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Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, Session 1

June 20, 2022 

Today, 6/20/22 we took a tour of Old San Juan. Our tour guide, also the lead singer of a group of chipmunks, Alvin, first took us to the third smallest house in the world, “Casa Estrecha”. Then, we learned about how a Church formed on the cliff after a man plummeted off the cliff but survived. Outside the church we learned that large groups of pigeons have separation anxiety and will fly hundreds of miles back home. Next was the Governor’s House, this was also the first fort of San Juan. Next was the house of Doña Felicia, she was the first female mayor of Puerto Rico. We passed by a street outside the Governor’s house, AKA “umbrella road”, well known for protests as the Governor’s house is exactly a mile from the capitol building.
After that, Casa Blanca which was also the home of Juan Ponce de León aka the Conqueror of the Americas and the first governor of Puerto Rico. We also learned about the Great Wall of San Juan which in certain areas can be 17 feet wide and 64 feet high. Next stop, El Morro, which was a large fort used by Puerto Rico to scare incoming ships. Lunchtime! After a journey through Puerto Rico’s most famous cemetery we arrived at Raíces Restaurant. We had a mix of seasoned and non-seasoned rice along with chicken, pork or beef, and mofongo. A select few of us who passed Alvin’s quiz received cheese flan for dessert which was very good. To end the tour we went shopping for souvenirs.
When we returned to the Big Yellow House we decided the beach was the move. The boys played football and the girls played volleyball, eventually all coming together in the evening to make bracelets while listening to quality tunes. It was time to get to business, we laid some ground rules, did a few ice breakers and found out why everyone else was here.

By Zach M., Bryce E., Max D., Michael L., and Peyton M.

June 21, 2022

We started today with a nice breakfast at the big yellow house. Then, we went to the work site at Villa del Rio where we met Willie, Angel, Maria, Antonio, and some other community members. We helped to build the foundation of a house for a family whose house was destroyed by Hurricane Maria 5 years ago. We worked until around noon, and then walked to Angel and Maria’s house, where Maria cooked us a delicious meal. After lunch we finished the foundation for the floor and Angel explained to us the importance of the work that Global Works does with their community. We then went back to the big yellow house and got ready for the beach. At the beach everyone went swimming and cooled off after a hot day. While we were in the water, two people also brought their horses along for the swim. After the beach, we enjoyed a nice dinner of chicken and rice. Once we finished dinner, we had a karaoke night that was super duper fun. The winning team, Laila, Macy, Seth, and Cyrus, sang Unwritten. It was a great performance. Finally we debriefed and relaxed before bed.

By Courtney C, Sean O, Aiya M, & Harriet M

June 22, 2022

Today was an early morning wake-up with our natural alarm clock, the screeching roosters, followed by a delicious breakfast with the big hit, french toast. Next we got ready and headed to the work site for day two of our service project. Once we got there our big group helped move the rebar (barilla) to the platform of the home we’re building. We then laid out the rebar into a grid formation and we started to tie them all down securing the base.

Then we were back at Maria’s for lunch: some delicious chicken, salad, rice and beans. Shortly after, we resumed tying the rebar together to secure the foundation and get ready for the cement. Next, we got home and decided to take a trip to the beach due to the extreme heat. This was quickly followed by a beautiful ocean-side hike with a perfect picture-taking opportunity with stunning views. At this point, we were exhausted so we ventured home to shower and eat our dinner, pizza night! After this, we had the opportunity to learn some salsa dances taught by the amazing counselors (Jorge and Lauren). Thiven and Julian showed off their moves to the group and impressed us all. Lastly, we hung out at the Big Yellow House before we went to bed.

By Laila W., Macy M., Cyrus C., Isabella W.

June 23, 2022

In the morn we awoke at 6:30 to the sound of roosters. Barely awake, we dined on BREKKIE at 7:00 and embarked on our journey on the lil school bus at 8:00. After an arduous 1.5 hour odyssey, we arrived through the lil trees to a rainforest reserve. There, we acquainted ourselves with 4 canines, each of varying sizes. We also met an environmentalist named 3T and her various accomplices. We discovered that chickens are dope. Julian was disproportionately passionate about them. After learning about the various escapades of the forest during Hurricane Maria, we helped clean up a trail, ate a delicious lunch, bade adieu to the pets and persons, and were on our merry way. We then made a slight detour to a freshwater lake, and got our feet nibbled on by tadpoles that enjoyed jumping. After being eaten alive, we returned to the Big Yellow House (aka BYH) to chill. We were greeted by a tray of chicken strips. To close out our jubilant day, we celebrated Macy’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY) with ice cream cake and cupcakes.

With much love and appreciation,
Julian S., Griffin E., Madison D., Seth O., and Renee W.

June 24, 2022

Today was another early morning wake up at the Big Yellow House to ready ourselves for the last day of service. After the short but pretty drive we joined Willy, Angel, and Maria at their house to wrap up our service. We helped secure a wall made of rebar and wire to prevent erosion caused by rain and storms. The wall helps to block the dirt that would fall onto the road and prevent the people in the community from getting to work and other places like the hospital. Unfortunately, we were not able to work with cement for our last day because the concrete mixer was not available.

We celebrated our hard work with our last meal with Maria. She prepared decadent meat balls smeared in marinara sauce with fresh steaming pasta, and bean salad. We noticed that our lunch tables represented our bonding experience and friendships made. In contrast to the beginning of the trip each table was filled with lively conversation, hearty laughter, and a mix of friends.

After devouring lunch, we wrapped up work early. Fueled by Maria’s cooking, we powered through the rest of the day. Once returned to the big yellow house, we rapidly changed into swim wear and accelerated to the beach. After some splishing and splashing and water treading competitions, we had a swim race to a giant pink flamingo floatie (Which we were not allowed to get in). We ended our beach trip with friendly chicken fights and left drenched in the salty water.

Back at the big yellow house, kind students prepared a fruit salad filled with mangoes, watermelon, pineapple, and many other fruits for everyone to enjoy after the catered Puerto Rican dinner. We topped that off with ice cream and popcorn. The community members joined us for dinner and showed their gratitude for us which we reciprocated. Angel and Willy gave a heartfelt speech to us while Maria handed us Puerto Rican bracelets. After having questions answered about the Villa Del Río community, we took a wholesome group photo for the gram! We had our routine night time meeting and were sentenced to our rooms to pack for our big day tomorrow.

We, the blog writers for Friday June 24, four minutes past bedtime, wish you all a goodnight. Xoxo, J.A.M (Joy, Ava, Milla)

June 25, 2022

We started off the day with our last breakfast at the big yellow house and it was delicious. After breakfast everyone finished packing and we headed to the rainforest. At the rainforest we swam in a beautiful river where people also took pictures and built rock cairns. The group then headed to a beach side lunch where some people ordered delicious piña coladas. After some souvenir shopping we checked into the hostels and hung out on the beach. Dinner was followed by a kayaking trip to a bioluminescent bay, which was fun but very exhausting. To end the night we reflected on our week, got our phones back, and said our tearful goodbyes. What a trip…
-blog squad
(Thiven A., Collin H., Kaden K., and Evan T.)