"Through my trip to Puerto Rico, I learned how important community connection is in all aspects of life. I learned this through experiences with Modesta and Manuel and engaging with Puerto Ricans through the Spanish language. From learning about community during the trip, I have come to better appreciate the Porter’s community now being back on campus!" Maren Frey ‘23
Puerto Rico Reflection
From the second I stepped off the airplane in Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, I knew that my experience in Puerto Rico would be one of a lifetime. However, I did not know what would make the trip so memorable. But, after eight days of learning and immersion into local culture, I realized that the community connection and love my group experienced was what made our time abroad so special.
Throughout the trip, my group met with many community leaders in order to better understand Puerto Rican culture and the work we were doing. One leader we met was named Modesta. Modesta told us about her experiences in her town of Loíza, where she works to help young children and adolescents. During our time with Modesta, she explained to us that her Church is a community center for all who are struggling and that during Hurricane Maria, her Church provided resources and food to all in need, regardless of their religious affiliation. She spoke with love and exuded a sense of communal joy. As I painted the fence of Modesta’s church, I felt inspired knowing that the work I was doing was going to help a close-knit and connected community. Modesta showed me how loving your community (and other communities) is so powerful.
Additionally, my group went to APRODEC, an ecotourism center in Ceíba. At APRODEC, we learned from the President of the organization, Manuel Martinez, about his work. He spoke about the work he was doing in order to rebuild his town after the American occupation of the area for a naval base. He told us about how much both local and volunteer communities meant to him. He said that his hard work was inspired by his love for his hometown and community. Once again on this trip, I learned how much impact a community can have on oneself.
On our last night of the trip, one of our group leaders, Sarah, taught us the word “ubuntu.” Ubuntu, originating from South Africa, translates to “I am because you are…” Though I had heard this term in my eighth grade World Cultures class, I had never truly felt the word in action. But this changed in the circle my group was sitting in at our hotel. As I looked around the group, I felt love and community with each of the 17 students I had traveled, learned, worked, and laughed with. I thought of Modesta at this moment, and how I was now feeling that community connection and joy she had spoken about.
Through my trip to Puerto Rico, I learned how important community connection is in all aspects of life. I learned this through experiences with Modesta and Manuel and engaging with Puerto Ricans through the Spanish language. From learning about community during the trip, I have come to better appreciate the Porter’s community now being back on campus! I know that my memories from my 9 days in Puerto Rico will last a lifetime.
Maren Frey ‘23
If you’re interested in finding community with like-minded girls,
please Join PCGL for Global Seminar Series
The Climate Crisis: From Acknowledgement to Activism
April 9, April 23, April 30, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EST on Zoom
Cost: Free! Learn more: https://pcgl.porters.org/global-seminar-series/
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