Today began with a well-planned, well executed, carination of one Dahoon Jose Juan Song. Hoon received a guitar-accompanied performance of both the Spanish and English “happy birthday” songs, while I sat on his bed getting his dogs under control. The day was off to a great start. After walking back to the “big house” after finishing our morning duties, we made a nice buffet style yogurt, granola, fruit, and bread station, which made for quite the breakfast.
After breakfast we prepared to go and visit our new rural school friends, this time at their place of business. After a short hike to Anja and Alex’s house to borrow a car, we were on our way to the school and Huatusco. We reached the school and were warmly greeted by “the homies”. A couple handshakes and tapas later, Mekhi, Dahoon and I found ourselves in the middle of a friendly fùtbol match. Mekhi came out on fire, scoring the first two goals of the match. After some mild to lackluster defense from our female teammates, we were facing a surely insurmountable deficit. Dahoon and I did our best to get back in the game via him serving me up a few lobs, which quickly turned into screaming volleys as they hit my foot. Although the non-present scoreboard showed the other team having more goals, our team surely triumphed by means of spirituality and sportsmanship.
Following the game, we were kindly toured by two teachers and many students who showed us their progressing advancement in Eco-technologies such as compost piles, designated plastic disposing areas, a small garden with hanging orchids, and their compost packaging partnership with an urban school in which they provide the compost and in return get it packaged while retaining 50% of the profit of the sold compost bags. After the tour, we were able to share our thoughts, show our respect and appreciation, and acknowledge our possible role as creating a brother/sister school relationship with Westtown to help with the money issues, among other things, that go into converting a school such as that one into a completely eco friendly environment. It should be noted that this school in particular is hoping to be the benchmark for sustainability; if/when successful, they will be the model for all of its 1,200 peer schools – the effect of this accomplishment is obvious.
After the presentation and our reflections, we were directed to meet with the students at their main building for a surprise. Once gathered, the students brought out a birthday cake for Dahoon as we all sang to him. The cake was as sweet as saying adios to our Mexican friends was bitter. After a bite of cake, hugs, and many pictures, we were on our way to Hoon’s birthday lunch in Huatusco, where Guillermina was anticipating our arrival. After noodles, optional chicken, eggs, plantains, soup, and another birthday cake, we were ready to call it quits. We said goodbye and thank you to Guillermina and began walking to the urban school, where we were planning to see another group of students that we had taught and exchanged contact info with the day before.
Once in the school we sat and spoke with the assistant principal, talking briefly about what we showed the kids and a more general synopsis of the work Alan and Paula are doing in Las Bellotas (the conversation was in Spanish so don’t quote me on what was said). We were given a quick tour, and to our disappointment had to leave before seeing the kids we met yesterday. Sentimentality aside, we were back on the streets of Huatusco where we had a few minutes to shop. We then met in Hector and Pati’s yoga studio, and a few minutes later were on our way home. We made it back exhausted but in good spirits.
After a good while of resting, afternoon chores, and general chilling, we went and visited our old compost piles we made what feels like a month ago. They weren’t hot like expected, but that didn’t matter because we were now focused on meeting yet again with our apprentice friends for games and dinner. Once there we had a great meal accompanied by fun table games that are too numerous and complicated to write about at the moment. After cleaning up and saying goodbye, we were on our way home, where we are now; showering, taping up blisters, eating leftover cake, sleeping, talking, and blogging. The day was busy with memories for all of us, but for only Dahoon will these memories turn into that of legend. What a (birth)day. I’m hoping to fall asleep soon, in search of much needed rest to lead yoga tomorrow, which with luck, will be followed by ziplining, which will then be followed by our night of camping under the stars… We are all crossing our fingers for clear skies tomorrow night.
See you soon, Samuél