In-flight origami workshop, from Santiago to Patagonia

Mar 25, 2011

I have an idea…how great it would be if airlines could offer origami workshops to children during long flights. Well, at least that was sort of our luck on the 4hours trip between Santiago and Punta Arenas in the far south of Chile (real far! the southernmost city on earth!).  Not a flight attendant, but Marcelo’s very sweet and origami-talented seat-neighbour: Marcela (obviously, I loved her name to start with).

Marcelo and Marcela making origamis in the plane:


They used the food tray paper mats to make the origamis


Really, sometimes you go to places and you see wonders. And ultimately, you meet people and they touch your heart more than all the beauties around. Marcela is a school teacher for under-privileged children in a small town near Chiloe, an island off the Pacific coast in South Chile. The children in her class are all very poor, she was telling me. Not poor as we commonly think of it as they all have enough to eat. They are terribly poor because they desperately lack material to learn, to be stimulated, to broaden their horizons. Marcela learnt from a young age how to make origami, from a little Taiwanese girl who was in her class in Santiago. Since then, she has been improving her skills and passing on her knowledge to the children that she teaches to at school.

She was so kind and patient with Marcelo. I could only imagine her at school with her 30 pupils (a class from 5 until 14 all together) making red and green origami stars for the Christmas tree. Then Marcela told me her personal story, that 2 years ago she was hit by a car as she was leaving for Spain for a post-graduate degree in education. The accident was so bad that she’s had 10 operations since then, including one this week. Hence her flying with us today. Luckily she has recovered all of her very kind smile, and more. A strong woman indeed. I am sure that Marcelo will remember Marcela more than all the penguins we have seen this afternoon in Sono Otway.

Marcela, esa flor es para usted de parte de Marcelo. Gracias!

 

5 Comments

  1. Joslyn

    So touching and so true! That is such a beautiful story and to find such depth in the simplicity of your in-flight companion is just a testimony to the human spirit. Hooray! to Marcela for being such an inspiration!

    Reply
  2. andsoiwhisper

    Beautiful human being! I have been to Chiloe and event though it is a beautiful place in Chile, it is a hard place. I admire her so much for being a teacher and passing her patience and knowledge to under privileged kids in that corner of the world.
    I completely agree with you in the origami classes 🙂 It is a wonderful activity for kids that keeps them engaged for hours.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Reply
  3. ChantaleP

    There are good people in this world. And such kindness! How wonderful of her to spend time to teach your kids origami during the flight. I agree with both Anabel and Joslyn above. Have a wonderful weekend…

    Reply
  4. blair

    yes, it’s amazing the people you meet. i’ve had the good fortune to live in argentina and chile for a long while and there are lot of very kind people like marcela in the far south! if you have time, it’s worth the trip to go up to puerto natales (where i lived for a time) or south to ushuaia. it’s pretty out of the way, but if you ever get the chance to spend time on chiloe, GO! there are many people there who are willing to share their stories of the great quake and tsunami from many, many years ago… it’s a truly magical place.

    Reply
    • BozAround

      Sorry for the delayed answer..we stopped by briefly in puerto natales on our way to Torres del Paine. I would have loved to spend time there, it felt quite special indeed…what an amazing part of the world..I wish we had more time to explore chile as 2 weeks was not enough for sure..

      Reply

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