Hey everyone! My name is Alice Blackorby and today I was the leader of the day! Today was our second day executing our Community Action Project at Centro de Educación Especial. It was a tiring, but overall rewarding day of hard work and positive attitudes! Although we had some road blocks along the way, we accomplished many of our tasks and had a great time throughout!
We started off our day at 8 AM, later than any other day of the trip! Everyone was relieved to have some extra sleep although for a lot of us our internal clocks still woke us up at 6 AM! After we all woke up and got ready, we headed to the comedor for breakfast at 9. For breakfast we had pineapple juice and nacatamal, a tamale wrapped in a banana leaf. It was a traditional Nicaraguan dish that none of us had ever had before. After breakfast we headed back to the hostel to quickly grab our things and head to the school for our CAP! We boarded the bus for one of our favorite activities, riding on the bus with the windows down and music blasting! Once we arrived at the school we quickly did an energizer to get everyone ready to put in their best work!
After playing the watermelon game everyone was excited and ready to continue painting, cleaning, fixing, etc. The group assigned to clean up the bus area demonstrated amazing creativity in their methods. The bus area included all sorts of items that needed to be removed for example, broken shingles, wire, trash, and wood. Due to a miscommunication, the group didn’t have access to wheelbarrows or shovels, but instead of giving up or waiting around for the materials to arrive, they took action. They created their own removal process with a wood ladder and a sheet of metal as you can see in the picture. It was a great idea by Kasie and executed by the whole group. The bus area was nearly finished by the end of the work day and I was very proud of the group for persisting and working hard to get the job done even without a lot of resources.
The painting team, which I was a part of, was also very hardworking and successful! Although the day before we had to change our plan of action for painting because of our budget, the project was still very successful. All of us worked hard to first sand down the walls on the outside of the building and then clean up the walls with rags. After the walls had been prepped we thinned out our paint with water and got to work. Some people focused on detail work while others painted the walls or the pillars.
We had another group working on painting the bathroom between the first and second grade classroom. I really appreciated how flexible everyone was throughout the day, working on whatever project needed help. The group working in the bathroom was particularly impressive because of the lack of air flow in the tiny room and the strong paint fumes. They all worked tirelessly without complaining to paint the room well!
We took a break for lunch at around 1; I drank dragonfruit juice, rice, beans, chicken and a tortilla for lunch! There were lots of different meat options that were prepared for us. The comedor brought us food to the school, so we didn’t have to waste any time busing there and back. We all took a much deserved break from all our work to enjoy our meal. Afterwards some people chose to play a little game of soccer while others enjoyed the playground! We may have been a little bigger than the intended playground goers, but it was a lot of fun! It was a pleasant reward for all the hard work we had put in. After we had our lunch break we headed back to our groups and continued on our action items.
I took breaks from painting now and again to circulate around the site and check up on each group. Once when I was checking in on the bus clean up group, I saw a group congregating in a circle and walked over to see what was going on. The next thing I saw was Tresha holding a toad that she had named Gunther! The group saw a huge variety of insects and creatures everything from snakes to toads! Seeing Tresha holding a toad was probably the most surprising part of the day! After the clean up group had made serious headway, they offered to help the painting team. It was really cool because even without being asked, they offered to help. Others switched places with the people working in the bathroom to give them a break from the cramped space! The teamwork and kindness was really awesome to witness.
At about 3:30 we took a break to eat mangoes and bananas! We got our hands really sticky, but it was worth it because they were delicious! Afterwards at around 5 we headed back to the hostel. The nighttime activities included a very necessary shower, a program seminar, dinner and our consistent nightly meeting!
My day as leader was a great learning opportunity for me. I’m not a loud person and sometimes have trouble projecting my voice, but being in a situation where I had to work on those skills was really important. I learned today to be more sure of my leadership skills because faking it until you make it is a real thing. Not every leader has to be loud, quieter leaders can also get the job done. I’m so proud of all my fellow glimpsers for all that we accomplished today! Everyone demonstrated great teamwork and effort overall! Not everything went according to plan, but the way everyone handled problems and changes was extremely admirable. Tomorrow we will conclude our CAP and resume our english tutoring sessions so look out for that blog post!