Sarah and Natalie here making our blog entry just about two weeks after arriving back here in America. Better late than never! This day was too special and unique to our trip, it cannot be skipped.
We began our third and final CAP day with the sweet sound of hands knocking on the wooden doors at an early 6 am. After two days of hard work, nailing, sanding, and putting all our energy into the kids hanging around watching us, everyone wanted those crucial few extra minutes of sleep. After a slow start, everyone managed to make it to our breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs, and a tortilla with a very interesting tasting cheese inside.
After breakfast we got energized for the rest of the day with a game called “fruits.” This got everyone laughing and excited to work hard! Shortly after the energizer, we headed onto the bus and made our way over to the HOPE project for our last day on the job. This was a sad yet happy (SAPPY) moment for all of us. This day marked the end of a few day period of playing and interacting with the children whom we built wonderful relationships with in such a short amount of time. Yet this day also signified the completion of a project that we came together to build that will forever benefit the children and teachers at the HOPE project.
As soon as we stepped through the door, we all got down to business. We divided into two groups in the beginning of the day: a bookshelf group, and a partition group. Before we knew it, everyone began helping each other on what needed to get done, and these groups ended up dissolving by mid-day. There was so much going on. Everyone was so focused and motivated to complete this project. There were people cutting new pieces of wood for the bookshelf, nailing boards to form the new partition, people doing last minute sanding of the boards, taking accurate measurements of the needed wood, and so much more. Our group was so wonderful in the sense that if someone needed help with a task, there was always someone there right by their side to help them along. There was always very little need to ask someone to help. In addition to working inside, there was various times we would travel outside the walls of the school/church and play with the little ones. We would play hand games with them, pretend to be horses and give them piggy back rides, poke each other’s belly buttons, in which created a game called “puh,” and really anything that entertained them. During this time, we really took the time to engage with these beautiful kids for one last time knowing we most likely won’t return. This was a hard idea to face, but as cheesy as it may sound, they will always be remembered in our hearts and memories.
Back inside, our wonderful team worked on finishing the project. We all came together one last time to finish what we set out to do. We finished assembling two bookshelves as well as one partition. As the icing on top of the cake, we all worked together to paint the bookshelves. With kids watching through the windows, and paint somehow ending up on various places all over our bodies, we finished our CAP. We all couldn’t help but stand back and look at what we all came together to create for these children. It may have looked homemade, somewhat scrappy, and slightly lopsided,but we knew that we put so much work into it, got the kids involved, and created something that can make a small difference in the lives of many.
Following our completion of the project, the pastor of the church gave us a short appreciation speech that really spoke to the majority of our group. So often, we as people, believe any action that we make is insignificant and too small to actually cause any sort of ripple of change. This pastor did a wonderful job at showing his utmost appreciation to the work we put into creating the bookshelves and the partition. He touched on the fact that this project as a whole will make a huge difference in the lives of many even if it seems small in the larger scheme of things. He reminded us all that we are never too insignificant to make a change. Any change is a big change and can help someone, somewhere.
After receiving this thank you speech after the completion of the project, it was time to head out for the last time. This was the most difficult part of the whole CAP experience for many of us. For all of us, the kids, and the school staff, we did not want to see the wonderful times we were having come to a close. Up until the last minute, kids were hugging us and chasing after our bus as it bumped down the road. Darvin, a kid who was so closely attached to Brian, managed to run after the bus for quite a while yelling to him as we headed down the road.
Although this exit was hard to go through, we knew that we created a difference in the lives of those kids and the teachers there. Not only did we, as a group, created something so beneficial, but those people in that community gave us so much as well. Not so much in a materialistic sense, but they gave us a newfound understanding of the importance of community, laughter, and friendship. We will always remember our time that we spent at the HOPE project.
After arriving at the Hostel, we had a bit of rest time to recuperate and regain energy, then most of us headed out into the city for our last bit of free time. It was again, a bittersweet moment walking around the city for the last time. We created such great memories there that it was hard to say goodbye, but we all made the best of it.
Following our free time, then yet another yummy dinner, we made our way over to our last tutoring session with our students. This tutoring session was different than most. It was geared as more of a fiesta 🙂 In our class, and from what I heard of from other classes as well, it was a time of dancing, singing, talking, laughing and showing each other talents. It was just a great time to spend with our students before having to leave. Tutoring these students has been a fantastic experience in both gaining new teaching skills, but also just getting to interact with people our age that come from such a culture and lifestyle. They were all wonderful students and we all wish them the best of luck in their futures. We will miss them greatly. After tutoring, we found ourselves at Besame, the most amazing ice cream shop, yet again. It is hard to resist such wonderfully made, delicious ice cream. Maria was kind enough to treat one of her tutoring students to an ice cream cone for his first Besame experience. It was a great way to top off our day.
We then came back to the Hostel, had our regular nightly meeting, then a time to reflect on the CAP project. Considering it was getting so late, we decided it was best if we all just headed to sleep especially with our early rise the next morning. (one reason why we are blogging two weeks late:D) This was such a bitter-sweet day as a whole. We created something beautiful, had a wonderful time with the kids and our students, yet had to say adios to so much. Despite our goodbyes, we will always remember the experiences we had. Este dia fue muy fantastico!