Today was our first construction day and our first day to feel like we really are making an impact. After yet another delicious breakfast, we had a quick yoga session and then went on our way to start the work. Prior to this morning we had no idea what we would be making but we knew it was going to be very rewarding and tiring. We met three farmers, Timoteo, Gabriel, and Eduardo, and went to our site. Our job today was to make a concrete floor for a coffee patio, which is where the farmers dry the coffee beans in the sun. The farmers who do not have house large enough to process the coffee in their homes, they often have these separate places where they process and work with their coffee. We started with an area filled with rocks and weeds and dirt and not much organization. We began by wheeling in dirt and then combining with cement to make concrete. This was especially challenging because our instructors did not speak English and so we had to piece together their instructions on what to do, We then formed assembly lines and poured the concrete and worked it until it laid nicely. There are many steps to creating a floor and we got to experience each of them. It was especially cool to see how our group came together and communicated and collaborated as a team. Around noon, we took a quick lunch break at la casa de Timoteo, and had our new favorite meal, this rice and beef stew with horchata to drink. I swear every meal gets better and better. During lunch we got to learn a lot more about the coffee cooperative and the founding group that runs it. After lunch we went back to work until 4pm and got way farther with the floor than we ever expected. Now, the floor is just about finished and only need a few final touches tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we will be back at the same site but we do not yet know what else we are doing. It felt great to work and get to visually see our progress and impact on the project. When we got home in the afternoon, we all went to the tienda to buy some ice cream. There were many different kinds and it was really fun to check out the different types. Ann and I bought a type of mango that Nikki had told us about from her experience last year. This type of mango is super rare and you prepare it by squishing it in your hands and then cutting off the top and sucking out the fruit. We tried eating them at home and it was hilarious. It was very tasty but very messy and hard to eat.
For dinner we met with another farmer and ended up teaching him charades. It was tons of fun and we laughed a lot. Now we are all applying ample amounts of aloe and trying not to fall asleep because we are exhausted from a hard days work! Tomorrow we have another day of work and sun and we couldn’t be more excited!
This was our patio before we started.
The group working together to mix cement
Our end result for the day.
Each night we are trying to take a picture with our dinner hosts. This was Fredy y Fredy Jr.
This was our group ( minus Nicole) with the farmers that we worked with today!
Finally a few more favorite moments from some group members:
Sam: : ” My favorite moment was probably connecting with the lady in the market the other day. It was really cool to get to talk to her and have her be so receptive to speaking with us!”
Ann: ” My favorite moment is from today, actually. I thought it was so great to see all of us come together as a group and really experience true team work!”
Now, we are off to bed before more hard work tomorrow! Hasta Luego!