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North Star Academy Puerto Rico

May 21-22, 2018

Good evening from Puerto Rico!

Our first day started off my meeting at school so we could Uber to the airport. After a direct flight we were picked up in a big white van by our Global Works leader, Scott. We hadn’t eaten much so we went directly to a traditional Puerto Rican sandwich shop called El Meson. After that we drove to the Big Yellow House in Cerro Gordo about an hour west of San Juan. We settled into our rooms and met with Scott about rules, expectations, and group norms.

After that Scott took us on a hike to a popular lookout point. The view was amazing. After our hike we cooled off my swimming in the ocean.

For dinner we enjoyed cheeseburgers and fries. That evening we partnered with another Global Works group for salsa lessons. Yara was a great teacher and by the end we were basically professional dancers 😉

The next morning we woke up early to the sound of roosters. We had a quick continental breakfast of pancakes fresh fruit and yogurt before piling in the vans and driving to old San Juan. There was a lot of traffic and the streets were narrow but we arrived at the parking lot and met our tour guide, Alvin. Alvin took us on a big loop around El Morro or the wall. On our tour we got to get our photo taken front of the third smallest residence in the world. We learned a lot about the history of Puerto Rico and white such an important place in the Caribbean.

For lunch we all got to try the Puerto Rican dish, mofongo! It was delicious and the fuel we needed to get started on our community service work in Villa Del Río.

After meeting the community leader William we got started transporting sand in buckets to our job site. We’re really excited start mixing concrete tomorrow morning. After a delicious dinner we had a team debrief before enjoying a game of volleyball in the backyard. Tomorrow we’re excited for our first full work day in the community.

May 23, 2018

Today was exhausting but fun! We woke up early to a pancake and fresh fruit breakfast. We cleaned up after breakfast and got in the vans excited for our first full day of service work in the community. We transported over a meter of sand to the house the day before, so we were able to start work immediately. William taught us how to mix the sand and concrete to create a smooth mixture called “topping”. We worked all morning and completed the floor in two rooms. We were ready for a break by lunch. Felipe’s family (whose house we were repairing from Hurricane Maria) prepares a delicious lunch of pollo guisó, rice, vegetables, fruit, and salad. Our leader Scott made 10 gallons of Gatorade to keep us hydrated. After lunch we stayed out of the sun by playing basketball and volleyball at the community court.

After our break we returned to the job site to keep mixing cement. We almost finished the entire floor. When we got back to the big yellow house we took a much needed siesta before spending time to journal and contemplate a few prompts our teachers gave us. While Scott was picking up pizzas we had a great conversation about our impressions of the community and why we are here in Puerto Rico.

After pizza we we had enough energy for one more game of volleyball! I think we’ll all sleep well tonight! 😉

May 24, 2018

Today was long and hot but we successfully completed our first service project. The morning started with moving two meters of sand up to the job site with a bucket brigade. We worked hard until we rested for a much deserved lunch of chicken, plantains, salad and rice. After a quick game Of basketball we retuned to move the final meter of sand. After that we mixed the concrete and completed the floor in all four rooms! We were tired but still excited to spend some time at the beach.

Dinner was delicious. We had a choice of pork chops or fish! After dinner we reflected with shout outs to people who have inspired us during this trip. We were surprised when Scott came back with ingredients for an ice cream sundae bar! After that we played tag and hide and go seek before getting some rest. Tomorrow, we’ll work at a new site.