I am writing many thank you cards, but I can’t express enough gratitude to everyone who helped me far surpass my goal of $4,000. (I think I’m sitting at around $6,000) There have been countless notes of encouragement. There has been unexpected support via generosity. It’s simply humbling and comforting to see how many people have partnered with me for my YAGM year. And since I’ve gone over my allotted goal, the support helps the program as a whole. That to me is so incredible. You all are making it possible for others who are struggling to reach their fundraising and allowing them to do great work around the world regardless of funds. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It’s also encouraging as I’m reaching the “oh crap, this is so real” stage. In 29 days I will be boarding a plane for Mexico City. It’s terrifying, frankly. This is not to say I’d ever back out. No, I’m excited and blessed to have this opportunity. I’m just human with fears about language and missing my loved ones back home. I haven’t had the time or energy at camp this summer to really dive into improving my Spanish as my type-A and less than proficient Spanish speaking self would have liked. So here’s to being vulnerable, putting myself out there with all the mistakes, and praying I find the strength to do it over again each day. Here’s to the great unknown.

Here’s something I know, however. I received my site placement! I will be working at a labor rights firm in Mexico City called Proyecto de Derechos Economicos, Sociales, y Culturales (ProDESC). It is led by a feminist lawyer and although it is a small company, they take on corporations like McDonald’s. My specific purpose lies on their communications team. They have a desire to expand their social media presence and improve their website. Now, know that I pictured myself in rural Africa working with kiddos when I applied to YAGM. Expectations are altering! Lindsay and Omar (my Mexico program coordinators) placed me here for a reason. I can use skills I’ve been developing the last 5 years and I hope I will be a positive contributor to the team. Urban Mexico will be just as meaningful for me as rural Africa. And what a great cause!

ProDESC website

Prayers for me as I finish up camp in the next week and a half. It’s been one beautiful and well lived summer in mountains, at day camps, and with wonderful staff members. I’m in love with Colorado and the friends I have spent the summer with. It’ll be hard to say adios but so good to say hola.

Peace to you all,

Ryana

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