Day 7: Our Last Full Work Day (by Matthew McDonald)

Day 7. What a fantastic day it has been. We started the day with our breakfast once again. We loaded up our vans and headed to the worksite to begin what would be our second last day on site. When we arrived we briefly went over what the day would entail. We wanted to get the concrete poured into the outer foundation and do some extra rebar for the interior. We broke up into teams and I of course volunteered to move wood from the shed to the site. Little did I know that I would end up having to saw the wood that I was moving. Thankfully I am pretty much an expert on sawing wood at this point and was able to give Dave (one of our project leaders) a lesson or two about cutting wood.

Once we were done cutting the boards I helped do some rebar around the main structure, place some of the wood frames required for the concrete pouring, and compressing the dirt that we used to refill the holes we dug. Once we were ready to pour the concrete we began mixing it in the automated mixer that we now had access to. It went much faster than mixing it by hand, but I did kind of miss doing it. We were quickly pouring the concrete into the moulds that Dennis built, bucket by bucket. Here is a picture of me carrying one of the buckets!

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We ended up finishing all of the work we set out to finish at the beginning of the week today, a day early! Everyone was very excited around the work site and we all celebrated, took some pictures and then it was time for us to leave. We headed back to the hotel and showered because we were all filthy from a day of hard work. I don’t think I have ever had so much dirt, sweat and concrete on my body at once (I don’t think I have ever had concrete on my body). I ended up digging dirt out of my ears!

After we had all cleaned up it was time for us to have another group discussion. This time the topic was roadblocks and whether we were taking them away or simply helping them over. It lead to a lot of discussion about our role in the community and what could we do to remove the roadblocks that exist for the people of Marcos Lainez. It had to do a lot with the education system and their access to it. By building a school I feel as though we are removing a roadblock for them and giving them easier access to a classroom, but at the same time we can do nothing about the fact that once they are done at that school they will probably not continue with their education because the next level of school is so far away. Overall I believe government involvement is required to encourage these kids to continue their education. Maybe the government can setup a school bus system for these smaller communities or some sort of project like it. I am not sure but it really made me think about my access to education and how I had little to no barriers to me getting an education. It makes me thankful for the opportunities I was given and hopefully I can use this new found gratitude in my classroom to inspire children to really appreciate what they have been given.

Tomorrow is our last day on the work site and it will be an emotional goodbye for everyone. I took a minute today just to look around the work site and see my group interacting with the community. I stood and smiled at the children running around giggling, the construction workers showing someone how to do something, and Victoria taking selfies with the children. I really took that minute to stop and smell the roses and appreciate what I was apart of and what I was witnessing. What an incredible experience I will be able to share when I return to Canada, once in a lifetime. Until tomorrow!

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