Buenas noches, amigos. This morning we began our day at 6:45, MOST of us bright eyed and bushy tailed, SOME bleary eyed and yawning. Either way we were excited to get the opportunity to tour Escuela de Educacion Basico. This middle school is right across the square from our hotels. We got to see classrooms of all ages and the newly renovated gymnasium, which has a roof over it now to cover the students during the rainy season. It was interesting to see a school in action as the students prepared for exams. It was especially nice to hear some 7th grade students sing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” for us. After that we ate another delicious breakfast of huevos, frijoles negras, tortillas and platanos and loaded up the trucks to head to Porvenir.
Right away we got to work for three and a half hours on our second stoves. We continued to work hard and build community with our masons, stove recipients and any other children who wandered into our worksite.
We paused for lunch then gathered as a group for a very special activity. We surprised the kids with a dental hygiene presentation. We explained the purpose of our activity, talked through the toothbrushing steps and Regan gave an great visual example for the kids. Then we got to work...
- We passed out disclosing tablets to each kid. They were these little chewables that each kid chewed in order to show where plaque stuck to your teeth. The kids were all giggling when their mouth turned pink.
- Then each kid received a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Once they had rinsed their mouths from the chewables, our group walked around encouraging them to use proper brushing etiquette for two whole minutes. The older kids were great at starting at the back and working their way to the front of their mouth. Many older siblings helped their little brothers and sisters brush in the tough to reach spots.
- After they finished so many came running up, beaming with pride. We took pictures of their huge grins to show them and they were just so happy!
- Once they finished, they were able to keep their toothbrushes and paste to use in the future.
After lunch all of us felt a little bit lethargic, but we pushed through the rest of our work day and made a lot of progress. When we returned to the posadas, we split into two teams to have our turn in the kitchen. One group made chile rellenos for dinner that consisted of a poblano pepper, cheese, squash and carrots. Our group made rellenitos for dessert. We peeled and mashed plantains that had been boiled in water with cinnamon. Then we added sugar to blended black beans and put them inside a cocoon of plantains. Once they were rolled into a sphere shape, we fried them which always makes everything better. Dinner came late, but was well worth the wait!
Although it was a day that required a lot of stamina and motivation, we all cannot believe that tomorrow is our final work day. We are enjoying conversations and laughs with one another that we will remember for years to come.
- Lauren Schauer