“RISE AND GRIND Y’ALL!” is what we said as we walked down the hostel halls waking everyone up for our big day.

Waking up to begin Day 3 of our Community Action Project was filled with determination, enthusiasm, as well as sleepiness (due to the fact that we woke up very early). We arrived at Guanito at 7:30am and didn’t leave until around 7:00 pm.  All 30+ of us made ourselves busy by either, welding benches, painting tires, mixing and laying down cement, building play structures, repairing slides, and most importantly playing with the local children as they were eager and anxious to begin using the new and improved park. We were greeted with open arms by mothers in the community who generously opened their houses for us to enjoy our lunch after a long day of hard labor. After lunch we went back to work, and a true transformation was beginning to appear before our eyes. At first we felt as if our project had been a bit “too ambitious”, but by the end of day 3 we were proud of our completion.

While working on our tasks we made sure to bond with the locals and make as much conversation as possible. Local community members from ages 10 months to 60 were all positively involved in the project. After our long hours of labor that consisted of sweating, getting sunburned, and getting bitten by mosquitoes, we proudly stepped back and looked at our final project with awe. Children were already playing and parents were already sitting on the newly constructed and painted benches. It was finally time to say our bittersweet goodbye in our ritual of “Big Love.”  Everyone who took part in this endeavor stood in a circle and began to thank each other for their time and effort. It was difficult saying goodbye to those who now have such a special place in our hearts. We were overwhelmed with group hugs, kisses, and tears when we departed. We drove past the park for the last time as we made our way back to the hostel. We were left with memories, a feeling of accomplishment, hundreds of photographs taken with the community, and the sweet words of being told “we’re always welcome back to Guanito”.

Julia & Jasmine <3