amount of the trash was beyond our anticipation, but we didn’t feel tired at all since we were working with the Colombian members as well as the city officials. I felt joyful and rewarding, instead of being worried, “There might be nothing that we can do.”

Even after coming back to Korea, I often think of that day and look around me to bring a good change even with my little strength.