In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is power to do it.
– Marianne Williamson
What have you learned working with the community and who is one person you will miss seeing? As the second day of CAP progressed, our delegation grew closer to the community at Las Cabirmas through a few lessons in construction and some dance breaks. Many of the community members here have shown us nothing but love, and there is no doubt that we will miss every single one of them. They have shared what they have and given what they can to us while we stayed and worked with them; Antonia opened her doors to allow us to use her bathroom, Felo taught us the art of laying cinder blocks, while Juan and Rafael showed us how to mix and maintain large masses of concrete.
Today, we had the opportunity to see the walls raised above our heads, while the foundations for the building were poured and the floor was leveled beneath our feet. Jesús, our bus driver, and Felo, a community member and mechanic, led the wall construction, while John, our program coordinator, pulled his weight gathering dirt for the floors. We knew we needed to focus in and make sure everyone was on task, due to overambitious planning and a less-than-stellar start, we were a touch behind schedule. Even today, we were slow coming out of the gates due to a forgotten bag of gloves (and snacks). Still, we managed to make up for the lost time with a rotating crew working on walls and a bucket relay to fill in the floors with soil.
Despite the language barrier between the community members and a majority of the Glimpsers, our communication became much smoother. A veritable pidgin language of gestures, sounds, and simple Spanish words developed between us and bolstered our efficiency in construction. While there were a few moments where people were sitting idle, much of our time was filled with effort and dedication. During our water breaks, though, people were not holding back on practicing their Bachata moves. Once again today, John came through, benefiting our productivity with his music choices.
A foray into the city yielded a crop of delicious grilled sausage, while the larger portion of the group stayed back to work on their appreciation letters and catch up on sleep. Apparently an hour-long bus ride with blaring music on a road with an abundance of potholes isn’t enough to rest up after a morning and afternoon filled with digging, stomping, and shoveling.
Today was a day filled with expectations of us as leaders, and we feel for the most part we were able to deliver. As the construction progressed, we were able to keep people on task and hydrated! Undertaking this role was a job made much easier by the ability to split duties between the two of us. We worked well as a team and tried our best to make sure everyone was safe and not itching the colossal amount of bug bites we have accumulated during our stay.
All in all, this experience working with the community has taught us gratitude, generosity and hard work. Spending time and getting to know everyone has made this experience incredibly valuable and we cannot wait to finish up our role in this project tomorrow on day 3 by pouring concrete for the floors and putting the finishing touches on the walls. While it looks like we won’t have the time to construct a stronger roof, we believe that we have made significant strides in the construction of the Las Cabirmas community center.