Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 3 - First day of service work

Day Three: Mayan Center Village
Leaders of the Day: Megan and David

After a chaotic (scorpion and dog filled) night, we prepared to start on our community service project. We are working with the local school of this community, building a kitchen and library, and weed-whacking with machetes. First, we had some time to interact with the students, particularly the younger ones (croc-a-dilly-oh-my (spelling?) and duck, duck, goose). Then we set to work.

There were several tasks to be done, and, of course, we're still far from finished. We started by dividing into groups - painting, weeding, and fixing up the kitchen.  The weeders spent their time weeding with a machete (and accidentally burst a pipe with their machetes), the painters applied their first coat, and the carpenters constructed stuff. Soon enough, groups shifted around when interests turned, especially when some of us offered a plan for the library over lunch. 

Later in the day, we performed a challenge with some of the students that were our own age. We had twenty pieces of spaghetti, some string, and some tape. The goal was to produce the tallest possible free-standing tower that was strong enough to balance a marshmallow. As incentive, marshmallows were given to the winning group. This turned out to be surprisingly difficult, and when the time was up, most groups' creations did not exactly perform well. However, Tynan's group won having the highest standing tower within the time limit, and Megan and Caroline's group came second, building a higher tower but needing extra time.

Overall, we were incredibly impressed by how welcoming and open everyone was. It's hard to imagine what it would be like if some random kids walked into your school, but despite the intrusiveness, they still were enthusiastic and friendly and seemed happy to see us. Even though we'd hardly seen them before, they still remembered our names. They would just walk up to us and hug us.

More updates tomorrow…

- David and Megan