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City Neighbors Puerto Rico 2024

May 20, 2024

Hola from Puerto Rico, we had a very early day today and many of us felt tired on the bus to the airport. There were a variety of emotions once we arrived at the airport, such as excitement, adrenaline, nervousness, and anticipation. The plane was a first for a lot of the students. It was a good first flight because it was smooth sailing and four hours for most. Once we landed we were greeted by the humidity and vibrancy of the wonderful island. Then we vented outside to our second bus of the day and went to the Big Yellow House. After arriving at the house we got to know each other followed by some more congregating as we all got ready to go to the beach. On the walk to the beach we saw many animals, like dogs, chickens, and even a horse! At the beach many chose to swim, and play football in the water. While a few stayed on the shore and chilled or built a sand castle. The water was clear and a refreshing temperature. We finished our beach trip with a group photo and walked back to the Big Yellow House. Back at the house we showered, ate dinner, and played games during free time, such as basketball. We played a few games at the end of the day and signed our community contract. Overall, we had an amazing first impression and we are excited for what tomorrow will bring.

By: Graziella, Tessa, Landon, Ramout, Liliana, Elliot, and Aaliyah

May 21, 2204

Today is May 21, 2024 and it is our second day in Puerto Rico. Today was an early morning, but in the end it was worth it. We started our day with a delicious breakfast, then headed to Old San Juan where our tour guide, Mr. Alvin, gave us a lesson on the history of Puerto Rico spanning back to 1493. He led us to our first landmark of the origins of Puerto Rico; the Princess Promenade. We saw several different monuments, then the gates of Old San Juan. This is where we saw the original 2 forts from the outside and where the original governor’s mansion and a fort that was converted into the governor’s mansion still to this day. We headed up into the streets of old San Juan and visited the 2 major churches in the area. As we continued on our tour Mr. Alvin taught us about Puerto Rico’s history, leading us into several churches and cathedrals. Afterwards we ate lunch at “Jibarito’s”, where we enjoyed delicious beef, chicken, rice, and fried plantain. Afterwards, we went souvenir shopping and got ice cream from a local shop before we got on the bus to go back to the house. After we got back to the Big Yellow house we went to the beach and relaxed before dinner. After the beach we showered then had dinner. For dinner there were pasta noodles, meatballs, chicken, salad, and for the pasta there were two different sauces: alfredo and tomato. After dinner, we watched a quick documentary about the political issues of Puerto Rico. It will be a very interesting experience to pour cement tomorrow in order to build a house!

By: Zane, I’onna, Ava, Ennis, King, Sophia, and Cyrus

May 22, 2024

Today is our third day in Puerto Rico. We woke up at 7:15, and ate breakfast. We specifically liked the bread. After breakfast, we rode 30 minutes to the site where we will be working for the next two days. We met Angel & William who were our community leaders, and organizers, and we were building the house for Susana’s family. From there we created an assembly team to make, transport, and pour cement. Some of us felt physical distress, but overall we made great progress. To aid this issue we had help from our peers, and reminded ourselves why we were here. Which is to help a family in need and bond with the community. After a lot of work we took a lunch break at Maria’s house, where we ate chicken, rice, and salad. The food was delicious and homey, and the best food we have had thus far #cleanplateclub. After lunch, we head back to the worksite. The bus driver did an amazing job, but because of the steep roads it was very anxiety inducing. Once we got back to the work site, we jumped right back into working, while switching roles with each other, and helping each other out. We didn’t have much work left since we did most of the work efficiently in the morning. After we finished the work, we felt accomplished, productive, and proud. We felt proud because of all the work we completed. After that we went on a rainy ride to the Big Yellow House. Some of us decided to go to the beach, but most of us stayed back to play games, basketball, and shower. The people who went to the beach had a lot of fun hanging out in the water, and playing marco polo. After that, we had down time till dinner. For dinner we had more chicken and rice (and beloved bread) #cleanplateclub!! We thought dinner was really good overall. After that we had a salsa class, where the salsa instructor, Yara, taught us the basics of salsa. The dancing was fun, and exciting, but a bit awkward. However overall it was nice to bond with people we don’t usually talk to. To conclude we had a great third day.

By: The Shakkas: Vivienne, Jada, Theo, Lazar, David, and Payton

May 23, 2024

Today is our 4th and final full day with Global Works. We woke up at 7:00 AM and had breakfast at 8:00. We left for the worksite at 9:15. We spoke to Angel and William again today. We learned how to do three new things. We learned to cut rebar, we bent the rebars, and we drilled holes with a jackhammer. We went to lunch at Maria’s house and ate yellow rice, vegetables, and chicken. There was also an option for people to eat vegetarian chicken. After this we went home and walked to the beach. After showering we packed our bags. We then had a community dinner where we spoke to the people who were at the worksite and told them about our gratitude for the work we did and then lessons it taught us. People spoke about seeing things from a different perspective now that they are with people less fortunate. William, Susan, Ale, told us how important we were to the rebuilding of their home. It was a mature conversation that opened people’s eyes. We then said our goodbyes and we were gifted with bracelets by Angel. We then had a circle where we expressed our gratitude to the people next us. People were specific with their compliments and we made sure that everyone felt appreciated. To end off the appreciation, we gave Ms. Talia and Nahely a poster card with all of our signatures. This was a great way to end our trip here and I believe the conversations we had will last for a long time.

By Jamauri, Connor, Jason, Aidian, Dashaun