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Temple Sinai and Temple Israel Puerto Rico Trip Journal 2016

Trip Journal #1

February 16, 2016

Today was the start of a great adventure, a day of learning more about the Puerto Rican culture. Starting with a walk through a few miles of Old San Juan, we got to visit El Morro, a 400 year old fort. A tour guide led us along the way, showing us many of the important places, such as Ponce de Leon’s resting place, historical monuments, and beautiful plazas. After, we got to experience lunch at a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant. Many people tried all sorts of plantains, they were a huge hit! With some time left, we got to explore one of the streets of Old San Juan. To finish off the days activities, there was an option of going to the beach nearby the Big Yellow House (the place we are staying). To conclude our day, people are preparing tacos, because it is “Taco Tuesday”.  Hopefully, we will get to sleep early tonight to be well rested for a working day tomorrow. Cross your fingers for another day with great weather in Puerto Rico!!

– Jamie K.

Trip Journal #2

February 17, 2016

Hello! Today was the first day we got to go to the site where we will be carrying out our community service for the next few days. We arrived at the community and were greeted by John, who is a young adult taking an initiative by organizing builds throughout his community. He walked us through a couple of houses that he and other Global Works groups have built. It showed us the power that group work can have on other people. We then went down to the build site where we were mixing concrete to lay down as the floor of the house. It was not just Global Works members working on these build sites, but community members as well. It was an eye opening experience, because we got to see how people who aren’t as fortunate as us still help their community to become better. We then ate lunch with some of the community members and we got to talk to them about how they live and it shows us how grateful we should be for what we have. We then got back and when to the beach to cool off and relax to end a great end. Tonight we have salsa dancing. Yea!

Trip Journal #3

February 18, 2016

Today we went back to the village of Villa Del Rio. We met an awesome new family to help and continued to work with some of the same members of the community as yesterday. We used the skills we learned yesterday to make many batches of concrete and complete a section of the roof. Today we got especially close with another Global Works group from a high school in Brooklyn as we bonded under the boiling sun. Even though we only completed a small portion of the roof, we know it made a difference and are so excited to continue to work on it tomorrow. After hiking up a huge hill we got to enjoy a homemade traditional Puerto Rican meal made for us by community members. Even though we were exhausted,  the teens from the community who were helping were still enthusiastic and playing basketball. It really put into perspective how easy our daily routines are compared to theirs.
Later in the day we drove to a different part of the island to shop around, eat dinner, and go kayaking in a bioluminescent bay. Even after the long day, our sore arms were able to bring us all the way to the lagoon full of glowing microorganisms. We are excited to get back to the house and get a full night of sleep for a busy day tomorrow!

-Samantha M. & Chloe C.

February 19. 2016

Today, our last day of building we headed over with our gloves and shovels ready to build. After a long drive we  got to our destination and started to build! The sun seemed to get hotter through each passing second but we persevered and did what we came here to do. With the sweat puddles growing we took a well deserved break to hydrate and refuel. After our break we were all well rested and finished the job. We said our goodbyes and headed over to the community center where there was a delicious meal awaiting us. After we finished and had time to cool down we rushed into the vans to go back to the house where we all piled into the showers in preparation for our visit to Temple Beth Shalom. Before we left we had a small service of our own. (Kabbalat Shabbat). When we arrived at the temple and we were immediately welcomed by the local Jewish community. We looked around and found very few differences. It was a comfort to hear the same prayers chanted here and we all joined in. When we arrived back at the Big Yellow House we found a treat awaiting us: a feast of Ben and Jerry’s. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

-Sarah G.