Saturday, May 10, 2008

Building Lives

Yesterday was my last day in la communidad, and it was probably the best. We didn't have the opportunity to go around and teach, but we did build a house. This woman's house and been falling apart for years and had finally gotten to the point where she moved in underneath her daughter's house. There were six of us and we were able to go and build her a new house. It was very hard work and we were out in the sun for a very long time, but it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. First we tore down the old house and then we had to dig new foundations for the supports and start from scratch. It was crazy hard since the ground is filled with very large rocks that we had to break up first. It really makes me thankful for what I have! The sides of the house were so dang heavy that I'm surprised that we ever got them up to the house. You wouldn't think that bamboo would be that difficult! It was so much fun though, and the family that we got to know was great. The woman kept telling us if we ever came back that we could come and stay with her. We also taught the kids some English, and that was really fun! We almost finished by the time it got dark, but we were not allowed to do the roof ourselves. I think our teachers were a bit nervous already about us climbing around on the framework before we got the floor nailed in. Oh well, we were still able to get a lot done, and hopefully the woman will be able to move in this weekend!!! Of course to celebrate, we went to the beach today. I realized anew just how white I actually am compared to all of these Ecuadorians! Of course, now I am more red comparatively, but that at least means color. I think almost all of us came back a little sunburned- but it was nice to be able to relax for a while. We also had the luxury of shopping for all sorts of stuff from our towels. Once one person bought something I think every vendor for miles decided to congregate around our tents! It was pretty funny, especially to see some of the people on our trip attempt to bargain. I had to reassure several of them that the vendors wouldn't sell it if they were not making a profit. The point is just not be too ripped off! We finished off the day with a boat ride around the peninsula and went diving off the top of the boat. I'll have to post pictures the Salinas trip later because we didn't take all the cameras!
Another great part of the Weekend was the ward Mother's Day party. They invited us all to sing, but they also hired a Mariachi band to be there for a while. It was great fun! They also had games and dancing. We now have some great footage of "Mama Sondra" playing musical chairs with the Relief Society president. The night wrapped up with some dancing, and they even played some American music in our honor. Now I'm not so sure that Brittney Spears "I'm a Slave" is really the best representation of our culture. Luckily I don't think anyone there knew what the words were!

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