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Spain: Sustainable Communities and Immigration A 2023

June 30, 2023

Hola Amigos!

Today we arrived in Madrid and took a scenic bus ride to our hotel. We took a walk around the city, enjoying the sun and cool breeze as we met our new friends. We devoured lunch at a delicious restaurant nearby our hotel which included a diverse selection of traditional Spanish foods and some American options too for those who wanted to play it safe for day one. We then had a siesta back at the hotel to ware off some of our jet lag! Next, we woke up with a scenic and refreshing trot to the park where we broke some ice and started to get to know each other. We got to our favorite local medieval den and ate caprese salad, paella, costillas (ribs), and some chicken tenders. We finished up with a dessert array of cheesecake, yogurt and fresh fruit, and pudding. Now we are about to enjoy the best sleep of our lives!

Buenas noches amigos!

Love, Ella and Millie

July 1, 2023

Second day in Spain!

We started our day with a group breakfast of pasties and coffee in our hotel around 8:30. We then joined our tour guide Sebastian for a fun and energetic tour of Madrid! We were able to learn the history of historic cities sites such as Plaza Mayor. The “elbow street” or calle de codo, and the royal palace, which is now a museum. On the way we stopped for our first authentic churros and chocolate and they were really delicious!! Following our history filled tour, we went for lunch at la Finca de Susana, where the entire group agreed we had the best food yet, complete with the full “menú del día,” or the chefs special selection of three courses for the day. Next, we enjoyed free time to shop and roam the city before walking to the Museo de Prado. We really enjoyed the beautiful weather and admiring the architecture on the way. After a detailed guided tour of the museum we walked to a delicious dinner and tried our first tapas. We tried off variety of traditional Spanish tapas, including the famous tortilla española. After dinner, we enjoyed gelato and walked around the city (it’s still bright out at 9:30pm!) and eventually made it back to our hostel. We ended the night with a reflection activity and everyone got to share a special moment from the day. We are headed to bed to pack and get ready for moving locations tomorrow!!

Buenas noches,
Georgia and Veronica

July 2, 2023

Hola chicos y chicas!

This morning we woke up at the crack of dawn at 7:30, and had a quick breakfast at the Hotel Persal. We headed straight to the bus to the aqueduct and the Disney Castle in Segovia. Our tour guide gave us a great history of the castle (Isbabella and Ferdinand lived there!), we walked up to the top of the tower where Juana la loca (but she wasn’t actually crazy) was locked in for 47 years. Although grim, we enjoyed the insanely gorgeous view. Then we headed to lunch where we got to eat a full menú del día and enjoy cheesecake again!!! We did our best but the staff laughed at our struggle to eat a three course lunch. Then we ventured out in the beautiful and quaint pueblo of Segovia; it really looked like something out of a movie. We came back to the bus and had an intense battle of who-sits-where but luckily no sword was drawn! On the bus ride to Amayuelas, Miriam let each of queue a song to sing along to. Everyone chose their favorite song and we jammed to music the whole ride there. The drive from Segovia to Amayuelas (the city to the countryside) was really nice and when we got there we got to check out our new digs for the next five days. Our lovely hosts gave us a tour of the place and we got to meet the dogs, cats, horses, pigs, sheep and plants that call this place home. We learned a little bit about the service work we’re going to do here and then ate a delicious dinner with fresh veggies from the garden by the finca.

We are ready to get our hands dirty and start our service tomorrow!
Sasha and Libby

July 3, 2023

Hola Everyone,

We woke up and worked in the community we’re currently staying at – Amayuelas. We were divided into two groups of five and one group of four. Pablo’s group worked on mixing mud, water, and straw to make adobe bricks to construct a shed for tools. Miriam’s group helped build the foundation of the building we are making, using tools like shovels, pickaxes, wheelbarrows, and mallets to break up rocks and move materials. Teresa’s group of four worked inside and helped garden and clean the house as well as do the dishes/set the table for the group. After a delicious lunch of rice, eggs and tomatoes, we took some time for a siestas to recover from the
hard morning’s work. Then, we split into groups to do talleres in the afternoon. One group learned how make pizza and bread for dinner and the other group learned how to make organic soap. We really enjoyed learning from the Amayuela locals and enjoyed the charming and beautiful scenery. In between meals and siestas in our free time, some of read and enjoyed a descanso to while other played cards, fooseball, or played the ukulele. Now that we’ve finished our dinner (cheers to our pizza crew for the delicious ‘za!) we are ready for bed!

Buenas noches,
Jack and Arden

July 4, 2023

Hola amigos!

Today we continued our work in the community. We divided into three groups: one group built bricks with mud and straw and water, one group worked on the foundation of the building that we are working on, and the last group did housekeeping and set the table for all three meals. For lunch, we are lentil soup and chicken and the competed in a foosball tournament. We then learned about and played some traditional Spanish games from our host, Melitón. We learned “El Camino,” which is a bottle cap racing game and “El Pastor,” which is game where throw canes at a hat and see who can throw it the farthest. We also played “La Rana,” which is game where you throw small metal discs at a green table with different holes and structures with different point values, the highest being the whole who gets the disc in the frogs mouth! Next, we ate squash soup and the traditional Spanish tortillas for dinner with a healthy dessert of green yogurt. Finally, at the end of the night, we played our favorite running game, cops and robbers.

Ready for another full day of work and fun tomorrow,
Theo and Yusouf

July 5, 2023

Hola a todos,

Today we woke up and divided into three groups for our community service. Some of us did brick making, while others made the foundation of the structure and cleaned the house. It was hard work and it was hot outside, but we had fun! After community service we had lunch, pasta salad and lamb, followed by our much needed siestas where most people took naps. After siesta, the group that made soap on Monday made pizza, bread, and churros while the other group went to the taller de jabón learned about soaps and made both lavender and jasmine soaps. Both groups received some of the soaps that they were a part of making!!

For dinner, we had the pizza that was made fresh from our taller de pan group. The pizza was enjoyed by all, well maybe except for the anchovies one! After dinner was reflection time where we sat in a circle and told each other our roses and thorns of the day, kind of like highs and lows. For the rest of the night we played cards and other games with each other. Tomorrow is our last day in Amayuelas and we’re playing soccer /fútbol with the other pueblo nearby. We hope it goes well and have another great day!

Nora y Chloe

July 6, 2023
Hola a todos,
It’s Richy and Laila. Today we had breakfast and divided into our groups to go into our community service. Today, we only had to work for an hour and a half because we planned a trip to visit la casa de semillas, an old dove house that was turned into a seed museum. The seed house was beautiful was such a unique design. The people who lived in Amayuelas all came together to give us a quick lecture about seeds and agriculture and sustainable farming in Spain. It was a very wholesome interaction that had lasting effects on all of us. After the tour, we went back to the village for lunch. Lunch was delicious. After lunch we got to have siestas time where some people did housework and laundry and others took walks and got out in the nature of Amayuelas. At around 4pm the whole group trekked 45 minutes through beautiful fields to a local community pool where we all got to lay out in the sun and swim around for an hour or so. Our last mission was a soccer game against the pueblo nearby, San Cebrián. One of our work group leaders who lives in Amayuelas took us there and introduced us to the team. Everyone played really hard!! By the time we got back and took the long walk home, we were ready for dinner and bed. We packed up our things as we head to Malaga tomorrow and had the circle around a big campfire to celebrate our last night in Amayuelas with Maria Jo and Melitón.

Laila y Richy

July 7, 2023

The group began its final morning in Amayuelas with an early start, quickly eating a 7:00am breakfast in preparation for a 7:30 departure on the bus. From there, the group took a nap-filled 3-hour bus ride to the Madrid train terminal. Before the train embarked, some members of the group took some time to explore the train terminal and grabbed an extra lunch. The high speed train left the station at 12:00 for another 3 hour ride to the southern city of Malaga. Once the train pulled into the station at Malaga, the group boarded another bus to the Don Curro hotel. After dropping bags in rooms, the group took an hour long walk around Málaga which included a stroll through a high end shopping area as well as a quick ice cream stop. Next, the group headed to a building owned by CEAR, the refugee, immigrant, and migrant organization we will be working for in the Spain. There,  the group learned about how refugees can come from anywhere and how broad the term refugee is. This also served as an introduction to the work the group will be doing at the FES community in the subsequent days. After, the group walked to the nearest bus stop and after following Pablo’s confusing directions, got on a bus to the next destination. Cooking Malaga provided a fun experience where the group divided into teams and with the help of the pros, cooked up an amazing meal. The main courses was paella with chicken and rabbit and the side dish was toasted bread and cheese dip. All three groups did great and the meal was to die for. We also made a non alcoholic sangria as our drink that was very good as well. After the amazing dinner at Cooking Malaga the group walked down to the beach on the Mediterranean Sea. The group chilled at the beach and got our feet wet and ended the day with the circle where everyone said something nice to someone else in the group.

Evan and Zaydan

July 8, 2023

Hola chicos y chicas,

According to the majority today was a really good day! It started with a beautiful array of cheeses, meats, pastries, coffee, and juice and fruit for breakfast at our swanky hotel in Malaga. We took a bus ride from Malaga to Nerja, a small beach town an hour away. We got to spend some time in Nerja to shop and buy ourselves some delicious treats. There were also a ton of beautiful views of the the coast from the town. After our town time, we walked to the nearby beach where we enjoyed time in the clear blue refreshing Spanish water. It was a much needed dip in the sea! A few tan lines and salt water locks later, we walked to lunch right up the beach. We ate shrimp and avocado salad, pasta bolognese, and good ole American cheeseburgers. Afterwards we jumped into ten different tandem kayaks with partners and enjoyed the gorgeous views of the Spanish mountains and cave. We took a break halfway through our paddle to jump out and snorkel and we even saw a huge jellyfish!! Another hour bus ride later we arrived at the next community we are staying at and working with, FES. We got settled in and ended our fantastic beach day with a delicious meal surrounded by friends and new friends from the community. We hope everyone gets a good nights sleep for a day of community service tomorrow!!

Ella and Alex
(aka Isabella y Alexandria)

July 9, 2023


Today was our first day at FES. After a delicious breakfast we divided into pairs, each working on different tasks. We cooked, baked, sewed, gardened, made candles, prints, and jam, and helped out at the kindergarten. These tasks were part of our community service for this leg of the trip. After we completed this, we had a quick lunch, followed by siesta. During our siesta, we played games, and bonded with members at the FES community. We spent time at the pool in the afternoon and some of us played fútbol with kids in the community. In the evening we got introduced to members of the community where we’ll be spending the next few days with. It was great learning experience to hear about their lives and practice our Spanish by telling them about ours. after hearing inspirational words from FES leader, Ignacio, we enjoyed a dinner of rice and potato salad. To conclude our evening we reflected on the incredible FES community and how it differed from ours. We can’t wait to continue our community service and adventure at FES tomorrow!


Jocelyn and Sena

July 10, 2023

¡Hola amigos!

Today marked our second full day at FES, as well as our second day of service. Similarly to yesterday, we were all split up into various workshops around the foundation. Two new additions included working in the theater and carpentry workshops. We enjoyed a community lunch after our workshops, then had a few hours of siesta and pool time to cool off from the hot weather. Afterwards, our group attended a pizza making workshop in the dining hall, led by Dora, a co-founder of FES. Once our pizzas were ready for the oven, we had some more free time before sitting down for dinner. Once the pizzas were ready, we each got to enjoy our own for dinner. Shortly after, a few members of the group went for a night swim in the pool (carefully lifeguarded by instructors), as it will still so hot out. We had our nightly reflection and headed off to bed! We are excited about our last day of work tomorrow and our dance lessons and tapas tomorrow night!!

Buenas noches,
Sophia y Arden

July 11, 2023

We started the day with Pablo’s beautiful voice waking us up just in time for breakfast. We then split up into our service groups where we worked for a few hours. A few people ventured to get haircuts at the local community barber shop while others escaped the heat by playing cards inside. We feasted on a delicious pasta lunch before getting changed into our formal attire and boarding a bus to Granada. In Granada, we indulged in a flamenco lesson from a dancing professional with three people of the foundation (Andrés, Israel and Alex) and enjoyed a solo performance from one of the more adept members of the group (Richy) who quickly added the complex flamenco dancing style to his repertoire of tiktok dancing moves. Then we took a walk to a scenic view of the Alhambra building where many pictures were taken. We walked back to the flamenco dancing studio for a mouth-watering tapas dinner. Afterwards, we enjoyed a live flamenco a performance and leaded back to FES. The leaders of the day orchestrated an engaging and captivating reflection game (two truths and one lie) which ultimately brought the group closer together as we bonded and shared their highlights of the day with one another. Finally, some people jumped in the pool while others prepared for bed. With newly acquired fans in each room, everyone will sleep really well tonight!

Theo and Sasha

July 12, 2023

¡Hola amigos!

Buenos días. We were once again woken up by Pablo’s beautiful soprano voice telling us it was time to go and “Let’s go!” We took a bus to Alhambra, the most visited monument in Spain and one of the wonders of the world. We were joined by Omar, Thierry, and Nassimi from the FES community. We started off with some coffees and then began to the guided tour of the Alhambra. It was a beautiful and historic monument and we enjoyed learning about it. After our tour of the beautiful castle and gardens, we navigated our way to lunch at a moroccan restaurant. The leaders of the day had to lead the way, a task thrust upon them by Pablo due to previous navigation errors. Lunch was at Arrayanes, a moroccan restaurant that served delicious hummus, couscous’s, baklava and mint tea. After a very filling lunch we went to Casa Kuna, a second hand shop run by the FES community. At the store we picked out very stylish outfits for members of the group which we modeled for each other. We were then given free time to explore the city and go shopping. Many members of the group also got henna tattoos of their names in Arabic. We took another bus back to FES where we split into groups and have dinner with different families in the community. The food was amazing and it was a great way to bond and practice our Spanish! To end the night we had a pool party where we danced, practice our pool jumps, and ate ice cream. Overall, it was a very fun and busy day. We are very much looking forward to our hike tomorrow.


Nora and Sena