Monthly Archives: December 2019

Assuming Christmas

Rodrigo Mercado
Executive Director

Our national context this year allows us to look at the Christmas holidays and New
Years with a new view. However, we are not only looking at them, reality invites us to
embrace it and live it from a new perspective. Although its message of peace and love
is still valid, this year this message presents itself highlighting shades of solidarity,
empathy and support.
Therefore, this Christmas beckons us to face what is happening, with necessities so
real that have been part of countless demands. On the other hand, a Christmas in
which business premises had not being able to dress their showcases to advertise their
products, just as mass media has been lacking propaganda. We could catalogue this as
a cautious and expectant holiday.
I remember my time in rural Africa for almost six years, where the celebration of
Christmas was related to music coming from the drums, the meals were shared and
simply understanding it as gratitude for life. I never saw a present when I was there,
one that would pass from hand to hand, or the invasion of mass media with their
“Christmas outbreak”.
The current reality in which we live today, demands of us to see Christmas in two
different ways. On the one hand, so we learn to understand the demands that come
from millions of people to have a better quality of life. On the other hand, it can be an
opportunity to have a more human oriented celebration, more like the African style,
where music, the closeness when gathering with others, sharing a meal and be
thankful for life can contribute so that this time Christmas can be more meaningful and
a very happy one!

Francisco Arrau

My name is Francisco Arrau, I am 29 years old and I have been married to Fran a little less than a month. I am a mechanical engineer and as such, I like engines, mechanisms, metallic structures and everything related to metal calls my attention, I am interested to know how things work. While I was in college I participated in the solar car project for four years and I believe that it describes my interests pretty well. 

I have been working as a development engineer for three years; I’ve been in two different companies, coming up with solutions that, somehow, make life easier for people. It motivates me to be able to design products that are useful, functional and that are long lasting, products that can make people happy and that are affordable.  

Fran has always told me, ever since we met five years ago, that she wanted to go to Africa, to be a volunteer, that it was her dream. We started dating and we agreed that when we were married were going to do a volunteering trip. And here we are! Married and in Africa. 

This is a continent that still has deep rooted needs; here there is hunger, malnutrition, people and kids die because of the lack of basic treatment, social and political problems, amongst others. I fell that we have a responsibility to take on these problems, that’s why we try to learn as much as possible, to see how we can help in a more efficient manner.  

Here, along with the community that welcomes us, we have a very concrete task, with the farm and the mission with the northern Samburu. It is very rewarding to arrive and be able to continue to work in a labor that one knows will continue through time, one with real effect. There is also the feeling that everything you do is nothing compared to the sea of needs that this continent has, that is why I want to learn, so that I can contribute in the best way possible, if not now then I will in the future.  

To every partner in Africa Dream, let me tell you that your contribution helps to accomplish a lot of tasks that are very important in Africa, so they can develop them and also maintain the ones that already running. Seeing the farm and how this makes an impact and helps improve the lives of the Samburu, one can realize how important the help is, literally, how vital it becomes.


Francisca Ossandon

Hi, I am Francisca Ossandón, I am 26 years old and I just got married with José on October 26; I am a Commercial Engineer and I am the oldest of 7 siblings.  

Before I arrived in Africa, I worked for Banigualdad Foundation that gives credit and training to micro entrepreneurs, the foundation gives them the chance to develop and make their business grow. Ever since I was a little girl I participated in the Schoenstatt movement, this left a constant and deep impression in my life, along with the example my parents set. I am truly happy to participate in volunteering jobs and missions, sharing with others in that very special environment.  

Doing volunteering work will allow me to share with other people and dedícate 100% of my time to do it. In Santiago, between work, things left undone and so many things we all have, it is harder to find time to dedicate it exclusively to share it with people. 

It is rewarding for them and for me to be able to share with different people, from other realities and cultures. Give myself to others in what they need, deliver what I can, be available is what volunteering allows me to experience. 

Choosing Africa to do this is due to the experience I heard from a friend that had been in Ethiopia and how the poverty of the place left a mark in her, how necessary help was and how, no matter the difficulties, people were happy. 

I am well aware that help is needed everywhere, in Chile too, and I want to continue making a contribution in whatever manner I can when I am back. Being so far away gives you the possibility to disconnect from everything and being more available for people. 

Africa Dream Foundation was essential for me, especially for its commitment to send volunteers where it is needed the most. They will not send a volunteer to a place just because he or she wants to help, they will do it only if it is necessary. The foundation makes sure that the volunteers can be a concrete help wherever they go and that is remarkable.  

I know that we are not going to change the world, but if a person can be a little happier every day with our help, by sharing, by helping, a smile or any other detail I will feel that all of it was worth it.  

Finally I want to say, thank you so much for supporting us! We all want to make the most of this experience, help in every way we can and come back to Chile to apply everything we have learned. I think that this experience, what we give and what we receive makes us grow as an individual and also, helps us build a better world.


Donar ahora


Santiago, Chile
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