Salome: ... smiles and echoes of “feliz cumpleanos” from the kids as we went inside. All of them were so excited and I was overwhelmed by the joy and love emitted from everyone. When I was brought to the table by the kids, two beautiful cakes were placed in front of me and everyone started to sing. At the conclusion of the song, I was told to bite the cake, and to be honest I wasn’t sure at first but after encouragement that it was okay, I did, to everyone’s celebration. I was also given a poster that everyone signed and it truly captured the sincerity of everyone’s desire to make it a good day. Everyone was included and played a great part in ensuring the flow and execution of everything. In this ambience, I felt almost shocked, completely blown away by everyone’s efforts and I was not only appreciative of everyone there, but the opportunity to actually be in Mexico and be able to have this experience with my team and everyone here in Oaxaca. Following eating cake, the celebration continued with bringing out the piñata. I wasn’t exactly getting substantial hits in, but everyone’s collaboration in trying to tell me where to hit and just overall cheering made it very enjoyable. After I made my attempt, watching the little kids try to hit it was so adorable and amicable in the fact that, yes, watching them hit the piñata was cute, but also the happiness it brought them reminded me of why I’m here. It was also very funny to see members of the team try and hit the piñata as well, and the fact that it was something everyone was into and involved in, made it even better. After the piñata was finally broken, and everyone bolted to retrieve their candy, music was played and people were dancing. That was fun because those same feelings of joy and fun were perpetuated and we were just letting loose and having a good time. Overall, today really grew my heart even more because it was infused with love and sincerity. I’m anticipating a week with more rewarding experiences and chances to build even stronger relationships than have already been established.
Victor A.: ... working by shoveling gravel and with sand into multiple wheelbarrows. Another member of the team would take the wheelbarrow to the construction site and empty the contents out into separate piles. The day was hot with a little bit of wind, we took water breaks whenever we needed to. Once the sufficient amount of sand and gravel had been supplied by the wheelbarrows more of us transitioned to the construction site. Felix, and experienced construction worker, was patient with the group and walked us through how to properly mix the cement. Sand, gravel, cement, and water were combined in a pile where they were later mixed by the hardest workers from teams one and two. While mixing we circled around the pile in an organized manner to make sure that it was evenly mixed. One of the boys, Pedro, was helping to fill buckets whenever it was needed, the day felt long and most of us were tired the end of it but we fueled back up with an amazing meal. Lunch consisted of chicken, rice, black beans, and tortillas.