As I reflect back on the past month of my life while in Uberlandia, Brazil, I think to myself how lucky I am to have been chosen to be a part of something as special as the CIIP Team in Brazil. I never knew that being in a country where I do not know the language could be so challenging, fun and interesting. I tried to imagine what I would be doing before I came to Brazil, and man was I surprised at the events that happened. I never knew my life would be changed forever, and it’s a good feeling!

What do you do when you come together with individuals that you have never been around? You work for the same company, but yet you are strangers. Well, you get to know each other, you share experiences that you normally never would have, you laugh together, cry together, comfort each other and you share a bond that will never be broken. That’s my definition of family and now I have a big extended family.  Each person on our CIIP Team has a special place in my heart and I love each and every one of them.

As we met our NGO’s, I quickly realized that no matter what barriers we had in the beginning, they quickly broke down. They were as happy for me being there as I was to be there. They treated me like one of their own family members. They treated us all like that. That is what helped when the low times came from missing my own family back home. No matter who you are with, cultural differences, age differences, etc., if you have compassion and love for one another, then you are assured everything will work out for the best. I was deeply touched by my CIIP teammates, the staff and of course the children.

I learned that if you keep an open mind, think outside the box and fully trust the ones you are with, then you can accomplish any goal that is put before you. When I was chosen for the project I thought about how much of an impact I wanted to leave when the project was over. Little did I realize how my life would be impacted by so many others. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have learned to see life through a different set of eyes. It’s hard to explain in words, but I know I am a changed man forever. The love and admiration I have for all the individuals I was with will always be locked in my heart forever.

My hope is that in the future, when we are all gone, that our legacy, our love and our spirit will linger on through the projects we accomplished and the lives that we touched. We all share a common bond now as we were the inaugural Celanese CIIP Team.  I especially want to thank Celanese, my company, for the opportunity to help with the organizations that we worked in. Without the support from Celanese this would not have been possible, and I will be forever grateful for being chosen for this project. I only hope I can share my experiences with others so they can see just how Celanese is a global leader in helping to make the world a better place today, tomorrow and in the future.

Editor’s Note: This is the tenth  in a series of 10 blog posts by team members of the first Celanese International Impact Program to Uberlandia, Brazil.