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Swampscott H.S. Puerto Rico 2022

April 14, 2022

We arrived at the Big Yellow House around 4am. We slept a few hours and got up and had our first meal from Ricky. We then played some name games to get to know each other and then packed up and went to the beach. We swam, looked for coconuts, tanned, and took many pictures. Later we went on a hike and were greeted by beautiful views of crashing waves and a sunset. After arriving home, we had a delicious dinner consisting of swordfish, chicken, salad, and rice. Today was a really fun, action packed first day and we can’t wait for the days to come!

Jesse F. and Franklin D.B.

April 15, 2022

We woke up around 6:30, we got ready for the day and headed to breakfast. We ate french toast, egg whites and fruits such as bananas and apples. Then, we got ready for the day and headed into Old San Juan around 8:30. There, we met our tour guide Alvin who showed us around the historic landmarks of the city. For lunch, we ate at an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant, Rieces. We ate meat, rice, beans, and tostones. We continued our exploration of the city by visiting the biggest fort in the Caribbean, El Morro. We finished our tour with ice cream and some shopping before heading back to the Big Yellow House for some downtime. Afterwards, we played a game to help with our Spanish vocabulary, ate dinner, did some karaoke, and then watched a documentary on the impacts of the hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico and how important our work here is to the community. We finished the day off with some group reflection and discussed the work we will be doing tomorrow.

Mercy S. and Alisa F.

April 16, 2022

Today we woke up at 7:30 and got ready for our first work day in the community! For breakfast, we had pancakes and eggs, and we were picked up for the bus at 9. We arrived at the community and met some members where we got our instructions for the day. We got boats, gloves and glasses, we were taught how to mix the cement and from there it was split into two groups. After many breaks and lots of work, we finished the cement work for the day and headed up the street to move cinder blocks through an assembly line and onto the roof. We had an amazing lunch, pasta, chicken wings, beans, rice, and salad, cooked by Maria. After we ate we played makeshift Uno with the kids and met the baby. Once leaving the community, we began our venture home where we were given the opportunity to go to the beach. We rested and played Rock, Paper, Scissors, Evolution and NINJA. We then journaled and ate dinner, pasta, sauce, salad, cod, and chicken. We watched the documentary “After Maria”, going in depth of how the people of Puerto Rico were truly affected by the hurricane. The Global Works Leaders got us Tres Leches for dessert and many people got Tarot Card readings! It was very meaningful to be able to build relationships with the members of the community as we worked alongside, showing truly how appreciative they were of our help.

Thea S. and Ethan A.

April 17, 2022

Like yesterday, we woke up at 7:30 to work in the community. For breakfast we had French toast and quiche. On the bus to the community we listened to music to motivate us for our day ahead. We worked much more effectively than yesterday and finished pouring cement early, and moved on to moving cinder blocks. Afterward we ate lunch at Maria’s house and got to try yuca for the first time. An ice cream truck came by and we all got to practicing ordering in Spanish. After another fun bus ride back to the Big Yellow House we relaxed at the beach, where some people got souvenirs from local vendors. Because it is Easter, the chaperones set up a fun Easter egg hunt for candy. We finished the day with a dinner of fried plantains, journaling, some Spanish practice and karaoke. We were very excited with how successful our work was today, because we were able to get more done than expected and we look forward to making as much of a difference as we can and getting closer with the members of the community.

Ryan B. and Hannah F.

April 18, 2022

Today we woke up at around 7:30 to volunteer in the town. For breakfast we had waffles and eggs. On the bus we listened to more music and had a great time. Today we switched up the work we did and moved cinder blocks all day. All together we moved 5 pallets of blocks. We had lots of breaks and juice. For lunch we had very good chicken, pasta and rice. On the bus the speaker died, so we were sad. When we got home we went snorkeling. At the beach, there was some frisbee throwing, tree climbing and hole digging.  Once we got back to the Big Yellow House we played a lot of 4 square, after that we ate some delicious pizza and played some more 4 square. Today was a very action packed day that made us realize how appreciative we are of each other’s company!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Henry V. and Atticus G.

April 19, 2022

Today we woke up a bit earlier than usual. The girls got up at 6:30 to sing happy birthday to one of the other girls. For breakfast, we had pancakes, fries, and eggs. Then we got on the bus and sang a bunch of songs on our way to the petroglyphs at a Waldorf School. Once we got there we went on a little hike to a bonfire where we wrote down/burned stuff we wanted to get rid of. After that we went and swam at the petroglyphs. It was really fun and some of us were able to jump off a rock. Then, we ate a vegan lunch, which consisted of sweet plantain, white rice, and a papaya salad. It was really good! We went back to the bonfire to talk about our experience with being one with nature. On the bus ride home, we jammed to some more music and rested. When we got back, we played 4 square, showered, and journaled. We ate dinner, which was fried chicken, fries, salad, and cooked salmon. We also celebrated the girl’s birthday by eating cake and wearing party hats and glow sticks. Finally, it was time for our long awaited salsa dancing lesson! We learned some basic steps and we all had a blast. Today was a day that allowed us to refresh ourselves and really take a step back and admire Puerto Rico’s beauty!

Maddie O. and Brooke F. 

April 20, 2022

Today was our last full day at the Big Yellow House. We ate breakfast before getting on the bus for our last work day. We sang many songs and participated in a Spanish scavenger hunt on our way to Villa Del Rio. When we arrived, we were greeted by the community members and headed down towards the house we would work on. We began by moving cinder-blocks into three piles as a base to build the foundation of the walls. After that, we moved rebar up the hill to then cut it and tie it together with wires. After we completed this task we were served rice and beans, chicken, pasta, and salad made by Maria. Once we finished lunch, we went back to work to move more cinder-blocks for around half an hour. We left the community and returned back for some downtime and packing. Community members arrived at the house a little after 7 pm and we all gathered together for dinner and socialization. Dinner was followed by speeches from William, Angel, Maria, and family. We were given bracelets to symbolize our bond with each other and said our sad goodbyes, while also recognizing all of the memories and new friendships we created. We are dreading our flight home tomorrow and wish we could stay longer. We have an exciting and busy day planned for tomorrow and look forward to enjoying our last hours together.

Kristina M. and Carly L.