It was our first day of building the new home for the family in Los Robles. We woke up and had breakfast, packed the bus, and headed to the Batey. Upon arrival, we greeted each other, and immediately started working. We began with moving 550 cinder blocks from the truck drop off zone to the building site, which was about 125 yards away from each other. We initially faced difficulties with stamina throughout the team members as we are not all accustomed to extensive physical labor. We got through about moving half of the blocks before we took a break.
As we were moving the blocks, Mr. Griesemer noticed that there was a barber cutting someone's hair near where we were working. Jokingly, Mr. Griesemer and Katie asked Kelly if she would like to have her hair cut. Kelly, always open to trying something new to immerse herself with the people, said yes and before we knew it the barber was putting on the barbers gown to get started. Within minutes, many of the community members and children were gathered around the front porch of the barber's home to watch the ordeal. It was an exciting moment when the two different cultures combined in a unique manner - with both parties experiencing something completely new and unknown. By the time Kelly's hair was completed - with precise fading and detailed designs - the BRP staff and local community had completed the digging of trenches, putting the group ahead of schedule.
After the BRP staff taught the team how to tie rebar together to hold the foundation in the trenches together, we headed off to lunch and took our usual siesta on the office floor. While the group was sleeping, one of our team members, Patricia, was a able to meet with some of her family members who came to visit from five hours north of where we are staying. The group headed back to the site, where Patricia and her family educated the locals about oral hygiene, providing them with toothpaste and toothbrushes. Meanwhile, the rest of the team finished moving the cinder blocks to the site, one-by-one.
In the blink of an eye, the days work was completed and we were given time to bond with the children. Using Mrs. Feliz, B, Kelly's crafts, we were able to do face paint and make beaded jewelry. Also, some of the kids played sports with Mr. Griesemer, Mr. Foley, and some of our other team members. Sadly, the day had come to an end and we had to depart.
We made a pit stop to surprise Mrs. Feliz and her in-laws in the batey of Altagracia. The townspeople greeted us as we stepped out of the bus and it was a special moment to see Mrs. Feliz's family. Before leaving, we were able to see Mrs. Feliz's in-laws home, followed by the chanting of our team members name, Matthew Walker, which translates to "Mateo Caminar" in Spanish. After saying our goodbyes for the day, we headed back to the restaurant for dinner, followed by team time at the hotel.
Hasta mañana, Kelly y Mansi