Alright y'all! Day 02!
We began the day at 7:15am with a wonderful breakfast on the courtyard. After loading the bus, we headed to the BRP offices where we met the rest of the BRP staff. We had a quick team meeting and then loaded the truck and the bus with supplies. Katie announced that we could ride in either vehicle, so there was a race to the truck, but eventually everyone was able to find space in the bed of the truck who wanted to ride back there. About halfway to our destination of the first Batey, Cuchilla, we stopped at a gas station where old friends reconnected. We knew we were getting close when the paved roads we are used to back in that states turned into a very rocky off-road surface. A few moments passed and we found ourselves parking our transportation in between two homes.
By the time our feet touched the ground after climbing out of the truck, we knew something felt different and our curiosity about this new environment increased. At first we all clumped in a group unsure of how to proceed in the community. One small boy stepped forward breaking away from the gathering of curious children and was immediately swept up by Katie, which ended up breaking all hesitation held by both parties. Before we knew it, we all had a child grasping our hand as they accompanied us down the street. The children constantly operated on a monkey-see monkey-do system. Once one borrowed a pair of sunglasses, suddenly we all surrendered our sunglasses to the delighted faces of the other children. We all definitely got a workout carrying the children around the community, some of us having multiple children hanging off of various limbs. At the end of our time visiting in Cuchilla, we said our goodbyes after many photos were taken to commemorate the moment.
We began our journey to the second stop on our Batey tour, Milton. On the way there, we passed by multiple herds of cattle casually grazing upon sugar cane. A truck drove by and was losing pieces of fresh sugar cane, so Jonathan, Katie's husband, prepared fresh sugar cane for us to try while heading to the next village. After consuming the delicious, super sweet snack, we arrived at the house of Yosenia, our 15 year old youth leader who is accompanying us this week. Her house was built by the BRP when the organization first started.
In contrast to the previous Batey, the children of this community immediately surrounded us and we were prepared with fun activities such as face paint and using beads to make basic jewelry. While some of us strung colors together with the children, others drew the faces of Spiderman and pirates on the rest. Before we knew it, an hour had passed by and it was time to make our departure back to the restaurant for lunch. After lunch, a group of us went to the office and collapsed on the cold tile floor for a quick nap. Soon Richie, one of the translators who works with BRP, woke us up and we were back on the road heading towards Los Robles to begin demolition.
Upon arrival we unloaded our materials and met the family of Nocilia. Within 30 minutes the house was torn down and we began to level off and clear the land. Many of us with arachnophobia had multiple scattering instances fleeing the area of massive spiders. We ran into a small issue with our wheelbarrow when we got a flat tire, but we manually finished moving out the remaining slabs of concrete and we leveled out the remaining dirt pile so that we may resume moving out all the dirt tomorrow with a fresh new wheel on our wheelbarrow. Our goal for the day was accomplished, so we once again headed back to the restaurant for yet another delicious meal. We felt sweaty and gross and we were all very relieved to get back to the hotel for a well-deserved shower. We completed the day with a team meeting recapping events from the day and what is to come in regards to construction followed by jewelry making and blog writing.
So long for now,
Kelly and Mansi