Notes on community life from Jayshawn and Olivia:
For the last week we have become a part of the community ¨Las Juntas”, a beautiful small town nestled in tree covered mountains. Las Juntas has happily welcomed us into their homes. The first night we were thrown a party involving dancing and delicious food. The very next morning we were up at 8 am ready to begin working on the bleechers and bathrooms. Every day we spend 8 hours shoveling cement, carrying rocks, and digging dirt. our long days at the worksite have been punctuated with visits to the nearby town, San Luis de Pambil, to swim in the river.
Last saturday we went to Moraspungo to shop at the market. Many of us bought fresh ingredients to cook dinner for our homestay families. People attempted to make speggeti and tomato sauce, pizza, rice krispy treats, etc.
As a group we have encountered a number of memorable individuals. The locals here call us ¨pollitos¨, or ¨little chickens¨, and we have in turn created a variety of nicknames for them as well. For example, one homestay father is called ¨the sargent¨. He used to be in the
military and has a very set way of doing things. There is also a woman here called ¨the tank, her name is actually marjorie, and she is the a hardest worker at the construction site. There is nothing she can´t do.
For the past few days a few group members have been working at the local school teaching English classes. After attempting to coordinate games and plan lessons with excitable children we all developed a greater appreciation for our teachers back at home.
This has been one of the most unique weeks in the majority of our lives. The climate in Las Juntas is so different than anything we have every experienced. we have been blessed with gorgous sunsets and breathtaking night skies…as well as plagued with many stomachaches. For better or worse we are all looking forward to what the next two
weeks will bring.
With a name like ¨Las Juntas¨ it was no surprise that I felt so comfortable here. I have enjoyed my time with my host family which consists of two parents and one son. Immediately I felt welcomed here in the town and I appreciate everyone´s genuine hospitality.
Some events that stick out when I reflect on the week I have spent here are the trips to the river, the work days, and the exciting time I spent getting to know my family. I was fortunate enough to have a mom willing to cook cui (guinneapig), a brother who dances, and a dad
who is a par-t time comedian and radio host and a helper who is the rock of the household. I was also blessed with a beautiful home that has made my transition here a lot easier.