“The Road Less Traveled”

On July 2nd, Yessica and Carlos brought us to a community in “el campo (the countryside),” called “Talolinga.” They told us to keep an open mind about the community, and to observe positive features and features that could use further development. Our journey in the truck to reach the community was quite a unique experience for me. I have traveled on what seems “the road less traveled” before, with dirt paths and rocks as an obstacle. However, never in my life, did I ever consider the path that we took as a road. There were giant rocks and ditches in the middle of the road, and the hills felt as if it were the beginning of a roller coaster. At one point, the whole vehicle shut off as we were on the hill. We began to slide back down, but then the car started up again, and everyone sighed with relief, as we looked back down the hill to imagine what that horrendous journey would be.

After we reached a halfway point of our journey, we spotted an older woman on the road. This woman seemed fine as she was walking up the mountain with her straight back and ankles bending as she managed the rocks, but as soon as she saw the truck, her eyes were full of relief. Now I know why! I have no idea how people make that journey everyday! As I sat in the car, I thought to myself, “There is no way I’d leave this community if I were born here. I’d stay here the rest of my life!” I couldn’t imagine how resources were brought up to this community, and how often people ever got to experience the rest of the world.

When we finally reached the community, everyone was bustling with excitement. Not only us in the truck who were so thankful to have made it up the mountain in one piece, but also the school children who waved their greetings, and the women who were at the communal waterhole washing their vegetables, meat and clothing, and the men who slowed down their horses to observe the visitors in the truck. We were greeted with such welcoming smiles, that immediately their community felt like a safe and trustworthy environment.

Though we only spent one night in Talolinga, I felt like I had the chance to learn so much about their community. We had tons of agricultural tours, and we even had a chance to visit the school and play with the children. This community does not have a lot of material luxuries, such as, a concrete floor or many windows for ventilation, but what they do have is what I consider the richest quality of life. They make time to communicate with one another, to be company for one another, and to build such a personal connection with another being, that it feels as if you’ve known them for years. It was truly beautiful to see children playing outside with one another, even though they were mainly young boys (though that’s another concept that needs further discussion, but not now), and it was also beautiful to see a community so strong because of the way they make life so intimate.

After the trip, we were asked what this community could use for further development. I really think that a nicely paved road would be of a lot of assistance. However, the road that led up to this community was truly a “road less traveled.” I wonder if a road were to be built, what would happen to that special feeling of intimacy as the community will have more and more access to bringing entertaining luxuries up to their home? I wonder if a road were to be built, will men and women want to stay in this community, or would they be more willing to abandon it? The rocky road was a great obstacle indeed, but in this world, I can’t name one beautiful thing or person that has reached their true potential without a rocky journey. I just hope that however the community chooses to take action, they will never forget the beauty of their home without further development.

Tiarra Riggins ’17