Interviewed by Shelly Williams
In Part 2 of my interview with Patti Quintero, I wanted to find out more about SoulShine Colombia and their plans for providing clean water to families in impoverished areas. Having traveled to Colombia myself, I’ve been a witness to some of the poor communities outside of the tourist areas and how critical it is that they have access to clean water. Here’s Part 2 of our interview:
How often will you travel to the communities in Colombia that you are helping?
Our goal was to launch the first SoulShine in Cartagena during November , and we used this as our pilot program. We have already been invited to some places in great need in other Colombian cities including Bogota (the Capital) and through the Amazonia region in Southern Colombia. Being that we are both Moms with small children, we would eventually love to make some of these journeys with our kids too. We are also working on 2014 Seva Journey to Colombia, where we lead a yoga retreat where our guests not only enjoy yoga and relaxation, but they also get the opportunity to participate in the project.
How do you decide which families will receive water filters?
The inspiration for this first trip came from my strong desire to play a part in breaking the cycle of poverty for these young mothers and pregnant teens from Catalina Escobar’s non-profit organization JUANFE. She is a modern day Hero in my eyes. Someone who turned her personal tragedy into inspiration and activism, and in that has changed hundreds of women and children’s lives in Colombia through her organization which teaches them skills so that they can be an integral part of society, and care for their babies while they are there in school. Our goal is to bring filters to approximately 150 young mothers from the organization. We have already surpassed our initial goal of 10k so this means we can buy more filters and share them with more of the families living in extreme poverty.
Besides providing water filters to 100 families, when you visit these communities, what else do you plan to do and how will yoga play a role in this?
We are being hosted at Catalina Escobar’s non-profit organization JUANFE, which is a large center where these young teenage mothers come with their babies throughout the week to be educated as well as for their babies to be taken care of. I will be teaching them Yoga and Meditation, and simple ways to connect more deeply with themselves. I will be working with 150 different women throughout the week in groups of 30 at a time. I will also have the opportunity to work with new mamas and their infants, teaching them some different ways to connect and bond with their babies through yoga and massage – I’m very excited about that! Manduka has donated yoga mats, and I have hopes to eventually train a few teachers in the area so that the center can continue to bring them yoga as part of their curriculum.
What is your ultimate goal and vision for SoulShine Colombia?
SoulShine was born out of my own love and life experience with the practice of yoga and meditation. For the past twenty years it has been my sacred ritual to plug in, peel off layers physically and energetically, and polish the mirror so that the reflection is clear. My dream is to visit, empower and aid as many people in Colombia as we can reach. There is no limit! Yoga is within all of us, and as a teacher and mother I am inspired and passionate to share this practice which has supported and strengthened my body and soul in so many ways with my country and more…and the clean water element only adds beautiful dimension and vitality to this journey.