“Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.” — Mark Twain

Today’s experience of living like a local started of with off with waking up at 6:30 AM. For breakfast we had a typical villager’s meal of bread and hot chocolate, which was followed by a short mental warm up where we were given a short bio introducing our host families for the day. As we loaded the bus with water and food to cook, we had doubts about how our day would be like with these new families. Our doubts were soon relieved when we were welcomed into the community with open arms. Later on we were separated into 8 small groups.

While some of us started our stay off with coffee and chores, others went to the fields and got their hands dirty. For example, a few of us picked beans for most of the morning, spoke with the families, played games with the children (including childcare), danced, chased after the animals, took a walk to see the mountains, and had a discussion about religion.

After working up an appetite, we all met up at the Hunta de Vecino House for lunch, where we ate morro (rice with beans), ceviche de salami (rice with salami), and salada de papa (potato salad) that the students made with the community members. After cleaning our plates (no food waste!), we played games with the families until it was time to say goodbye. We each gave our community member a letter, gift, and big love. Our departure ended with a lot of hugs, tears, and new perspectives.

Our long day came to a closing after having yuca, batata, huevos, and salami before our daily reflection and nightly meeting. We passed the torch to Nicole and Wayne, who will be tomorrow’s leaders for immigration day.

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