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Moorestown Friends School Puerto Rico 2016

JUNE 20-21, 2016

By Christian, Danny, Josh and Henry!

Our adventurous group of 8th and 7th graders arrived at San Juan International Airport at around 7 PM. Hours of travel left our group exhausted, however we persevered and finally arrived at the big yellow house. Our group had ambivalent feelings about Puerto Rico, both excitement to try something new and apprehensive about delving into the unknown.  On our way to the big yellow house, we met Tyrone and Scott for an authentic Puerto Rican dinner. After dinner, we arrived at the big yellow house, larger than expected. Upon arrival, we went to an orientation on the second floor of the big yellow house. We preceded to set up our rooms fit out with fans and AC. Although cramped, the rooms proved to be more than enough for our weary band of travelers. Once we organized our materials, most of the group proceeded to endeavor for sleep as quickly as possible.

The next morning, we awoke with voracious appetites and hastily devoured the meal generously provided by our hospitable hosts. We then took a long bus ride to Old San Juan for a guided tour, provided by Alvin. Although the city was stifling with heat, we pushed on in order to see all the sight in the city, including a gargantuan wall surrounding the city, complete with a castle! After a delectable lunch and some souvenir shopping, we headed home. Right after our return, we pursued a swim in the ocean. The ocean in Puerto Rico is exquisitely warm and beckons to all swimmers. Even some teachers joined the fun! Even though it began to rain, we made it home and played games until we ate a delicious dinner prepared by Tyrone. After that, some intelligent kids figured out how to make the TV play Netflix, and we all gathered around to enjoy some comedy fun

JUNE 22, 2016

By Miles and Santo!

Today, we began our service work at Villa Del Rio.   Our main job was to finish repairing a leaky roof with concrete.   We were led by Jonathon, a member of the community, to complete the task. We were taught by his father, William, on how to make concrete, a very messy process.  It took over 30 fifty pound bags of cement to make the concrete.  It was hard but rewarding work.  After about 3 hours, and many, many wheelbarrows of concrete, we finished.  We then took a drive through some large hills to the community center where we ate lunch.  It consisted of a delicious mix of rice, beans, chicken, fired plantains, salad, and bananas.

Later, we took a trip to the beach, waiting about 10 minutes for a rainstorm to pass.  The water was so warm and not too salty, perfect conditions for swimming.  The best part by far was the relay race back and forth from the ocean. We had to run downhill directly to the ocean and high five Lauren, one of our leaders, then run back uphill, and tag one of the teammates.  After working with concrete, and running in the sand, our vans became like pigsties.  Luckily, Jack H., volunteered to sweep out the entire vans.  Lastly, we came home to some volleyball, and a dinner of tacos, chips, and guacamole to end the day!

June 23, 2016

By: Lizzie C. and Lizzy G.

Today wake up call was at 7:00 and we ate a variety of cereal and fruit.  After that, we left around 8:00 and headed off to the work site.  There, we slipped into two groups and either painted a house or mixed concrete to build a roof.  The work was very challenging, but made us feel good because we knew we were helping the community and the friendly people we met.  The people in the community were kind enough to make us lunch and competed against us in a volleyball match.  For lunch we ate meatballs, rice, and beans.

After a long and tiring match of volleyball we headed to the beach. The beach had beautiful clear water and a mountain scene surrounding it.  In the water we took pictures on our Go Pro cameras and messed around in the waves.  Once we were all waterlogged we traveled back to the Big Yellow House for a shower.  We cleaned up from the long day and we had another volleyball match against another service group and played cards.  For dinner, we ate spaghetti prepared by a few volunteer members of our group and finally headed off to bed.

June 24, 2016

On Friday, we went to Vega Alta, a small community filled with upbeat people. Brian, one of the community members that helped during our tour aroundthe community, brought us to his house.  At his families home we helped paint the interior.  We had so much fun painting and listening to music!  After painting, we walked to the rec center and ate an awesome lunch made by a local family.

When we finished eating lunch and playing sports, we departed to check out some indian caves.  It was a long ride but well worth the trip.  The caves were jagged and steep.  We climbing up and down peaks and watched the ocean break upon the rocks.  Later, we went back to our lodge for dinner

June 25, 2016

By: Abby and Callista

This morning we woke up early to make sure we could eat breakfast, get our bags in the van, journal, and make the 1:00 PM ferry to Vieques.  While on the boat, very few people (thankfully!) got seasick.  My favorite memory was when Mr. Webster’s wife and Mr. Webster were singing ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin.  The boat ride took 1 hour and 15 minutes but it seemed quicker than that.  As we were arriving all we could think about was going to the beach.

Once on land, we loaded up the vans and took off to La Finca.  The house is located in the jungle on the island.  It is incredibly beautiful.  The bottom floor is open air, and the top has a balcony.  On a clear night we could see so many stars.  Tyrone made a few short announcements and we split into two groups for the Bio Bay tour. While one group did the tour, the other had dinner.  Of all the scenic tours we have taken, this was single handedly the most beautiful.  The photos we saw prior to the trip were wrong.  The water when lit up is not blue and doesn’t stay around the boat.  The water lights up behind the boat in its wake.  If you let the water run down your arm it looks like stars twinkling in the sky.  When the wind made waves, the water would light up.  Eventually the light encasded our paddle.  This time of year the Bio Bay is it’s peak!

June 26, 2016

By: Bella and Sydney

We had a later than usual wake up call, which we very much enjoyed.  Breakfast was prepared right away and was, of course, delicious.   After breakfast the  group leaders proposed the idea of an ‘iron chef’ challenge. Iron Chef is a TV Show where people cook for judges.  We picked the categories of our dishes.  Appetizers, main dish, side dish, and dessert.  We split into groups and made a shopping list of items we would need to make the dishes a success.  All the groups had to consider alternatives as the Puerto Rican grocery store had much less than the ones back home.  We had one hour and $50, but of course we had to buy junk food for ourselves to eat instead of the food devoted for Iron Chef.

After shopping, we went to the beach.  The beach was quite different considering there were horses roaming around.  It took our chef groups about 2.5 hours to complete the full meal.  The seven judges though all of the dishes were delicious.  After making a huge mess, everyone was in charge of cleaning up before finding out who won the challenge. The winners were Henry, Jackson, Will, and Miles.  After the winners were announced, we enjoyed some pool time.

June 27, 2016

By: Alden and Sophie

Today was a relaxed day in La Finca.  We were allowed to sleep in, but most of us got up around 8:30-9:00.  Once we were up and ate breakfast, we played cards discussed the plan for the day. After lunch, we departed for a tour of the island.  Fun fact: there is only one fast food restaurant on the island, Subway.  By the end of the informative tour, we were all very tired.  After the tour, we were able to enjoy some beach time.  The vans picked us back up around 4:30 and took us back home. We all took showers and packed to be ready for an early ferry the next morning.  After dinner, we played cards and listened to music.  It was time for bed around 9:00 so we could be energetic

June 28, 2016 

By: Monit and Jack

On our full last day in Puerto Rico, we woke up at 4 and got on to the ferry from Vieques to San Juan. While aboard the ferry we had some decently choppy water. When we got off we went to brunch and had an american breakfast. Afterwards, we changed into our bathing suits and went snorkeling.  While snorkeling we saw fish of many different colors and sizes.  We also spent some time jumping off the boat into the crystal clear water. Then, we took the boat back to San Juan. Later, when we got back, we went to the hotel and got ready for our final dinner in Puerto Rico. That night we had delicious Italian food and met Grace, a Puerto Rican girl whose high school ring we had found on the beach in Vieques.  Her ring means so much to her and she was very excited to have it back!  After we got back from dinner, we started to pack our bags to prepare for the four hour flight leaving at 12 pm, the next day.

June 29, 2016

Our Favorite Memories from Puerto Rico

By: Zack and Jackson

My (Jackson’s) favorite memory was the Iron Chef challenge. My team got the Raw Challenge. We were very skeptical of the topic at first when found out that we couldn’t cook anything. Bread was the secret ingredient, so we found a toasted bread that we put on the side. Our main dish was compiled of meat, cheese, and a special secret sauce. I have always liked cooking but never had a chance to do something like that, so I really enjoyed it. I hope one day I may be able to do that again.
My (Zack’s) favorite memory was snorkeling yesterday. The sunny weather really complimented the beauty of the reef.  It was very easy to spot the life down below. I’m not too skeptical about the travel home; it should easy with no problems. We all love our families and are very excited to go home, but we will be a little sad to leave and will be missing Puerto Rico.