Next Step Fitness and Pray for Chile...
NEXT STEP FITNESS
I've been meaning to take a video of my therapy at Next Step Fitness in Lawndale, CA and post it. Here it is from my session today:
A typical session comprises of stretching/getting up in the harness for 30 minutes, 30 minutes on the treadmill of 5-minute intervals with brief breaks in between and trainers physically walking me (as seen in the video), 30 minutes of exercise training (over ground strengthening) and 30 minutes cardio. For more information on Next Step Fitness, see: http://www.nextstepfitness.org.
While at Next Step Fitness today, I was wearing a shirt that said "España" on the front, which my sister, Jen, made with a listing of 15 bars in Long Beach that we used for a pub crawl when she was moving there in 2007 to get her MBA via a Fulbright Scholarship.
While I was doing cardio in a machine called the "Nu-Step" (which moves your arms and legs and you can vary the resistance), I was thinking that instead of the España shirt, I should have worn a shirt representing Chile, showing solidarity.
MY CHILEAN LIFE
For those of you who don't know, I lived in Santiago, Chile during our summer (their winter) of 2003 for an internship with a communications consulting firm called "Tironi Asociados" (http://www.tironiasociados.com). I was so very fortunate to meet and live with Eugenio Tironi and his beautiful family, Andrea, Pedro, Martin, Tomas and Elisa. We really bonded and cared for each other a lot. I was also fortunate to become close to Eugenio's extended family, namely Pablo, Carlos, Constanza, Nicolas, Justin and many more. They treated me like family for the few months that I was there and for that I will be forever grateful.
While doing the internship, I was allowed the special opportunity to participate in the Latin American community service project called, "Un techo para mi país" (A roof for my country), but specifically in Chile, it was called, "Un techo para Chile" (A roof for Chile). We went to a city called Lota and manually constructed houses from materials that were purchased via donations. There were about 100 volunteers between the ages of about 18 and 28 who went for 10 days for this effort. In our smaller group of about 10 people, we were able to build 4 of these houses in the 10 days! That means 4 houses for people who did not have stable shelter before!
View Larger Map
A map of the distance between Lota, Concepcion (earthquake epicenter) and Santiago.
I left with a sense of accomplishment, grace and humility as I learned about some of the poorer regions of Chile.
Today it dawned on me... I built houses in Lota (not professional, but better than nothing). The earthquake was in Concepcion, only 25 miles from Lota...
My Tironi family and friends are safe in Santiago. However, I don't know the fate of the houses or people in Lota, and most likely, given the proximity of Lota to the epicenter, it is nearly impossible that those houses we built 7 years ago were able to withstand the earthquake.
Please, please, please pray for those in Chile (and Haiti). It is so hard for us to imagine what it is like in these areas at these times of need because it is so hard to connect with them and the areas while being here in the US.
But today, it hit me harder knowing what I had come to realize. We should feel connected to these people because they are honest, loving, playful and hopeful people that had their world devastated, many with no more roof over their heads. Maybe there's a reason why you're reading this blog right now, because maybe I'm your connection to feel to these people. The news everyday can be so daunting, depressing and repetitive that we become numb to some of the true impacts of the stories. This stuff is real. There is a lot of work to be done to repair the damage, but for those of us who have given money or supplies or whatever and don't know other ways to help... just pray.
Believe in the power of prayer. It has worked for me. Those who tell me that I've been strong or encouraging in my recovery process, I could not have done it without the support of those around me and the support of the Man above.
Let's bond together and make prayer work for those in Chile.
I don't have many pictures on me right now of my life in Chile (those are at my parents' house), but I was able to dig up a few that I had scanned a few years ago.
Top: A student studying in Chile (Brandon Possin), Andrea Tironi, Eugenio Tironi and me.
Bottom: Pablo Tironi at our skiing/snowboarding trip in July 2003.
Top: Me snowboarding black diamond and making my own paths on the mountain!
Bottom: Pablo Tironi, doing his best impression of a pro skier!
Top: Me and another volunteer with a bunch of the local kids in Lota. It was raining off and on, so we wore rain gear.
Bottom: The first happy family with a new house!
Top: The house almost complete.
Bottom: Inside a completed house with the family and the volunteers.
2 more happy families in Lota, Chile with new houses!
Top: Rottweiler puppies that they were giving me and I was so tempted to take them home!
Bottom: One of the volunteers, and I think he actually did take a puppy home!
Top: One of the equipment trucks with the logo.
Bottom: Completely randomly ran into a Fisher Hall dorm-mate (Todd White) who did the project as well. I had no idea that he was even in Chile, and we saw each other in Lota!!!