For all of you who are not familiarized with the situation in Venezuela here’s a very short synopsis:
- Protests started over 2 months ago for 3 main reasons: violence, inflation and constant scarcity of basic goods.
- Over 200,000 people have been killed in the past 15 years (since Chavez government started)
- Over 40 people have been killed during this protest.
- There’s a large amount of students and leaders unjustly in prison.
I could write a whole essay about my country’s situation but those key points are just to give you and idea of what’s going on.
Anyhow, because of this, Venezuelan’s around the world have been protesting in creative and pacific ways. Some get together on the streets with signs and flags, others go to masses that are celebrated for the peace of the country and there was even a 5k race in Miami last weekend! But one of the forms of protests that people have been practicing the most is hosting Yoga classes for the country’s peace.
Maybe I’m wrong by using the term “protest” when I talk about yoga, but it has been a great way to create awareness and send good vibes to Venezuela and its people. This caught so much my attention that I decided to organize a yoga class where I live (Savannah, GA.)
At the beginning I was a little bit nervous because there’s not a lot of Venezuelans here; I didn’t know if people where going to support this initiative and had no idea of how I was going to put this event together.
My friend Jim told me he could help, so he put me in touch with the people at a local pizza bar on Tybee Island called Huc-A-Poos. Surprisingly they were GREAT! Heather (one of the owner’s) was so excited to donate the space that I couldn’t believe it.
Heather from Huc-A-Poos and Me
The next step was to find a yoga teacher. After asking around, my friend Natalia hooked me up with Kendall, the BEST teacher in Savannah, and she said that she was “honored” that we asked her. At this point I couldn’t believe how this people were so happy and thrilled of helping me when they have no relationship with Venezuela… AMAZING!
Natalia, Kendall and Me
After all this all I needed was for people to show up. I created an event page on Facebook , promoted the class on different social media platforms, a Venezuelan SCAD student made a flyer that we were able to hang in different places (thanks Carla!) and I even had a radio interview but, of course, that weekend was one the largest 5K here in Savannah and it was also the Orange Crush (think spring break in Panama City, FL. but in Tybee Island)
When I found out all this I started thinking “why did I get myself into this?, no one is going to show up.” People told me to change the date but I really wanted to do it on 04/12 since the protests started on 02/12 so it was exactly 2 months after.
Long story short, different people started to reach out because they wanted to collaborate with the cause… The people from Lululemon Savannah wanted to give us mats for those of them who didn’t have any but still wanted to come to the class, Becks from Boho Mobile Tans donated a gift card to be given to the person who gave the highest donation, Bobby gave me one of his books to raffle and a dinner for 2 at The Lady & Sons and Huc-A-Poos donated 3 bottles of alcohol to be raffled as well.
The big day was finally here and after a roller coaster of emotions the excitement was back!!! The sun was shining, Heather had a cooler filled with ice and water bottles waiting for us, Bobby and some friends came to help me set up everything and people started to show up! I was surprised with the turnout… 38 yogis came out and just 4 of them were Venezuelans, isn’t that impressive? The support we got from the community was just incredible, we even made $529 that are going straight to improve the conditions in the barrio of Petare in Caracas.
Yogis arriving at Huc-A-Poos
Bobby and Me
During the class
I can’t explain how thankful I am with all the people who helped us out and that showed up to support the cause! Our friends from Fleet Feet Savannah were amazing at spreading the word as well as the people from Lululemon, Huc-A-Poos and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
I believe that when we have big challenges or events in our future is normal to feel fear, loose focus and motivation. These are the moments where we need to lean on the positive people that surround us who can lift us up and help us regain perspective! #SOSVenezuela #LejosPeroNoAusentes