Today was our first day in the village. On the way to the village we saw many men with shotguns and rifles. It seems to be a theme down here. As we pulled into the village it was really shocking how they lived. Each house was literally a shack. Wood was cut in the front yards of most homes. I thought growing up in poverty was bad but nothing really prepared me for this since. Most of the village is living out of a shack that is about 8x8. Not even big enough for most of our rooms in America. Holes in the road made it hard to stay in our seats. Each road was completely dirt. Arriving at the school/church we saw many kids cheering while we pulled in. They must of known who we were from the previous trips that they made to the area before. First thing we did was to empty all the bags into the church and hospital areas. Next a group of us started handing out gloves. Last we all began to build. We all started on the walls of the new school rooms. At the start of everything we were so sweaty already from unloading all the bags. Today we must have laid a couple hundred cinder blocks for the walls. Throughout the day I drank well over 20 water bottles while working. Every once in awhile I would go over to the bus and apply more sun screen. It just kept on washing off with the sweat. It was so hot! Kind of funny though, there were men in long sleeve shirts and pants staying very cool by the looks of it. I walked around and took pictures of the village throughout the day. The church was filled with clothing from everyone that came down. It was really amazing the amount of people who showed up! It looked to be about 75-100 people. Because of that reason the head guy had militar guys show up to monitor things. I was so freaked out when they showed up. Little did I know they were there for our protection. A few of the guys were really nice, they smiled a lot at us. Others held their straight faces. I guess it really kept the in line correctly while they were waiting to get new clothing. For lunch some wives from the church we were working with made of stir fry. It was really good. The people who lined up for medical was slim at first but then grew as the day went on. The whole day went well and we got a lot done. I got really bad sunburn and used a lot of aloe last night!
Our first day in the village went well. We had a 45 minute bus ride there. The village was off a very long narrow dirt road. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The road was lined with lots of sugar cane and corn fields. Some even had men working on them.
Derek worked very hard on building walls for a classroom. I helped sort out clothes from what felt like a billion black bags. After we sorted all the clothes out by size and gender we let a few of the locals in at a time. Each person was allowed to pick 2 items, a pair of shoe and a shirt or 2 clothing items. We had to watch very closely that they didn't take more than we said. It was often very tough to tell them no. Unlike us in America they can't just drive to Walmart to get new clothes or shoes whenever we want. For many of these people they only get new clothes whenever we come to their village. We were able to provide clothing to about 400 people in the village and still had clothes left. After some discussion we decided we would simply open the doors and let them come in to collect what was left. It was a strange version of Black Friday all over again but without the pushing and cursing at one another!
I must admit Derek and I came pretty prepared. Some people forgot some things like toilet paper or hand sanitizer. I'm thankful we are able to help them out with this! So far everyone seems to get along very well. At dinner at Pizza Hut 1 of the members of our team and a local got to celebrate their birthday with a fun birthday song! We got to meet our host families little girl this morning who was incredibly shy! Hopefully by the end of the trip she will like us much more!