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Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, Session 3 2023

July 22, 2023

Hola! Today we had a very very early wake up (6 am WHAT?!) We had an amazing breakfast of eggs and sausage and then went to Old San Juan!! We had an amazing tour of the city from our tour guide Danny, who was super informative about local culture. The buildings were very awesome and colorful and we got to see an old fort where they fought wars. At this fort we walked around, admiring all the sights and even seeing not one but two big iguanas. We then went to a local restaurant where we were blessed with a large bowl of juicy beef with tantalizing rice and beans. We were even offered complimentary juice on Global Works behalf!!! After our meal we had delicious fresh fruit popsicles. After the popsicles, we drove back to the Big Yellow House while we blasted Bad Bunny and other latin artists in the car. After a long day of shopping we went to the beach and swam! The water is soooo warm and so clear. Today was so much fun, we ended off with team bonding exercises and activities to help each member(27) feel welcome and comfortable. For the rest of the night we had a great dinner and hung out with each other until it was time to go to sleep. We made jokes about the hot and humid weather. Can’t wait to get back to the air conditioned rooms for a good nights sleep. We have to get up at 7:30 so we get a bit more sleep. Every member is stoked for construction tomorrow!

– Sincerely, today’s bloggers, Penn, Charlie, Andrew, Lucas, Jaeden

July 23, 2023
Today we were greeted by delicious pancakes (best breakfast yet). We asked a billion questions about what to wear because…it was going to be our first day of community service. We ended up in our ugly ready-to-get-dirty t-shirts and long pants to protect us from the cements. The car ride to the worksite was beautiful because we rode through areas we hadn’t seen yet. We arrived and got to meet Willy and Angel and found out from them that we would be working on the wall for Willy’s sister’s house in order to prevent future further hurricane damage. We quickly realized that Puerto Rico was welcoming us to the “calentón” (all that heat!) but we worked through the sweat all morning and into the afternoon. Four hours later we had mixed a lot of cement. We had felt a little unsure of everything at the beginning but not soon after our service had started, the hospitality of Willy, his sister, mom, and whole family helped us feel at home and understand what we were doing. Willy’s mom even gave us each a bracelet that she made! We managed to finish the whole wall in unprecedented time and were rewarded with the delicious cooking of our host and cook Maria. It was some of the best food we had ever had…and we also liked meeting a Puerto Rican goat! It was also really special to be in Maria’s house and be welcomed into a Puerto Rican home. After lunch at Maria’s, we immediately had to hang up our gross concrete-covered clothes though to not stink up the rooms! It was clear we had had a successful and impactful day of service so went to the beach to cool off. We had some downtime before dinner and then watched a really interesting documentary about Puerto Rico. Buenas noches everyone!

– Brodie, Ella, Liam, Noah, and Owen

July 24, 2023

Today we woke up and had a delicious breakfast of French toast, eggs, and sausage at 8! After breakfast we headed to Wilfredo’s house for our work day! We were tired from the day before but we persevered. We had a lighter work day thankfully and worked to take down a wood molding of an exterior wall. After we finished our project we went over to Maria’s house again for a late lunch which consisted of chicken, Spanish rice, and salad. After spending all morning in the sun, it was a great reward. We then headed back to the Big Yellow House on a new route because the normal way was closed. It was a very scenic route home, and we were happy to arrive back and spend some time at the beach out of the heat. We enjoyed some free time which consisted of showering, making friendship bracelets, and playing volleyball. Dinner arrived and we enjoyed trying tostones (plantains). We got hyped up for some SALSA! Some of us weren’t so sure about it, but we ended up having a great time and learning some fun moves. Our amazing salsa teacher Lauren made us all experts by the end of the lesson! We were all dripping in sweat by the end but had an amazing time (definitely a highlight for everyone)! We have an early morning tomorrow and are spending our day in the rainforest, so we’re all happy to go to bed. Buenas Noches!!!

– Marion, Wendell, Nancy, Darlene, and Mackenzie

July 25, 2023

Hola familias y amigos! Today, we had an early wakeup at 6:30 AM, but a delicious breakfast to make up for it. We had yummy eggs and waffles. With our stomachs full, we loaded into the vans and headed to the rainforest. We got to drive with our amazing driver Danny and his cute dog Shadow. As soon as we arrived to the rainforest we all got quickly to work. We met 3T, the owner of the sustainable forest, and she guided us, showing how to preserve nature. We uprooted ginger and cut down dead leaves and intrusive vines. After our hard morning of work, we sat down and took in the gorgeous mountainous view. 3T rewarded us with a fantastic lunch consisting of homemade spaghetti and meatballs with pink lemonade. YUM! After our filling lunch we took a group photo to look back on in 20/30 years ;). Then we all got into the vans and headed back to the big yellow house. When we arrived, everyone split up, some playing volleyball, some resting, and some making friendship bracelets. A little while later, everyone met back up and conversed about our service projects throughout the last few days. Dinner was brought to the house and we all munched on chicken, ribs, potatoes, and salad. After dinner, groups prepared their songs for karaoke night. Everyone sang, danced and had a ball! The night ended with the boys serenading everyone to bed with Valerie by Amy Winehouse. Buenas noches!

– Emerson, Ellie, Lucie, and Lola!

July 26, 2023

Hola amigos y familia!

This morning we woke up at 7 am sharp, to enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and sausage, yum! Then we hopped into the van, extremely exhilarated to get on with the work day and see our new friends in the community (Eggy, Maria, Willy, Angel, DANNY). Once at the work site, we split into two groups. Some of us helped at Willy’s house, building molds for cement, while the others went to Maria’s house to help move cinderblocks. After a couple hours of hard work, we returned to Maria’s house to scarf down a scrumptious home made meal of chicken nuggets, beans, and rice. As we ate our delectable dish, we snickered to the sounds of the yelling goats and played with Maria’s young grandchildren (#inspiringtheyouthoftomorrow!). Both groups heard a rendition of Angel’s heart-wrenching, yet inspiring story depicting Hurricane Maria in 2017 and how the community, with the help of Global Works and other volunteers, got back up again. Angel’s grandchildren passed around photographs showing the impact of Hurricane Maria on his home and his community while Angel narrated and Danny translated. A couple more hours passed by and the headed back to the Big Yellow House. We spent a few minutes packing and cleaning up because it was our last night in the BYH (tear). We strutted down to the beach and enjoyed our last swim in Vega Alta. We frolicked in the salty waves as we swam out to the buoy and tossed around the frisbee. Once we returned to BYH, we prepared for our new friends, the community members from Villa del Rio, to join us for our last dinner together. We devoured our hamburgers and delicious waffle fries as we chatted with our friends, reminiscing on the days we spent together this past week. Once dinner was all finished, we played volleyball with Eggy, had water gun fights with Angel’s grandsons and enjoyed ice cream. What touched us the most about our final dinner was the bracelets we were gifted from Willy and Angel, showing their appreciation for our service. Each bracelet had its own unique charm and a Puerto Rican flag. After a bittersweet goodbye, we headed to bed dreaming of our jam-packed day tomorrow!!

Rose, Catie, Emma, and Ellie M. 🙂

July 27, 2023

For our last day in Puerto Rico, some went early in the morning to see turtles in the water. It was the beginning of an eventful day as we were all excited but sad to end this amazing opportunity. We all quickly got our stuff ready but our breakfast came late. Distressed, but hopeful, we waited and finally got to  eat our final toast together.  We soon went to our favorite vans, white and grey, especially with our favorite driver, Dani, and his rascal companion, Shadow, the dog. We went to a freshwater creek, preparing ourselves for an exhausting hike, BUT! Unfortunately, the torrential rain proved to be a hazard in our path. We ended up in small waterfall, but it was serene and beautiful. Some people, like Tracey and Isabella almost got taken up by the current. But one thing we all agreed on was that jumping off rocks are amazing (shoutout to Penn the rock photographer). After this adventure, we explored the Kioskos, a shopping area with amazing clothes, jewelry, and amazing food at Terruño where we relaxed and ate scrumptious food. Many got (non-alcoholic) Pina coladas for the experience, while others rocked fashion from Puerto Rico. We got our final souvenirs and clothing, and some got cool jewelry from a nice lady and daughter in a booth! Continuing our day, exhausted but pushing through, we made it to the local beach and swam or sat down in the sand. We all rode the waves and found alive sand dollars!!! After some time, we reached our final stretch of the day, went to our beautiful hostels, and prepared for our final activity. The bioluminescent #bioslay kayaking tour. Many were amateurs, but we were determined to reach our destination and forge our path. At the end of it, we returned home and now our long awaited conclusion of this spectacular trip was initiated. The return of our “small computer devices.” Our final thoughts on this trip is one of sadness but future hope in this next generation of these amazing leaders and lovely people.
⁃John, Clara, Isabella, Tracey