As we departed early this morning for our work site, I felt many emotions going through my head. I was just hoping I could really put my best foot forward. As we arrived on the site, Cuidad de Arce; I really got to see what kind of schooling these children are being taught in. It was a humbling experience because it made me think of all the things I take advantage of with my education.
We started work immediately, with the direction of Lynette. She started by showing me how to dig up the grass with a hoe and also where I don’t hurt myself. After digging up the grass for a while and water breaks, Laura and I decided we would help make support braces for the concrete that will be poured into the trenches to brace the walls for the school. We felt all work was an important job on the site. I have also realized that this was hard manual labor. These people do not have machines and other technology to get the job done. It is all hard work and these people are more proud of their work.
As lunch approached, we walked up hill to this picnic area that the school is fortunate to have. This was an amazing view of mountains and the city as we ate, it was really breathtaking. For lunch we had our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we made that morning. Lunch came to an end and it was back to work. Sister Lynette offered us to take a taxi (tuktuk) ride through town for $2.00. Sonja, Laura and I were the first on this ride. It was really eye opening to see that these people are just like us in the United States. They are just as excited about the New Year as we are on selling fireworks and other celebration items. We got to really travel further and see more of the mountain side on this part of town. I say it was well worth my money. As we arrived back at the work site, we found children from the neighborhood that wanted to play with the volunteers such as coloring, cards and soccer.
As the children were playing, Laura and I decided to continue to work. It was amazing to see all volunteers we had in the community to help us at this time. I even saw the father of some of the children that were playing working with us on the work site. This was a blessing experience that I don’t see in America. Volunteers that just took a few hours of their day just help us out because they know it is for the betterment of the community. Laura and I worked hard and made new friendships with these people. We held many deep conversations, as I was in amazement with the contribution. I was so thankful for the wonderful people in the community.
Few hours later, we cleaned up the work site and headed back to the house. I know at this point we were all ready to get cleaned up from the day’s work. Dinner was served shortly and soon our reflection followed.
Reflection helped me understand everything that I know I take advantage of and I felt today was a real blessing in disguise. I could not have asked for anything better than really immersing myself in the culture. I have realized how privileged I am and I should be more thankful for the opportunities I am given. And knowing that happiness is all I need.
Chelsea Braune is a senior at Tarleton State University and a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity.