Alternative Spring Break Blog

El Salvador :: March 15 — 24, 2008

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In coming to El Salvador...


In coming to El Salvador we all knew that in the end we would be leaving a family with a new home. Now that we have come here, worked, sweated, laughed, sang, played, eaten and made a mark, I'm realizing how much each one of us will be taking back home. The first day of work did seem a little sketchy with the "mezcla fiasco" (as I think of it) and the anti-socialness of our house while next door pealed with laughter.

But we proved ourselves (somehow. . .) in the eyes of our amazing masons, and before long their hesitance melted away and our laughter rang out. As we all worked in the hot, humid plot of land, we built houses for 3 families: Naomi (in a wheelchair from arthritis), and Tomas (the coolest grandpa you will ever meet - and the hardest working!).

Each day that went by we got closer and closer to the incredibly skilled, funny, varied masons; we bonded with and learned about the 3 families that will raise their children and grandchildren in the modest homes; we created special ties with international volunteers; each of us gained 10 new CLU friend and 1 Ithaca friend and we all grew.

On March 15 we knew we'd come and build houses. Who could have known that by March 20 we would play in international soccer games, invent the Brick Brigade, shovel two mountains of sand into the houses, build friendships thicker than 'chispa', discuss 'hocer poopoo', eat delicious food, and take home so much with us in our memories and in our hearts.

Thank you to everyone for an amazing adventure.

- Michele Hernandez, '07


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