The final goodbye or just a new beginning?

Sarifa, working with cement earlier in the program. The classroom is not nearly complete as we prepare for the dedication ceremony with the school. We leave Chira tomorrow morning.

Sarifa, working with cement earlier in the program. The classroom is not nearly complete as we prepare for the dedication ceremony with the school. We leave Chira tomorrow morning.

It’s our last day on Chira! We’ve had such a great time here on the island. I really do not want to leave.

Over the past few days, we have done a ton of adventurous activities.  We climbed a hill (or mountain as the locals call it) to watch sunset. The climb was so much fun! We kept on slipping on the loose soil and breaking branches on our way due to the steep incline. But we made it! And the view was beautiful. The climb was so worth the effort!

We also visited the mangroves to dig for pianguas, a clam-like animal. The walk through the mangroves was so messy! We looked so fashionable in our boots and gloves made of cloth and tied onto us with string. Stepping off the boat and into the mud, we sunk knee-deep into mud teeming with crabs. Upon reaching the mangrove trees, we climbed over and under the roots like monkeys. It was so much fun: our slippery feet sliding on the roots as we attempted to climb to a stable branch. The pianguas were so hard to find as they looked like rocks. Afterwards, we got to try some. They tasted really salty and were brown in colour. Must have ben all that mud!

The whole team visited Isla San Lucas for a day. Isla San Lucas used to be used as a jail in the mid 1900’s. We visited the jail and then headed to the beach. The beach was beautiful, comparable to Hawaii. The dark grey sand was so fine and the water so warm and wavy. There were so many jellyfish in the water, which we later found out were dead and harmless. The beach was a nice get away for the team to bond further.

I climbed to the water tank in Palito with my family yesterday. This water tank holds the water for all of Chira! The view from atop the water tank was astonishing. We could see Paloma Island in the distance. The mountains made a beautiful silhouette overlooking the ocean. There were so many trees all around, just now turning green due to the start of the rainy season. I wish I could stay up there all night to watch sunset, the stars, and sunrise.

Last night, my roommate Clare and I cooked dinner for our host family. We made French toast with apples cooked in sugar. The family loved it! They were so happy that we cooked for them. I’m really glad that we attempted to cook for the family, and I wish we could have cooked more meals.

There are so many geckos around the house! Our family noticed us admiring them, and so they kept looking for them and pointing them out to us. Our host mom told us that her husband was looking for a box to put the geckos in for us to take back with us to Canada. He said that since we love them so much, we should take them with us. I don’t think customs would like that very much!

I feel like our host family is just starting to get comfortable approaching and talking to us. I wish we could stay longer to get to know the family better. Our team is also getting along really well. We’ve had some really great times. I hope we can continue our relationships with the host families and with the U of C team for years to come.

The computer lab that the team is working on is coming along beautifully. All the walls, wiring, and the ceiling are complete. All that is left to do is the floor.

I hate having to say goodbye, but home is in Calgary with my family. I have made so many long-lasting relationships and have built a connection with the island. I hope I can return to Chira Island very soon, as I will miss it dearly. My host family and all the locals have been so kind and accommodating. Chira Island will forever live in my heart.

(Sarifa)

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