Today we had an extremely early wake up call and I know very well that none of us were used to getting up at 5:30 am. But it was not too bad because we got to wake up and take lovely bucket showers that woke everyone up! We then went for breakfast, and realized that our meals were going to be a lot smaller than they usually are so that we truly get a feel for the way the locals here really have to live. After our breakfast, our field trip began we were welcomed into nine families in the Comunidad De Los Cipreses where the women in the families had prepared to share in their daily tasks with us. It was very enjoyable and we learned so much from talking to them. We provided lunch for the families and joined them for the meal. Arriving back at the hostel, we had a program seminar where we decided what our Community Action Project would be! We are going to finish building an additional classroom at the escuela to provide space for a remedial class. Those of you reading will be impressed to know that we donated over $100 more than what we need to complete the project! After this meeting we had yet another small dinner of chicken nachos, but it was delicious nonetheless. The last major activity of the day was English Tutoring, which was once again successful.
At La Comunidad de los Cipreses, we saw a community whose houses alternated between huts and houses with dirt floors, chickens and pigs ran along side the children, and where access to education was limited. Despite these challenges, the families appeared completely content with the simplicity of their lives. Although we had been warned the previous day about not feeling pity for the locals and to see them as living with pride and dignity, we can both say that all thoughts of pitying the families flew out the window as we found ourselves enjoying our time spent with the families; whether some of us helped with chores, cooked, or played with the kids, the happiness, love for one another, and purely welcoming nature the community embodied was definitely one of our more pleasant surprises. As Los Liders Del Dia, we were both anticipating exercising our patience and compassion for our peers following the early wake up call (because not everyone can be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning as Simone), yet we were pleased to see our fellow Glimpsers taking the 5:30 AM wake up call in stride and with as much enthusiasm as one can muster when the sun rises. One of the hosts, a woman named Ana, was a woman who laughed and smiled at her guests’ attempts to speak broken Spanish to her, and was someone who, despite her impoverished situation, always spoke and sang with a light in her. For her, the simplicity in her life seemed to be worth more than gold.
To be the first Glimpser duo to take on the mantle of ELDD, there were- of course- some bumps along the road. Sometimes there was a struggle to communicate the following plan and there was once or twice when our leadership butted heads, but through careful explanations and a collaboration of leadership skills and ideas, we found that a lot of work was cut out for each of us when we did the job right. Today, I (Simone) learned that not only am I best when I put my head together with someone else, but I actually know a lot more Spanish than I thought!