Imagine two rowdy teenagers at your bedroom door screaming “Rise N’ Shine” at six o’clock in the morning. You’re groggy from the day before, yet you are equally as excited to get started on your Community Action Project (CAP). Then you go about your daily routine of brushing those pearly whites and making your face a shade lighter with 100 SPF. And finally you are collected by your exuberant “los lider del dias” into the common room for the day’s activities.

As los lider del dias, we had to take the reigns immediately. After everyone got through their morning preparations, we went to the usual El Comedor for breakfast. For our meal, we had frijoles and huevos con vejetales and te di limone. To our unfortunate dismay, our usual scrumptious¬†frijoles turned out to be a bit sour. We returned to the Hostal ready for the day’s challenges. ¬†After getting everyone energized with a few rounds of jiggalo, we grabbed all our supplies and headed to our site, la Escuela de Hotel Con Corazon to build our jardin!

We immediately unloaded all the piles of wood and the rest of the supplies we would need for the project’s work. Gathering everyone together with our “GALLO-PINTO” call and headcount, we instantly created a skeleton for the day’s activities. We divided up the group based on preferences and expertise. For stage one we had a team preparing the sites for our planter boxes, painting the wood with varnish, and transplanting saplings. The rest of the glimpsers and kids who weren’t needed in the area that they had been placed in all went to the side to draw and expand their English and Spanish vocabulary.

Back to us. As liders del dias, we decided to split our roles into two parts: Andrew, the energetic, spontaneous one took care of managing the group as a whole in the AM, while Sofia, the motherly tree whisperer took care of transplanting and working with the local children. In the afternoon, our roles flipped. Our leadership function played out as so: Andrew would be more inclined to walk around and constantly check-in with everyone, making sure both the children and the glimpsers were being included, while also checking in on people’s safety and progress; Sofia veered towards working in singular groups, ensuring that the projects were child-friendly and making sure the projects ran smoothly and efficiently. To ensure that we got the day’s nutritional value, we got a plateful of stir fry noodles con pan and hibiscus for lunch.

These kind of days don’t go without bumps and bruises, a majority of which were situational. Other than the bus showing up late, we also had to constantly solve problems that involved teamwork, bad communication, and planning. On top of this, we got our afternoon rain shower, which delayed some of our progress, specifically construction. But despite all of this, we persevered. Taking into consideration our lider del dia motto, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader,” we kept our optimism and energy throughout the day, kept checking in with each other, and practiced the valuable tool of flexibility. The group followed collectively in tandem.

After finishing up as much as we could today for our CAP project, we returned to our lovely abode. We expressed our gratitude for our journey along this program by starting our final drafts of our letters of appreciation toward those who have supported our trip. After filling up our water bottles, we headed to El Comedor once again for the final meal of the day, consisting of gallo pinto, an everyday delicacy, tortilla chips, and coleslaw. With satisfied bellies, we made our merry way to la Universidad for our last day of English curriculum. The night was jam-packed with last minute lessons, surveys, and dance sessions. We rounded up our entourage and made the perilous journey at night to our Hostal to finish up the day with our typical nightly meeting filled with an overview of the day, waves of big love, and the passing of the lider del dia torches. We couldn’t have accomplished as much as we had without teamwork because “teamwork makes the dream work.”