I saludar-ed the president.
Yea, the president of the Republic of Colombia.
Juan Manuel Santos himself granted me a genuine, arm-grasping, cheek-kissing Colombian greeting. In person! I touched a Latin American president, you guys! Can you even begin to understand how exciting that is?
Perks of my new job thus far: A 3-person room instead of 6 at our orientation center. Teaching people who actually listen. 19 days of home cooked meals. Kissing presidents.
Ok, so a lot of Colombians don’t approve of their prez and they couldn’t care less – wrong crowd for my head-swelling. Whatever. I met the president. IT WAS REALLY COOL. It was also heavily based on publicity – Santos’ ratings are low so hearty educational face time can’t hurt, nor can an ambitious pledge to support 200 volunteer English teachers next year.
(Anyone want to teach English in Colombia next year? Seriously. Inquire within.)
Basically, our partner organization has some connections and got us a tour of the palace (normal) and about a 40-minute private encounter with the president (special.) Our smiling foreign faces showed up in the news (old hat for some of us) and the volunteers had a real glimpse of just how important and unique the WT program is in Colombia.
Needless to say, I really like my job.