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Berkwood Hedge School Puerto Rico 2024

May 28, 2024

We started our day by waking up on our flight to Fort Lauderdale, Then we transferred to another flight and finally, after hours of grueling travel, we made it to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico!

The heat and humidity didn’t help with the class’s fatigue, but after meeting our Group Leader, Randall, we got a second wind and made our trek to Piliro Pizza. We got to enjoy a variety of pizzas (even a vegan pizza) and then afterwards drove to the Big Yellow House.

At the house, we did various activities, as well as settle into the environment. During free time, we played volleyball, card games, and had a rap battle! We also had a great dinner. We then had a meeting to discuss our group contract and agreements to set the stage for the rest of our trip. By the end of the night, we were all exhausted but felt very grateful.

-Toby and Ronan

May 29, 2024

Our day started by the sounds of roosters and the sunlight entering our room. We ate breakfast: some yummy French toast, hash browns, fruit, fries, and good old bread. After that it was the start of our adventure of the day. We went to Old San Juan and as we did, we got to learn a bunch of history of Puerto Rico. Our first destination was La Princesa (the princes walk). From there we saw Juan Ponce De Leon Tombstone inside the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista that dated back to 1521, which was a blast from the past! Slapped with reality we saw the huge fort: Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Some of us got to see the beautiful view of Puerto Rico from above while the others got to see underground. Then lunch!

After a delicious lunch of chicken/steak/beef with rice/plantains from the restaurant, El Jibarito, we got to buy souvenirs. After spending money we got to pass by the pigeon park and the narrow house which gets its name for only being 5 feet in width. At last we arrived at ice cream! Aka Paletas. Very delicious too. On our ride back we got to sing our hearts out to California Girls thanks to DJ Stone.

As we got back from our adventure we saw a baby iguana in front of the Big Yellow House. It was very big for a baby but very cool. Then we all walked to the beach with our good old legs. Most of us had a fun time playing in the water and making sand sculptures. We wrapped up our day with catered dinner and a moving documentary thanks to Zac Effron. And lastly we all hit the hay.

Illariy & Olivia

May 30, 2024

After a nutritious breakfast of pancakes, potatoes and fruit, we drove to the river.When we arrived at the river, rio del limon we were struck with the amazing views and sounds of the jungle river, after walking down a somber trail we met Mica and Rey, our tour guides for the day. Then mica and Rey took us to a bonfire were we met the taloni chief who told us his tribes beliefs. After 45 minutes of the chief telling there beliefs to us we took a walk down to the river and we put on our life vests and then we swimmed im the beutaful water to the petroglyphs carved into the rocks by taloni ancestors, only after hurricane Mira were the petroglyphs revealed. After waking back up the trail we were met by one of the nearby community members that was nice enough to make us all a delicious lunch of pumpkin mash, rice, beans and celery.

Back at the Big Yellow house we all played with water guns and water bottles to cool off it was to late for the beach.

After cooling off we came to the dining room at the sound of Randal’s signature whistle. We had a great dinner of pasta, potatoes and salsa, after a hearty dinner it was time for salsa dancing not to be mistaken with the sauce that we had for dinner it was a fast paced 4 count dance instructors but our dear friend Yara, after exhaustingly practicing salsa we cleaned and went to bed.

Julien & Henry

May 31, 2024

We started off the day with an optional workout and a breakfast that consisted of French toast, sausage, and fruit. At around 9:15, we departed from the Big Yellow House and drove (~20 mins) to our construction project.

When we arrived at the site we quickly applied sun screen put on gloves and hard hats. We started by unloading wood planks, iron poles, and rebar. After that, we went onto the roof of the house to starting bringing the rebar into a grid pattern. While laying it out, we used yellow wires and a screw to link the rebar closely together. It took everybody a few tries to get the hang of tightening it. After that, we were more productive than ever. We worked from roughly 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, with a couple of breaks mixed in. After that, we were driven to one of the community members homes to enjoy a delicious lunch of rice, chicken, beans, potatoes, olives, tofu, and salad. After that, we drove back to the big yellow house, everyone tired. We arrived back at ~2:45 pm.

When we got back from lunch we were given a choice of chilling at the house or going to the beach. Before we knew it was dinner time, we were served chicken, mofongo, salad and bread. after dinner we talked about the day relaxed and went to sleep. We ended the day with new memory’s and adventures.

Elliott and Leo

June 1, 2024

We started off our final day the same as yesterday with a nutritious breakfast and then traveled to the worksite. We were a third of the way done with the rebar project. Because of the skillset we learned yesterday we were able to complete the project in under 3 hours at almost double the rate as yesterday. We were working so fast that we were out-speeding the rate at which the wire pieces that we used to tie down the rebar were sized and cut. They even said that we were the fastest and most efficient working group.

Throughout our work, they were very hospitable, giving us many breaks and providing us with piña coladas and otter pops. They were so kind, funny, and overall made the service work feel fun rather than hard. Like a second family. Then we went to lunch at the great chef Maria’s home. Her food was amazing and took us in as if we were her family. This was a common trend on this trip, treating outsiders with such grace and generosity even though they had never met us before.

After our delicious lunch, we went back to the Big Yellow House before quickly departing to the beach. There people enjoyed swimming while some others worked on a couch made of sand. Illariy did the majority of the shaping and construction of the sand couch while Ronan and Zander gathered wet sand for it. With a lot of help from others to, like Henry, Olivia, and Elliott we created something amazing.

After the beach we came back to clean up for our fiesta. We even set the table with plates, forks, knives, and cups. They said they never have seen a group do this before and truly felt honored. There we hung out with the people we had been working on the house with. It was so great to connect with the younger children by playing volleyball and shooting each other with water guns as well as talking with the older kids. It was also great to see the people we helped. At the end they were so generous and gave us a variety of gifts and souvenirs. This really meant a lot because any money spent on that is less money going into restoring their house. Overall we would really like to thank all of them for welcoming us in and you all, our parents for trusting us and them, as well as providing a large portion of the money for it, to go on this trip far away from home. We are so grateful for you, parents, for making this trip happen. We will remember this for a very long time.

See you all soon,
Zander and Dominic