Leilani V: It all began the night before where we were crowned leaders of the day and the lights were shut off – this means that we had to lead the nightly meeting by candlelight. Before lights out our buckets had to be filled in preparation of bucket bathing as our water would be cut off along with the electricity. [Leadership Team note: this was in order to provide an authentic experience for our “Living Like a Local” Day.]
(continued) OH MY GOSH today was an early day. Waking up at 6:30 either to harsh knocks or an angelic voice saying “Good morning” we were in a state of disarray. Luckily, we all made it to breakfast on time and were greeted by a surprisingly delicious meal of bread and hot chocolate. Quite directly afterwards we headed over to Cañada de Las Palmas [a nearby community on the outskirts of the city] where we assimilated ourselves with the locals and had a firsthand look as to their routines while also established relationships in the few hours we had together set off by the best hugs of our lives upon our arrival. Subject to chores such as sweeping, cooking, and so on, we delved deep into their lives, however because they were such loving people, some of our groups were only left with the expectation that they only need to play cards and talk.
Lunch was hearty because we had a hefty serving of beans and rice along with salad. Followed by games and happy tears, we left with heavy spirits but uplifted hearts. Once home, there was tons of free time where we could bucket bathe and play games and yet, because it was Carissa’s birthday [one of our local Program Coordinators] (we love her a lot) we threw a sort of surprise party where we convinced her there was an emergency and we all “complained” about it in the suggestion box when the reality was what was in the box were kind notes from all of us especially directed towards her. Explore time was next for an hour and then it was just free time until dinner where we are writing this now. The others are off on their self reflections as this was an emotional day being accepted into everyone’s homes and treated as their own, fondness was bound to grow and this preconceived notion did not disappoint.
Jasmine Z: During our stay in our host families’ homes, we were eagerly accepted into their homes with open arms and dove into our chores. Many of us cleaned, mopped, swept or cooked for a few hours to get a tiny sample of what it’s like in the lives of locals. Through our interactions, we were able to recognize the true meaning of happiness. Though these locals had very little, they had an abundance of joy. The experience was eye opening, it truly pushed us to see that materialistic items doesn’t equate to happiness and that we should really count our blessings.
Amara S: After meeting with the owner’s of the house we all came together to eat, however before we ate, we all joined hands in Grace for all of us coming together and to thank God for the food. Being in that room at that moment had an energy that was indescribably warm. After, we all came together to play games and socialize. I played many games with the young kids and we developed heart to heart relationships with each other very easily. The games were simple and yet we all had an amazing time. A bittersweet moment was when we had to leave. I felt like the people I met no more than 4 hours ago were my family. I was so honored and blessed to merely interact with the families, let alone spend time with them. I can honestly say I will carry this day with me forever.