“If you want to change the world, be the change.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Hello everyone, the Leaders of the Day were Kaliyah and Sherry and today was the closing of our Community Action Project (CAP). We first began the day with a 7:00 am wakeup call and we ate a really nice breakfast which consisted of fresh cantaloupe, pineapple, scrambled eggs, and toasted slices of bread. After breakfast, we transported to the community of Colonia Kennedy to continue working on our CAP Project only to find out that after we left yesterday, the community finished the inside of the court after their work hours to help us out. This really meant a lot to us because they took the time out of their busy schedules to come and help during and after our delegation’s time to work there. It really showed the dedication and passion that they have for their community. Although the basketball court was done, the benches, floor, artwork on the walls and side of the court still had to be painted so we got to work as soon as we arrived.
As leaders of the day I (Kaliyah) and Sherry began delegating tasks for painting each side of the floors around the court and monitoring the duties of those who weren’t feeling so good from the last CAP days as well as the amount of water that people were drinking in order to ensure that they were hydrating. After spending four hours working on the “cancha” which means basketball court, we are proud to announce that we are officially DONE with our CAP Project! This experience was truly a team effort with the help of the community members, both children and adults, and among our delegation as a whole.
Since it was the last day of the CAP Project, we began our lunch with the community with “big love” shout-outs to really show our appreciation for all of their hard work but most importantly, for allowing us to share space with them and allowing us to come into their community and help them do something that would be useful for them throughout the year. Being a leader today was actually a little bit more intense than I thought it would be but it wasn’t something that I had to stress about all by myself, thankfully. Having Sherry as my partner leader really made today easier because we both had similar leadership styles and we were very intentional about sharing space equally instead of our leadership being one-sided. I intentionally chose this day to co-lead because it was closer to the end of our trip so I wanted to have the opportunity to learn from all of my peers’ leadership skills and styles and then apply them on my own day. Reflecting back to the question of the day, “What will you take away from your CAP experience to apply to your lives back home?” Personally, the importance of community service has always been of high value for me but I’ve never really got to really serve my community in the way that I did here. I think just involving myself in more community service projects back home that will be useful for my context will be something that I will apply to my life back home. I really enjoyed every part of the day and I hope that you enjoyed reading about it. WE MISS YOU AND CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU SOON!
After our heartwarming lunch with the community, we were told by our program coordinator that we were getting on the bus to transport to our next activity, which was originally understood to be a water fight. Instead, we were rewarded with the surprise of going to a water park, the Constanza Family Park!! We scrambled into the park and enjoyed the water for three hours. Within our time there, we swam, played volleyball and slid on the water slide a bunch. We were sad to leave but when we headed back to the hotel at around 5, we freshened up quickly and we were able to enjoy our last bit of explore time in the town. We split up into smaller groups because we all wanted to visit different places. Unfortunately, we totally forgot that today was Sunday so most of the shops were closed. All the groups coincidentally ended up going to our favorite ice cream spot, Bon. We were able to sit and indulge into our delicious sweets and held some interesting conversations with each other, and around 6:15 pm we all headed back to the hotel for our CAP debrief. During our debrief, we discussed our strengths as a group, and how we exercised those strengths during our Community Action Project. We mentioned that some of our strengths were how we are very communicative with one another, and how we were very mindful of how much break time everyone was getting. The question that sparked the most emotions for me personally was, “what was something about the Community Action Project that you were very proud of doing, seeing, hearing or feeling?” My answer to this question was being able to see the smiles of the community members after we finished renovating the court, it made me feel very happy and accomplished. After our energizing debrief, it was time for dinner! Today’s dinner had a special theme, a Thanksgiving dinner. The reason for the Thanksgiving theme was because as our last days here are winding down, we wanted to have a cozy family-like dinner to reflect on the abundance that we are grateful for. We also held an amusing Q&A with our beloved food providers, Franklin and Miguelito and we got to know them better. We ate filling plates of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, rice and beans, Gordon bleu chicken, Russian salad, sweet rolls, flan and many more items. After dinner, we held our nightly meeting and it was so bittersweet because we’ve finally come to the realization that we are going to leave this beautiful city and friendships very soon. Just as the night was about to end, we received another surprise and we got to meet the other delegation which is from New York. It was so pleasant to get to know them and hold a dance party with them on the rooftop of our hotel.
Being Leader of the Day has taught me many things about myself and the peers around me. I’ve learned my strengths and weaknesses and how the people around me are always there to support me. I am super grateful to have Kaliyah as my partner because first and foremost, she has such positive energy and always has a smile on her face and secondly, we have similar characteristics that made leading the day with one another go very smoothly. I personally chose to lead on the last day of CAP because I am the type of person who wants to see the start and end of a process. I really wanted to be able to finish the project before leaving the country, so being a leader on the last project day suited me because I was determined to give it my all and cross the finish line and finish the project. I am super proud that we were able to finish our project within three days because I know that previous delegations weren’t able to do so, so I take pride in the fact that we were able to accomplish all that we did. I hope that if my loved ones are reading this that they know I miss them all very much and I’ll be home very soon!
Kaliyah and Sherry