Everyday comes with its new share of adventures, experiences, and ways of stretching myself out of my comfort zone. On the morning of the 4th we anxiously met after breakfast to go through a question and answer session about moving in with our host families. Each of us was paired with either one or two people to live with local families for the week. Living with these families meant eating each meal with them, helping them around the house, and learning about their way of living. After our quick Q+A, we finally were able to meet our family. I was living with Amelia, who did not speak Spanish. I am in level 4 and traveled to Spain last year with Westtown so my Spanish is pretty good but can always be improved. We were greeted with a kind looking women holding a little baby: Anita the mother and Luisiana the daughter, and an older girl around our age named Shura. They both greeted us with kisses on the cheek and immediately helped us in lugging our huge suitcases to their house, 10 minutes down the road. On the way to the house we made small talk, with the conversation a little awkward at first but eventually we found common ground in topics like siblings, music, food, and everything in between. The house, which consisted of a little court yard and scattered rooms, was adorable and sat on a well-known street named La Calle de Cien Ventanas (the street of one hundred windows).
When we arrived at the house we also met Fabricio, the three-year old son, and Celestino, the father. They were both so sweet and greeted us with the typical Latin kisses. Each night Amelia and I would talk, play UNO, or watch TV with our family. Over the home stay Amelia and I grew to know everyone in the family and loved them dearly. They fed us wonderful food and were always making sure that we felt comfortable. I am forever grateful for their wonderful hospitality.
our family during the last part of our home stay
The first day of our family stays was also the first day of our service. We were working at the local school, attempting to help build a wall. On that first day we did not do much but instead toured the school and did a leadership activity together. Over the next few days we would move over 2000 cinder blocks, move dirt, and help mix cement to help build the wall. The work was tedious at times, but when each task was complete we all felt accomplished and proud of the work.
On the 6th our group headed 2 hours up a mountain to a weaving community called Patacancha. The ride up was a little scary at times but that almost added to the fun. The community was in a remote village and we arrived to a sight of 20-30 women all working hard on their pieces. We learned from our tour guide about the work of the different women and how it helps to profit the community. During part of our time in the community we were able to work with the women individually and made bracelets. Overall I really enjoyed the time in the community but it was definitely different from my first expectations.
women in the weaving community