We began our day at the break of dawn – 6 AM. Since today’s theme was living in the community, we all had a meal of hot chocolate and bread for breakfast. Soon after we boarded our la gua gua (bus) to Canada de las Palmas. When we arrived we received the warmest welcome in the universe – tons of tight hugs and kisses from locals in the community! They honestly made us feel so welcomed and loved; as if we were part of their family. We were divided into six different familias in which we assisted with chores and spoke to the locals about their lives, beliefs, and dreams.
One group helped clean dishes while others helped pull weeds from the ground. There was even one group that helped bathe the kids! Then another group helped prepare the food for lunch with the locals. Specifically, they cleaned the rice, making sure that there were no burnt rice in the pot then they helped cook the meat as well as stirring the broth. When everyone was done with their chores, we played games with the kids. We all had fun working like a local there as well as playing with the kids.
Something I would like to emphasize is the fact that we were not here just to learn what life is like with limited resources, but also to learn that true happiness is not created from materialistic possessions. Sitting down in intimate circles with our familias allowed us to get to know them on a personal level. One thing that stuck out to me was that Justina Victoriano (One of the community leaders), told us that the community was always so thankful for food because sometimes they would go several days starving. Through her perspective, I know that I will take home the ideal that food is a something to be forever grateful for.
After completing our chores, we gathered in Junta de Vecimos San Rafael with the locals. We prayed before eating our meal of fried rice and a Dominican type of salami. All in all, Steven and I believe that the locals taught us more than anything we could ever teach them: simplicity is truly the key to a beautiful life.