Today marks the day of our first Community Action Project (CAP) in which we were able to travel to the quaint community of Monte Redondo. The day started off with much luxury! We were able to sleep in for an extra hour which was a blessing and soon after we ventured to our go-to place to eat, “Quiero Mas.” We had the usual beans and rice with a delicious egg, sunny side up.
Soon after we went back to our hostel and were given a presentation on International Aid and Issues with Istvan from Raleigh International. Istvan explained the problems globalization brings to developing countries and how people in poverty are mistreated through misappropriations of funds and unfair work conditions. We were also shown clips from a documentary showing real life footage of the issue at hand. This was a real eye opener for all of us and I myself was shocked to see the pain and struggle that these people endure so we can get the shirts we wear or food we eat. Once the presentation was finished we ate lunch and then traveled to the villages where community action projects were executed by previous delegations and where we will also be planning our project.
The first village we visited was Los Pocitos and we were given a tour of the community hall where the past delegations had helped out. We saw a stellar mural displaying the water and pollution problem giving attention to the issue and how we could change our habits. In addition to the mural, they made signs and helped tend the gardens as well as refurnished buildings. Soon after we went to a school in Palo de Lapa and saw more examples of how the delegations had helped out. It was a very unique experience and there was so much green fresh plants and trees in contrast to our dry dead grass back home in California. The ground was rich with silt from the volcanos and every step I took felt as if I was sinking into the floors.
Finally, we visited the village of Monte Redondo where we will be working in solidarity with the members in that community and we saw the area in which we would be helping out. It was a small school for kindergarteners!!! This school was the only one in the third region of Monte Redondo. The teacher working there greeted us with smiles and the man orienting us around, Angel Andino, was telling us what was needed in terms of support at that site. He took us around the area and began to explain the trash issue in the village. Since trash pick-up day was only twice a month the ground was littered with trash and the few trash cans they did have were already teeming with trash. The front yard of the school consisted of silt, heavy overgrown shrubs, and two tables for sitting coupled with a nice zinc roof to keep it shaded. Angel explained that even through they cut the shrubs within a few days time, they grow back with full force so its a problem to keep it maintained.
After we got our glimpse of the outside, we went inside where the teacher explained to us how she teaches the kids and what they needed. She asked us for art supplies and a nice mural to motivate the neighboring kids to want to come to school and learn. We also learned about how the kids had a tendency to litter so finding a way to prevent this could be incorporated into our mural. Since the days are hot and humid, the teacher also mentioned having a fan or a way to get nice air inside for the kids would help in terms of the learning conditions. Also, we learned that the region frequently has dust storms so finding a way to prepare the kids for those times would be in their health interests. We then got a nice look at their playground and tried to find more solutions to some of the problems visible to us. In addition to renovations, Angel also told us planting a garden for the kids would be a fantastic way to motivate them to learn about the environment.
Once all of our questions were answered and we finished our tour, we went on the party bus hosted by our DJ master V all the way back to the hostel where we immediately ate dinner and finished the day teaching English to our super hip classes. This day was a lot of fun and the sights we saw was phenomenal. Hopefully these pictures can capture what the experience was for us so you all can join in our expedition.
As for myself, being leader of the day was a very interesting experience. Already having leadership roles back home, I was used to the whole system, but I still found areas where I was learning new ways to lead and handle the group. Our current group is absolutely amazing and we all really have each others backs. Although towards the end of the day I felt a bit nauseous and dizzy from the heat, I tried my best to stay energetic and alert so I could be the best leader I could be. For such an important day, I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead my friends throughout the day. I can’t wait to see what the future days will bring! 🙂