This third story in a series about recent high school graduates from our partner community, the Sagrada Familia children’s home in Peru, features Yorki Paisij Ollarce. Yorki talks to Peru Community Manager Daniel Salazar about his childhood as part of this large community, and his hopes for a career.
Yorki, what was your journey to Sagrada Familia? What is your life like now?
I was three years old, so I really don’t know how I came to the Community. When I was told I was going to come here I was too little, and I didn’t know what was going on. I’m part of the older boys’ dorm: MLK (named after the American Christian minister Martin Luther King Jr.). I have had no contact with my birth family. My two younger brothers also live here. They are the only family members I have been in contact with since I arrived.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are your interests and hobbies?
I like using my free time reading a lot. I like to teach what I have learned at school, and helping kids who struggle with a particular topic. I also love playing soccer. But most of all, I love to learn. I always like to have a book close to me.
“This is my home, my family. I feel comfortable here. I’m thankful. I feel really blessed for all the opportunities that this children’s home, this home really, has given me. This is a family. Everyone here is part of that family.”Yorki
How would you describe your childhood at Sagrada Familia?
This may not sound believable, but it’s been amazing. I’m now twenty years old, and I have spent most of my life here. This is my home, my family. I feel comfortable and thankful, and really blessed for all the opportunities that this home has given me. I’ve learned a lot about life. When I came I here I was very young, very naive. I had not seen a single clock on the walls. Many times I was wondering the time, but I never asked. But there was this time that I was really hungry. I asked this kid from Cuzco at my dorm, “Hey, excuse me, what time are we going to lunch?” The kid went outside and looked towards the sun. Then he said, “No, it’s not time yet.” I was astonished by this. So I quickly asked him, “What are you doing?” Again, he replied, “It’s not time yet,” he said again. “Wait, what were you doing?,” I asked. “I was just looking to see if it’s time for lunch. Here we look to the sun, if it’s at the middle, then it’s time for lunch.” Later I found out that he was just messing with me. [Laughs] This community is a family. Everyone here is part of that family. Anyone who’s been here knows this, has felt it, and knows what I’m talking about.
How are you planning for the future? What are you currently studying?
When I arrived at Sagrada Familia, there were not nearly as many buildings as there now are. We didn’t have the soccer field or many dorms. So there was lots of things that we needed to build. As a kid, I would say when I grow up I will do this and that, I will build all of this. But I didn’t know what career would enable me to do that. Later in high school, I learned that the career was called civil engineering. Since then I’ve wanted to study civil engineering. I haven’t been able to earn the money to attend school for that, so I am taking marketing and entrepreneurship courses online. They would be part of a management and international business major. I would like to have my own business, maybe a marketing agency. Maybe doing E-commerce. I would like to travel.
What has been your experience with Global Volunteers?
Before the Global Volunteers came, we would have some volunteers coming every now and then. We were so used to seeing the same group, that we were excited to meet new volunteers. They were really cool. The fact that we see foreigners, it gives us a desire to learn English. But the only issue is that we always study English with them, and I wish we could do many more things with the volunteers. But they obviously help us. We visualize ourselves already speaking English. It’s a goal that you automatically set for yourself. So for the love of you, you will try to do everything in English. You want to listen to music, movies, in English, only to be able to communicate with that cool person you met.
What do you want people to know about Sagrada Familia?
Being part of this community has formed me, has changed me. It allowed me to see things differently, and the opportunity a lot of kids don’t have. I’m really thankful to this community, to teacher Miguel and Ms. Lili. I’m thankful to everyone who supports us, to those who come and even to those who don’t come but still help us.
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