Today was the beginning of the end…I know that sounds a little morbid but it was the beginning of the end of our trip. We finished a lot of activities today: our Community Action Project (CAP) at El Platanal and English tutoring lessons. It was a very emotional with all the goodbyes but still inspirational because of the amount of love and care exchanged in such a short time with El Platanal and the students at tutoring.
As leaders, Alissa and I had to start our day at 6:30 AM for a 7:00 AM wake up call. I never realized how hard it was to get 22 seventeen year olds up and ready in 40 minutes. After our usual Quiero Mas breakfast, we began our day with the final day of our CAP project. Since we had accomplished so much yesterday, more man power was allotted to the bathroom group and to new projects such as the mural. The community members who came to help guided us and were able to influence the project to cater exactly to the needs of the school and larger community.
The shelves group was able to complete all of the shelves promised to the school on the first day. They even had a chance to paint them. On the second day, they used extra wood to create a smaller shelf, repair an old one, and put backings on some of the shelves. The parents did much of the sawing and hammering leaving only room for a few shelf group members to help out. Members without jobs worked on completing the small chairs project that started the day before. The first day they put on pieces of wood under the chairs for support. The second day they cut up pieces of a sleeping bag and hammered in cushions.
The garden group (the best by far) watered and checked on their newly planted seeds. There was not enough room to plant more seeds so the garden group found new jobs to do.
The bathroom group completed their entire project on the second CAP day. Because they lacked materials, they assisted other group the day before. They were able to successfully clean the bathroom, paint the inside and outside, create door and attach it. Working tirelessly with the help of the parents, each group member hammered at least one nail and painted at least one concrete square.
Over the course of two days, the painting group was able to repaint all the walls of one classroom and paint the ABC’s and numbers 1-20 on the wall. Carina and Javi’s neat handwriting made the numbers and letters look professional and as if they were done with stencils.
The mural group, led by Thalia, had paintings of shapes, scenery and animals. Drawings done by Linda, Jenny Shen and Thalia were cute and colorful. Once done with projects, many people helped finish the mural by outlining shapes or filling them in with paint. Cordelia was able to involve some of the students at El Platanal by having them paint a heart of the body of a lion on a mural.
Before lunch, the parents had to leave to go home to their families. In order to say goodbye we had a little circle in which students recited poems, parents and teachers spoke and where Alissa and I spoke, thanking the school for all of their help. It was amazing to see how the community and Global Glimpse came together to improve the lives of the kids. The school presented us a gift in which Alissa and I accepted for the group. Seeing the parents and the two head teachers filled with tears and joy made me realize that not only had we provided a service for the school but we created a new community, consisting of members of El Platanal and Global Glimpse. This sense of community is something we will all continue to share, no matter how far apart we are.
As leader of the day, I had to check the progress of each group periodically. At first this was a challenge because every time I would begin to help one group, I would have to stop and check the progress of others. In the end, I had to stop working on any project and make sure that everyone had a job at all times. I ended up speeding up the cleaning process by having some clean while others wrapped up their projects. The efficiency allowed us to finish on time and get out of the approaching storm.
English tutoring also ended on the same day. The graduation ceremony was emotional, especially for one of our glimpsers, Ivy, who did not want to leave the kids she had tutored with Stely. After the ceremony there was a small talent show. I tried my hardest as an MC to welcome everyone to the stage with open arms. I participated myself in three performances. One was with an advanced student Kevin singing “Counting Stars” by One Republic with Otto on guitar, another was dancing Bachata with my student Silvio, and the last was singing “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran with Andy and Michel. The two highlights of the show were Eric and Ryan’s duo (Eric rapping, Ryan dancing/ flipping) and Chris’s break dancing. Bringing the energy level up was hard at first but as soon as I got comfortable with pulling people on stage, people got more excited and the show became more comfortable. This became my highlight of the day because I love to bring my own energy to a group. By pushing people outside of their comfort zones, they get to experience new things and feel the rush of emotions, only creating wonderful memories.
Hola, I am Alissa Castro, today’s leader of the day (El Leader Del Dia). Today we finished our final day on our Community Action Project. It was also our last day of English Tutoring, so we had our Tutoring Graduation. This morning we woke up and had a delicious breakfast at Quiero Mas. We then headed out to the primary school where we were doing our project. The school is called El Platanal. At the school, many parents and community members as well as the students were waiting for us to arrive. They helped us by working on the projects that we had arranged. One of our groups remodeled the bathroom by painting both the interior and exterior; they had also built a new door with the help of the wonderful dads. The second group finished up building and painting cabinets for the kitchen. Our third group designed a beautiful mural for the children. They also wrote the alphabet and the numbers as well as repainted the kindergarten class. Our final group was the gardening group, which planted plenty of sustainable crops for the students to use and make meals. A couple of our glimpsers brought donations from back home and gave it to the school. It was great to see how happy and grateful they were. They thanked us with a beautiful ceremony where the children recited poems as well as songs. They also presented us with a memory of Nicaragua. After that, we presented them with our thanks-for the experience of working with them as well as working for them.
Later that day, we got ready for our last day of English Tutoring, which meant Graduation! As leader of the day, I hosted the event along with my partner Tessa. We presented the certificates by English levels, and after that was the talent show. It was great to see all the talent from both the students and other Global Glimpsers, and we definitely all had a great time. Some showed off their musical talent, while others recited poems. When the time came to say goodbye, many of our students were in tears. Although on day one English Tutoring was the one thing we dreaded, we had all bonded so much that many found it difficult to leave.