The gang with Alberto and Enddy, who both helped us a lot with construction.


Leo, Dale, Jessica, Whitney and Marya trying to act cool during non-construction time wearing construction gear.

After 12 hours at Hogar de Ancianos, we had finished our CAP project. It had been our fourth day working on the lavanderia and we were all tired, dirty, hungry and hard of seeing since we were working with flashlights in the dark.

Today was supposed to be our last Free Day to shop, hang out, rest, pack, eat… but instead we woke up before 6am with our one goal: Finish CAP. I had been hopeful that we would finish around lunch time, and at least have the afternoon to enjoy Jinotega and each other for the last time. But we all happily sacrificed the day because we were fully committed to delivering our best on the lavanderia for the seniors at the home, the laundry workers, and the whole Hogar de Ancianos community.

And we were successful. Dinner was postponed from 6pm to 7:30, but the last step (the door) was put up with the help of Belkis’s friend Enddy. The day had been filled with more of the same, like de-rusting tin and hammering in nails for wood walls, but also with new exciting things, like putting up the first newly painted tin on the roof and stamping our handprints onto the front wall of the laundry room. We had had two breakfasts, many snack and water breaks, a delightful traditional lunch delivered to us on-site, and then a lack of snacks as the daytime became evening. Along with a handful of other people, I got cuts and blisters from our hard work. I think my hands were the dirtiest and stickiest they’ve ever been, what with all the rust powder, green anticorrosive paint, dirt and mango juice they endured.

In between the construction work, I had a very intriguing conversation with Belkis, when we walked to get a drill from Enddy’s family. Nelly and Jessica had fun conversation with the seniors when they weren’t needed for manual labor, and Leonela had time to read some of her Harry Potter fan fiction. Jessie guarded the half-painted door by sitting on it for almost an hour while Ebneazer, Sir, Matt and Justin were cutting and nailing away. Mahdari made people laugh when the day seemed long, and Mithila and Liz were great project managers, communicating well with each other and with our team. Overall, though it took longer than we thought or wanted, everyone kept their spirits up and worked well to complete the project.

I definitely had not signed up to be El Lider del Dia for a CAP day, but I was glad to have the opportunity to test my coolheadedness under pressure and stress, something I would not have gotten to do if today had just been a Free Day. I’m just happy we finished, or else this blog post would have been very different.