Today was supposed to be one of the hardest days of this trip and unfortunately my assigned partner(Jodie) was sick. However, the good news is that Mia stepped up to become my partner at the very last minute. Even though today was supposed to be hard, especially considering that we woke up at 4:30am, everyone’s attitudes throughout the day really helped to ease our burden. After waking up, we took an hour car ride to the farm, La Canavalia, and had some difficulties, such as the tree falling in the middle of the rode, causing us to be behind schedule. Then we had a considerably big breakfast at the farm and split up the boys and girls into two groups. On the way down to the crops, we saw wild monkeys in the trees. The path down was slippery and muddy from the rain. The majority of the girls group slipped, but fortunately none of us got hurt. When we reached the crops, Javier explained to us about the different crops around us. Two girls from the girls group, Aileen and I (Yumei) were separated from the big group to rearrange the crops. Meanwhile, the bigger group of girls were sent to remove the weeds from the coffee plants. While the girls were weeding the plants, the rain came and went multiple times, but we still found ways to enjoyed the labor. We sang songs, joked around and also enjoyed the scenery around us. On the other hand, the guys shoveled manure, packaged fertilizer into large bags, picked fruits, rode oxen and enjoyed the scenery.
It is amazing to think that people only get paid $6 a day for doing 3 times the work that we did on the farm. We only worked 4 hours, but in those 4 hours we really learned to appreciated the arduous work farmers do on a daily basis. We never really think about how important a farmer’s job is and how farmers really impact our daily lives. After the hard work on the farm we had another delicious, big lunch. On the way home we got to really appreciate the scenery around us because it wasn’t dark anymore and we were actually awake.
Once we were back at the hostile we all had to change and take showers because we got very muddy and sweaty from all the hard work. The boys were also very smelly from all the manure they shoveled, despite the fact that they rinsed off before going back to the hostile. After getting back we had 4 hours of free time. In that free time we had an English tutoring prep and most of us went out to the cafés to work on our lesson plans. Some also stayed back to rest due to all the rigorous work we did that morning.
After a delicious dinner, we wanted to go to English tutoring earlier to play soccer with the students. Conversely due to the heavy rain we didn’t get to play soccer with the students. We’re glad that even though it was raining many students still showed up and were excited to learn more. It’s amazing to see that by doing something as little as teaching students some English we can really make a difference in their lives. We are connecting more and more with the students through more ways than we thought. Like last night, I (Mia) had a talk with a student about k-pop (Korean pop) and k-dramas (Korean dramas). Also, even though we have a language barrier, we were able to have long conversations and understand each other. These students are able to communicate in English more and more everyday. Yumei stayed back during break to help a student on his English. This felt really rewarding because the student’s attitude was so positive towards learning English. We are connecting more and more each day and it is really rewarding to see all the students progress and see them really enjoy coming to class to learn.
That night at the hostal we were visited by another board member and she was awesome to talk to. She and Eliza were fun to get to know and we all enjoyed having them here even for a short amount of time. The things we learned today were very valuable and will follow us into our everyday lives as we continue to grow. This experience may have been challenging but we all kept a positive attitude and pushed through the obstacles before us. Thanks to this amazing group of people on this trip, we were able to tackle this challenging day and have a lot of fun doing it.