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Prospect Hill Academy 2024 Puerto Rico

June 10, 2024

The day before the trip, I was unable to sleep. Adrenaline filled my body due to my excitement. I ended up staying up until 3am, the time I was expected to get up. I quickly woke up my mom and started to get ready. I made sure I finished showering early so I can check my bags once again to be sure I have everything. As It approached 4:30, my Mom and I head out to Logan Airport. We ended up staying at the “arrival” section of Terminal A, expecting to find my teachers and fellow students. After some communicating with me and my peers, we realized that we had to be at “Departures”. After 10 more minutes of driving around the airport, we finally found my classmates and I said my goodbyes to my Mom and the journey began!

After a long flight arriving to the Big Yellow House brought us great relief knowing we had made it. The neighborhood was very quiet and scenic since it was right down the street from the beach. Everyone helped each other get their luggage out of the vans and upstairs to the assigned rooms. Unpacking was easy and everyone settled in quickly.

We were all feeling anxious to get to the beach. Walking to the beach we quickly realized that the patience that drivers have in Boston for walkers is like gold compared to the patience we experienced while crossing the street in Puerto Rico, but our walk was very short and enjoyable as we pointed out “cool” houses and good weather. When we got to the beach we all came together to enjoy throwing the football around in the water and then a whole group game of keep it up with a volleyball. We also saw horses strolling on the beach which is something we wouldn’t normally see back in Boston. Overall, today we had a great day at the beach and all can’t wait to go back hopefully tomorrow! When we came back from the beach some of us took showers and we all met back up in the common space. The Global Works leaders introduced us to the concept of clean up group and leader group. We ended up splitting up into 4 groups and we were tasked with creating a group name and dance/movement to win a dessert after dinner. Our group’s performance unfortunately didn’t qualify and we ended up being the leaders group and presented what we would do the next day.

Later, we had dinner and there was a variety of options. I personally eat a halal diet but there were these cauliflower chicken tenders that tasted very good. I spent the rest of lunch playing basketball and soccer with my peers.
To end off our day, me and all my peers gathered together and worked through a physical activity that allowed us to reflect about our comfort zones and our growth zones. With this we were able to pin point areas in ourselves where we could improve and help each other. We then sat down and created a community contract to keep ourselves in check. Some of the agreed upon rules that we added was to be respectful and another (the most important) was obviously to have fun. Of course there are more, but tomorrow we are expected to follow these guidelines and keep each other accountable for the rules we ignore. I’m excited!!! 😀 awesome sauce

-Guilherme, Ayaan, Taygen, Jordan, and Justice

June 11, 2024

Waking up at the Big Yellow House felt extremely strange because of the change of scenery. I usually wake up with a show playing and my grandmothers Haitian music playing in the background. This time I had my friends with me to wake me up from my deep sleep. This morning I was in luck because as soon as I woke up and got my day going I was able to get ahold of a bathroom which is usually occupied. One downside to this was that in the middle of my shower I saw a reddish spider on the wall that wouldn’t move. I was late to breakfast because I take so long getting ready but I made it on the bus to San Juan right on time.
As we entered the bus, it felt a little crowded. But the AC was on so we had somewhat of comfortability. As we left the big yellow house, every where you turn there’s a piece of beautiful scenery, or some landscape that has vibrant colors. It reminds me of back home in Nepal, where the houses are small and so colorful, and so much greenery. As we got on the highway, there were many bumps along the way. This made it hard to sit still while in a crowded area, but I did it. I’m used to bumpy roads, so it wasn’t that bad. After 45 mins, we got to old San Juan and it was absolutely beautiful.
We entered San Juan expecting the place to be a nice city with air conditioning, but guess what the place didn’t have air conditioning. As we toured around San Juan I was in agony because of the heat. We walked for miles and ventured San Juan and saw old churches and and open markets with tons of unique stores. We took lots of photos at different historic spots, btw the place was filled with stray cats. San Juan was a great experience and the only down side was walking in the tremendous heat.
On the way back, we enjoyed some sleep in the vans and arrived back at the Big Yellow house. We all relaxed for little and then got ready for beach time! Most of them played Marco Polo while me and my pals sat watching and tanning in the hot sun. We then all splashed around in the clear waters with water guns! We had so much fun! After that, we went back to the big yellow house where we showered and prepared our group leader share out about the itinerary for tomorrow.
Before dinner I finished taking a shower feeling refreshed and clean after bathing in the beaches salty water. While waiting for dinner I walked around the big yellow house and I watched the cleaning crew set the table for dinner. I chatted to my friends about things before dinner was well also finding another shower which is very nice. Then dinner came around got some good food which consisted of chicken rice salad and bread rolls. Then after dinner we watched a documentary about Puerto Rico and how America cripples them with all of their systems. That’s what we did today.

-Karla, Saniya, Evanson, Luel, Veronica

June 12, 2024

We all woke up on time and had breakfast together at 8 am. We were all pretty excited and also nervous of the heat. We packed up all of our necessities such as our gloves and water bottles. We all got in the vans and drove off. When driving to the work site, there was a complication on the road which caused us to change routes and it took longer to get to the site. The road was a bumpy but the driver in the white van was blasting music and it was really memorable.

Once we got to the work site, we got to know the lay of land. Explored different parts of the site, passing time while we waited on Angel and William who were also delayed due to the road block. After they arrived, we greeted them and talked a little bit about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, then we got to work! Instead of working with cement, we worked with rebar and wires to create the foundation of the columns that the cement would go in. When William gave us a tutorial on how to create the foundation, it looked pretty simple, just fold the wire, put it through the rebar, and twist to tighten, but that wasn’t the case. Although it was hard work, we did it together as a team. It was a very eye-opening and heart-warming experience!

After all the hard work we did, we drove back to the Big Yellow House for some free time. During our free time we all went to the beach to relax and to grab some tropical drinks to cool ourselves down. It was a good way for us to relax after working in the heat for a long time plus it was a good way for all of us to bond with each other. After helping construct the pieces, we headed out back to the yellow house and took salsa lessons by a professional instructor. At first everyone was awkward since we were not used to that type of setting where we get close to our classmates. But the instructor made us more comfortable by encouraging people. This was a great way for all of us to get out of our comfort zones and become closer to one another.

At the end of the day and after all the hard work we got to put in at the construction site, we got to reflect on everything we got to do throughout the day. For me, the experience of building a house was the most impactful one out of all. This opportunity allowed us to truly see first hand what these families’ conditions and circumstances are like. After seeing Jordan’s home, we got an understanding of how difficult times can be for some of these families. It also meant a lot to be able to help these families and actively take steps towards putting these families in much better situations.

– Renee, Osma, Geo, Halteth, Eugene

June 13, 2024

In the early morning, I woke up 5:45am, which is usually the time I wake up for school. I woke up Geo and allowed him to shower first so he could get up and be awake. Later on when both were ready, we woke up the rest of the boys, so that we were on time and with no repercussions. Breakfast served that morning was delicious and filling. It gave us enough energy to start off our day. Although , I was expecting it to be raining since it was in a rainforest. And, I also expected there to be a lot of animals. Luckily, I was perspired because it did rain, but sadly I didn’t see as many animals I expected to.

We took a 1.5 hour drive to the place in Utuado and had an opening ceremony with the chief leader and Mika and the team. It was very mind opening because he was telling us about the origin of the Taino people and their beliefs. They were very similar to my cultures’ beliefs so I felt a connection to what he was taking about. We sat around a fire that Mika had set as the chief leader talked, on the side of a mountain with a surreal view. I’m very grateful to have had this experience that almost nobody else has. Talking about the four different elements and the earth really made me want to connect more with the earth and my surroundings instead of always being online. We closed the opening ceremony by giving our offering to the chief leader.

After the offering that we gave to the Leader, we hiked down a mountain to the river. There were lots of hard rocks and steep hills that we had to walk through. At this point we still had our shoes on so it wasn’t too bad. Once we got to the river, we used the clay that we collected to do a clay mask all over our bodies. It was dry and muddy but did feel refreshing. After we jumped into the river and swam to a petroglyph. This petroglyph specifically was found in 2017, after Hurricane Maria. It shows markings from the Taino people, many years ago. Our group were among the first few people who have ever seen this one. I didn’t expect this to be as fun as it was, but now reflecting on the whole week, this was definitely the most fun I’ve had on this trip so far.

For lunch we ate white rice, pumpkin squash, bread, and fruit – it was delicious. We all ate and then went around in a circle to say our thank you’s to Watibili, the cacique, and his family for letting us enjoy their property. We then came home and took showers and got ready for dinner. For dinner we ate pasta and rice with chicken. After we ate we cleaned our plates and got into a circle. We did an activity where we got into a circle and got one on one conversations with every student in the trip. Then we did an activity where everyone got into a circle and we all closed our eyes. Some students were called up at a time to tap someone in their shoulder thanking them or showing them appreciation. I think the activity was really nice because we learned a lot more about each other and also more about ourselves. Overall today was an amazing last full day.

– Wesley, Krista, Gio and Gianna

June 14, 2024

Today is our last morning here at the big yellow house. Most of the girls woke up extra early to watch the sunrise at the beach and took pictures to capture great memories. After packing and cleaning the rooms together as a team, we had a breakfast together as always. This trip and especially the work day on Wednesday has taught me to always help out each other and that we can push ourselves and achieve more than expected if we work as a team. When I go back home I will definitely spend more time in the nature after listen it to what the chief leader of the indigenous Taino people told us about the elements and connecting with nature. I have grown closer to my friends and built new relationships with my peers during this trip. I will always remember the fun time that I’ve had with my peers, teachers, staff, global works leaders and community of Puerto Rico. We will miss you all so much and hope to visit this wonderful island once again.