Today is the last day of working at San Antonio and I couldn't have enjoyed the projects that we worked on any more than I did. I woke up at 0530 ready to start the day. I decided to get up early in order to use the best shower in the hostel, that actually has water pressure and warm water.
I took a quick shower and then got ready for the day. I was ready at 0550 and had 40 minutes until breakfast, so I decided to text my dad and see what he was up too since it was 0650 in Massachusetts and he has always been an early riser. I talked to my dad for the morning telling him what projects we have done the past few days and seeing what his plan was for the weekend.
When the clock hit 0630 we went to breakfast at Violetta’s. Breakfast was pretty bland, but good, consisting of cornflakes with bananas and an option of orange juice or coffee. Feeling pretty tired, I decided to go with coffee, but because of how much coffee I have drank on this trip it is starting to lose its effect. I think I am going to start laying off the coffee until the Spring semester starts when I will need it the most. When breakfast was over, Brian Dan, Teddy and I walked the 10-15 minutes to the bus terminal and caught our last bus to San Antonio.
I looked out the window seeing some great views of Volcan de Fuego and Volcan Acatenango as we drove to the small city. We arrived to San Antonio at 0745, 15 minutes before Vicky (one of our trips sponsors) arrived. While we were waiting for Vicky to unlock the doors, our mentor Brian wanted to get his usual morning Coca Cola at the tienda next door, I decide to follow his unhealthy lead and got an icecream sandwich to start off my day (the icecream sandwich woke me up better than the coffee). Once I finished the ice cream sandwich the doors were unlocked and we got our tools we would need for the day. We didn't know exactly what we would be doing today when we arrived, but we knew it would be something with building, so we brought our wheel-barrel, hammers, and shovels. We walked to the work site at 0800 and arrived at 0810.
When we arrived, the expert carpenter that we have been working with all week, Will, informed us that we would be making a roof for the outside bathroom we constructed this week. As simple as this task sounds, there is a lot that comes with making a roof. We had to dig holes in a very rocky area, make sure the holes were the same depth on each side, making sure there was a 10 cm slope in order for water to drain off the roof, and make sure the roof was level. While making sure all this happened, I decided to recruit the eight year old boy that lives on the property who was watching us very carefully.
I was cutting out plastic liner which we were going to place on the bottom of the beams so they will be less likely to corrode. I introduced myself to the young boy who is named Daniel. I asked him for help to cut the plastic sheets which he seemed very excited to do. Once Daniel and I cut the sheets and placed them on the beams, we made sure everything was level and then put the beams in holes. We buried the beams in the dirt and then double and triple checked to make sure everything was level. It was a trial by error type of experience and our team and to redo our work at least twice. This was an all-day affair. At the end of the day we were mostly done, just a few more pieces of sheet metal to screw on top of the structure we created and the project will be official complete. When we were done, Daniel gave me a big hug and asked for a piggyback ride, which I gave with no question. He had never seen a tall person like myself and he wanted to take advantage of the moment. I carried Daniel on by shoulders for 5 minutes and finally put him down and said goodbye. That was the last moment I had on the San Antonio worksite and it was perfect. Just to understand that I made an impact and made a young boys day made me so proud of the work our group did.
We left San Antonio at 1200 and arrived at Violetta’s for lunch at 1245. Lunch was chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes and guacamole (it was delicious). Once lunch was over I arrived back at the hostel and got ready for Spanish class. In Spanish class, my tutor, Claudia, and I went over different “ar”, “er, and “ir” verbs for the first two hours. Once we finished going over them, a group of Mass Maritime students joined together in a circle and played a game very similar to “Heads Up” where we wore a piece of tape on our heads and had to guess what we were. We played this until class was over. The game was very fun, but I was very happy to get out of the class for the weekend. I feel like I am learning a lot of Spanish and am getting much better at speaking the language.
Once Spanish ended, I headed back to the hostel to work until 1800. At 1800 we headed to Professor Lennon’s house where we had a gathering with him, some of his friends he made when he was a Captain in the US Coast Guard, and different contacts we have made during our trip in Guatemala. We had an assortment of appetizers as well as 15 boxes of pizza which were all eaten by the end of the night.
The get together was very nice and I was able to talk to many different people. We finally left the house at 2130 and headed back to the hostel. When we got back I was exhausted and decided to head to bed. Today was a great day and I cannot believe we only have one week left of being in Guatemala.