Hello! Our names are Zoie and Claire, and we were the Lideres del Dia today for our Living Like a Local day. Today, we were not afforded the privilege of using electricity as we do every day at home. This meant using a bucket of water in order to shower or using a candle to see when it got dark. This morning, we woke up at 6:30 and enjoyed a simple breakfast of bread

Mercedes and her son spending time with GG students

and water-based chocolate. Following our seminar on our activities for today, we took a bus to the community of Bejuco Aplastado. As we looked out the window on the way to the community, we watched as the terrain changed from a smooth roadway to the rocky dirt road that led up to the community.  Our surroundings also shifted from more of a neighborhood to the backdrop of mountains and farmland.

At Bejuco Aplastado’s community center, we were introduced to several members of the society. The Glimpsers were split into groups and had the opportunity to see the home and lifestyle of a community member. This day was extremely enlightening because all of us approached the events with an open mind and were pleasantly surprised. Each and every member of Bejuco Aplastado was excited to share about their lives. Despite living in poverty, they expressed such love and devotion to their community that everyone began reflecting on the things we taken for granted.

CAP Discovery groups.

A lot of people played baseball on the field or walked down to the river to cool off in the water and see the beautiful landscape of mountains. Around noon, the community shared a wonderful meal of rice, pork and green bean salad, which gave us more time to learn about the families. We also got to discover our CAP, or Community Action Project, at the community. Our task will be to help community members build a new concession stand by their baseball field so as to bring more business to their community and add convenience for visiting baseball teams. Tomorrow, we will begin designing our plan of action for the CAP project.

Later in the afternoon at accommodations, we had time to relax and reflect on what we had learned that day. Following relaxation time, we were able to spend time with some of the children at our accommodations and our ambassadors. Some played basketball or volleyball, card games, or just sat in the rooms to talk. This second half of the day was a chance to decompress after an emotional day with the families of Bejuco Aplastado. Dinner was another simple meal of hard-boiled egg and green bananas. Our last meal was followed by a self-reflection period during which we discussed our experience at Bejuco Aplastado in small groups. This gave us a chance to bond more as participants of this program and learn about the experiences of those who were introduced to different families. Our last order of business was our nightly meeting, which included input from Marcela and Eliza from GG headquarters. The meeting was very successful because everyone contributed more of their thoughts regarding the topic of the day. We all agreed that the people of Bejuco Aplastado taught us to be more grateful for what we have and take pride in where we live. Overall, today was an unforgettable experience that everyone will take back to Chicago with them!