Hello! from Kevin and Neidy, today´s LDDs (Leaders of the Day). Today we properly started our Community Action Project- technically projects; we repainted the courts of the Carlos Garbay School for the disabled, as well as worked on a dark room for the school. Neidy and I were assigned to the former project, whilst a small group of six (Alejandro, Sanza, Mateo, Amy, Amelia, and Hazel) were painting the dark room. The purpose of the room, for those wondering, is to provide a space for therapy for students with sensory disabilities. Thus, it is named as such due to the black paint coating the walls and ceiling, as well as for the sensory boards positioned throughout the room (which are made of materials such as turf, foam, microfiber, sandpaper- essentially anything that provides tactile stimulation), though it had neither a painted ceiling nor the sensory boards when we first started.

The team responsible for the dark room, through their valiant struggle against the omnipresent smell of paint thinner, were able to paint the ceiling black, though not after suffering from multiple blotches of paint that rained down onto their faces. However, their task was easy compared to the team responsible for repainting the (basketball and soccer) courts. The Ecuadorian sunlight is brutal, as not only is the country positioned on the equator, but it is also 2,754 meters above sea level, therefore, we nearly lost two brave men (Isaiah and Dwayne) to moderate dehydration. Thankfully, I, Kevin Le, was an angel who nourished the fallen by running around the court with everyone´s water bottles. In addition, I ensured that no one would be afflicted with skin cancer by bravely nagging everyone to apply sunscreen every two hours- which certainly did not become annoying at any point. Neidy was Hermes- the god of deliveries; whenever our team had to requisition more supplies- more gloves- more paint brushes- more masks, Neidy was there to trek through the horrific air quality of the local mall to purchase our vital supplies.

Unfortunately, we were both cursed with a stomachache (and sleepiness, and a cough in the case of Neidy) throughout the day- thus, we had the Herculean task of managing the health of 20 of our peers whilst our own health was compromised. Thankfully, after laughing at the abysmal state of each other’s conditions, we managed to keep our morale high enough to push through the day. And so we learned of our incredible ability to persevere through pain, though we may have been (lightheartedly) criticized for being hypocritical for taking care of others instead of ourselves (with the majority of the criticism totally directed all at Neidy and none whatsoever towards myself).

It is now my time (this is Neidy). To be honest, throughout the whole experience, I found that our peers were very passionate about the project, despite continuously being punched by the sun (and Kevin metaphorically of course), which made me quite proud of them. After much hard work they were able to finish much more than expected with the power of friendship 🙂 (not really, but still) I found their ability to persevere through the challenges of the sun (and much more) admirable. I would like to say that we are no longer LDDs and have now passed the torch to Sanza and Isaiah!! You will be hearing from them in 86400 seconds. Shout out to Kevin and me for helping our peers survive another day, and to Paco for keeping me sane. Good night.