All Posts

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Session 1 2024

June 17, 2024

Today we toured Old San Juan and learned about all of the history of Puerto Rico. We found everything we learned very interesting and exciting. We learned all about the different forts and how the people were able to protect themselves from attacks from other neighboring countries. While we were exploring the city we encountered many monuments, beautiful statues, and many cool animals. We had so much fun buying souvenirs from gift shops all around. For lunch we stopped at El Jibarito where we had a variety of local food such as different types of meat with rice and beans. Also, to celebrate one of our peers’ birthdays we had delicious popsicles that were very refreshing but melted instantly! Overall, on our first day we enjoyed a lot of the scenery, met new friends from all across the country, and had a great first day – despite the heat! All of us are very excited to continue our journey and explore more of Puerto Rico.

By: Gracie, Nico, Kendall, Katherine & FJ

June 18, 2024

Today was our first day at the worksite, and there we used boards to make molds for concrete walls. We collaborated well and had lots of fun. We met the people who lived there and they were spectacularly amiable. Indubitably, it was a riveting experience for many urban city dwellers and suburbaners. We laughed. We cried; but most importantly we loved. We also bonded during our breaks from work to build a new room, and got to try some fruit from the local trees. They were “quenepas” or Spanish limes. The fruit was delicious and a really interesting experience, as well as an opportunity to share with friends. It started raining at the end of our work day, but it was refreshing.

After finishing our work for the day, we ate our lunch in a home that was built by previous Global Works teams. We were grateful for Maria’s cooking since the food was spectacular. We are looking forward to eating there again this week.
Back at the Big Yellow House, the rain limited our afternoon activities but most of us took a walk to the beach. The water was beautiful; in fact, it was clearer than any water that we had ever seen back at home. We bathed in the warm Puerto Rican water for the first time and were entertained by our leaders. We left the beach with much love for all.

In the evening, we watched an Anthony Bordain documentary about the history of Puerto Rico. With it we learned much about the food and culture of the island, as well as the struggles that locals face and their efforts to revive the local economy. Our eyes were opened to the hidden history the average tourist cannot see from a visit. It was a very informative and interesting experience.

By: Tyler, Cooper, Matt, Ariana & AJ

June 19, 2024

This morning as we got ready for a day of working on rebuilding homes we were surprised by an exciting trip to the beach. Everyone excitedly ran to change into bathing suits to embark to the crystal clear waters and warm weather the beach offers. Some fun activities we explored were playing volleyball, football, sun tanning, and a surprise visit from a local dog happy to play catch with everyone. Along with these group bonding activities we were able to see natural wildlife including a sea turtle, fish, starfish, and sea urchins. As we finished with our time at the beach we started our journey to Maria’s house. She’s one of the community members who cooks delicious food including rice, chicken, beans and the typical salad. After lunch we headed to our real job in Puerto Rico, building houses. Today we would be finishing up the walls of a house destroyed by the hurricane.
When we arrived at the house we continued to work on what we were doing yesterday. Some of the highlights were when we attached more wood on the walls using techniques constructors taught us. While working on twisting wire on the rebar for the new wall we experienced a downpour of rain not allowing us to continue working for the rest of the day. We stayed at the work site trying to wait it out and get back to work after the rain passed by eating snacks, chatting with other participants, and taking photos. Right before we left to go back to the Big Yellow House we found out that the bus had broken down and that ended up causing us to wait a little longer for our backup bus to show up.

We finished off our day with a salsa lesson, which gave us the chance to learn more about the culture of Puerto Rico and how the people connect with each other through dancing. As we finished our day off very exhausted, yet, very fulfilled, we are looking forward to our tropical adventure in the rainforest tomorrow to expand the ecosystems of Puerto Rico and our knowledge about them.

By: Jacob, Travis, Jackson, Kade, Angie

June 20, 2024

Today we went to Tropic Ventures. It was a two hour bus ride back and forth, but it was definitely worth it once we saw the beautiful landscape. There were a variety of different species of plants and exotic fruits, one was the cacao bean, which many of us tried during lunch and agreed was delicious. While we were in the rainforest, we had to use the humanure composting toilets. 3T, the leader of the project, would compost the waste to give back to the rainforest. Once she had greeted us, she split us up into six groups to complete work in the forest. Groups had to create paths, pull out weeds and ferns, and even chop down some trees. After a long day of hard work, she had prepared some delicious lasagna and tropical juice, which was very popular among everyone. Then we headed back home on the bus to get ready to spend some time at the beach.

After waiting for the storm to pass, we went to the beach and found that the water was choppier and colder than any of the days before. However, it was still a nice temperature, and many of us played volleyball or football in the waves. On the way back, many friendly locals slowed down to wave at our group which has been a very common occurrence this past week. After a long day of work, we enjoyed some down time which many of us used to play games, nap, and play basketball. Dinner was chicken as always, with a slight American twist substituting rice with french fries. We finished off the day with a very fun karaoke activity, in which everyone passionately participated.

Quote of the day: ‘Hoy fue una día increíble.’

By: Luchi, Nick, Jake, Sam, Skylar

June 21, 2024

Today was the hardest work day in the community. We started the work day making cement with water, rocks, sand, and cement mix. Many of us were fascinated with the cement mixer which we would dump the cement on the ground then shovel into buckets to pass down. After over an hour of working consistently, we were told that the team efficiency was lacking. We needed to improve on communication as well as sticking to our task in order to complete the walls of the room within our allotted time. After our talk our team work enhanced and we finished in an impressive amount of time with only a few cement spills. We then headed over to our friend Maria’s house where we were treated to yet another delicious home-made meal of chicken wings, rice, beans, and salad.

This late lunch led to a calm afternoon of packing where we fueled up energy for a dinner time party with the community members we’ve been working with over the course of the week. Maria brought her grandchildren who many of us had the pleasure of playing with. We were able to immerse ourselves in a new community and many of us practiced our Spanish among them. Our dinner party consisted of sentimental talks about teamwork, leadership, and improvement with a side of plentiful desserts. When saying goodbye to the community members we left them off with a handwritten card in Spanish which we all signed, thanking them for the enlightening experience they made for us.

By: Audrey, Kara, Lucy, Dani, Laszlo, Chuck

June 22, 2024

Today started off with a bright early morning, energized for the fun day ahead of us. After a final clean up, we loaded our luggage to conclude our stay at the Big Yellow House. For breakfast we enjoyed a filling meal consisting of pancakes, hash browns and fresh fruit. We then said our final goodbyes to the place we have called home for the past six days. After we loaded up the bus, we were off to Las Pailas River. Once we arrived, we took a daring hike to a natural water hole. We swam in the refreshing water and took advantage of the surrounding rock formations. After a long hike we satisfied our hunger at a restaurant in Los Kioskos de Luquillo, a popular strip of venders on the beach. We then explored the stores and enjoyed a delicious piña colada while watching the ocean.

Once we were all finished up at the kiosks, we headed off to our temporary stay for the night. We quickly prepared for our next adventure and met up once again for some fun activities. To appreciate ourselves and each other, we started by writing a letter to our future selves so we can reflect on this unforgettable experience. Then to appreciate the memories, we all shared the experiences we want to leave in Puerto Rico and the others that we want to bring with us for the journeys to come. Finally, for our program closure we gathered in a circle and anonymously shouted out the people that made this experience more memorable. After yet another fulling meal we headed off for our final adventure together, the bioluminescent bay tour. It’s a bittersweet moment for all of us as we all know it will be the last time most of us will see each other again.

By: Stacy, Tobyn, David, Julian, and Johnny