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Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, Session 2

July 15, 2018
We enjoyed a bright and colorful day in Viejo San Juan by walking down many different cobblestone streets and exploring the fort known as El Morro. Around noon, we ate lunch at an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant. Even those who were  not into soccer were attached to the World Cup final game, Croatia vs France. We finished our day in San Juan by visiting a few local artisan souvenir shops and enjoying refreshing home made ice pops. When we returned to the Big Yellow House we went to cool off at the beach near our house  where we observed many locals, including a boy and his horse swimming in the ocean. We think the horse liked it?! We finished off the night with a group meeting and orientation about what to expect when working in the community for our service  projects and our expectations of each other to be happy, healthy, and present.  Before heading to bed with full bellies from the fish, potatoes, chicken, rice, and beans we ate for dinner, some of us made friendship bracelets, hung out in the yard, some even went to sleep early. Hey mom and dad! Puerto Rico is amazing so far! Stay posted for more adventures
Jenny V. & Veronica D.
July 16, 2018
We woke up at around 7:30 am to get ready for the full day we had ahead of us. We ate our waffles and eggs, got dressed and went on our way to the work site. We all got ready to finish making our new friend Jimmy’s roof. We all pitched in to help mix cement and pour it in place. We stopped and ate a delicious lunch prepared by another community member named Maria. Everyone was super thankful for lunch and then got back to work. Most anticipated just straight labor but we were all presently surprised to see how welcoming and lovely the families are! We talked and made jokes as we worked in the sun. We listened to music as well which made everything more lively. The work on the roof was hard but definitely worth it! The roof was supposed to take two days to complete but with determination we finished it in one day. After that was done, the families thanked us for the hard work we did and we headed to the beach. The cement washed off of us in the cool ocean water. As the sun set, everyone swam or say on the beach relaxing after a hard day’s work. Today was full of fun and new experiences that everyone here will remember.
– Leda
July 17, 2018
We all woke up at 7:45 and ate a very good breakfast of eggs, French toast, and sausage. We all got ready and drove to villa del rio to help out Jose Arroyo who is a leader in the community. We all worked together to build the foundation of his house. We have gotten pretty good at mixing cement, so we finished the work that needed to be done in half of a day. We ate another delicious lunch made by Maria, a member of the community in Villa Del Rio. We came back to the Big Yellow House and got ready to go to the beach. Eggy, a very crazy member of the Villa del Rio community, found a huge iguana and brought it into the house. After our exciting experience with the iguana, we all went to the beach and had a sand castle building contest in which the winners got dessert provided by Alvin. We came back to the house and had a delicious dinner of pizza ordered from a local place. We then watched a very powerful and moving documentary about the experience of a woman named Thrity (3t) during hurricane Maria because tomorrow we are going to help at the rainforest she has helped to cultivate over decades.

Written by Tori and Evan

July 18, 2018

On Wednesday, July 18, the Global Works team woke up early to start off our day with a breakfast of champions, which was muy delicioso. We then headed off for a long car ride to Tropic Ventures, where we met Thirty Vakil and a group of Americorps crew volunteering with her. 3T shared about her life of service and helping others, saying, “If you don’t wake up smiling, do something else with your life”. Together, we trekked down to a river where we rebuilt a crumbling bridge that suffered under Hurricane  Maria in 2017. We did so by creating a cement mixture, which we used to adhere rocks to the bridge. By creating a train of group members down the river, we were able to efficiently get the job done. We had a lunch of chicken stew and rice, then finished off our day with delicious tacos and multiple rounds of the game Mafia. Goodnight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

– Jamie, Chloe, and Paulina

This is a post from Thrity Vakil, the director of the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project.

A really full day of labor at Las Casas de la Selva, Patillas, Puerto Rico, with a team of 24 Global Works teens. We collected rocks from the river to fill the cavity caused by water erosion under our newly-made bridge. We added cement to tie it all in. [Last year] We had almost completed the bridge last year when the hurricanes hit. This is an ongoing project and we welcome any teams to help us get it to completion.
Thanks to GW group leaders, Lyndsey, Michelle, and Alvin! 
Yummy lunch by Vanessa and Miguel.

July 19, 2018
We started the day with a quick breakfast at the house before racing up to Villa Del Rio for out last day of work. After a day in the rainforest, we were very happy to return to the community and to be mixing cement with our friends once again. After a long day, Maria helped to cook us a delicious meal which consisted of burgers and fries. Then, when we found out Egi would be coming to the beach with us, we were overjoyed. After we returned  from the beach, the community arrived for our celebratory cookout dinner together, which was very bittersweet. Giving gifts to the community we came to love made us smile as well as shed a few tears. We ended the evening on a high note by learning to salsa dance.
-Veronica and Jamie

July 20, 2018
We all woke up around 8am; today was our last time at the Big Yellow House. The girls and the leaders spent some time trying to figure out where the boys went…after a small freak out and a jog on the beach to find them, the boys came down from upstairs, one by one laughing. They told us about their prank and how they hid behind the counter and we ended up having a really delicious pancake breakfast. We thoroughly cleaned up the house and hopped in the vans to go to the El Yunque rainforest. When we started swimming, there was a really fun rope swing that most of us went on. The water was cold but very relaxing. The guys climbed the rocks and the girls got snail facials. We had to hike up a really long hill to the vans but afterwards we headed to Casa Coral in Luquillo, where we are staying tonight.

This new setting was not what we were used to- inside the rooms were beautifully designed, and directly outside was a perfect view of the ocean, orange sand, and a river we could swim in. After about an hour of fun in the river, we headed back inside for closing activities. We even wrote letters for our future selves based on our experiences from this amazing trip.

Afterwards we went to the bioluminescent bay, where we saw the magical microorganisms glow under the tarp. Kayaking through the mangroves was quite difficult, but it was all worth it. We then went to dinner at Lolita’s Mexican food restaurant. We got GIANT burritos and they were delicious!!! Although we had such a great day, We are all so sad to leave tomorrow.
-Rachel R.