Many of the group members woke up Thursday morning to the usual rooster that has no perception of time. After falling back asleep until the sun was really out, the group met at 7am for breakfast. Breakfast was cornmeal tortas with jam and the usual drinks. Andrea and a couple other prepared the supplies for the day at 8am we were off to Bunche. Most of the group walked, but the roads were a little sloppy from the night rain, so a few took a "taxi" into the village.
We arrived at the nursery in Bunche ready to brighten it up and that was what we did. The group quickly got underway breaking open the paint and getting the brushes and rollers wet. It was nice that we did all of the prep work on Monday so minimal scraping and things had to come off the walls. Three or four members began working on Friday's work a bit early by painting some murals and getting them ready. In retrospect, this worked out great!
Meanwhile inside the nursery, the group was going to town with the first coat. This was true teamwork in action. There were painters hanging on rebar windows to get up higher, standing on ladders for the taller parts, brushing the edges and corners, and rolling the large flat surfaces. In no time, the first coat was on and it was time to play the waiting game and let things dry a little bit. Mostly everyone went to the park and helped with the murals or keep the kids at bay a little bit.
The theme of this years trip was "nos ayudamos" which means -we help each other and it was depicted by a hand print. So to go along with the theme, both murals painted were painted with hands and involved the children of Bunche. One was a yellow, blue, and red stripe that represents the colors of the Ecuadorian flag and the other was a tree with the handprints being the grass and leaves: lightly inscribed in the tree were the words, nos ayudamos, and the colors of the flag. The kids loved helping out and while it got a little messy at times, it was great to see it in action. It really brought out the mission of the service learning trip.
Following the completion of the murals, it was time for lunch. We all rounded up the crew and met inside the nursery for a lunch of fried chicken, salad, rice, and beans (for non-veg) and popcorn, rice, and a vegetable soup/baby food consistency dish. Following the second coat of paint and lunch, the projects were completed. Some opted to go back and rest at the station until 3pm when the Bunche youth soccer team invited us to join them while others decided to stay in Bunche for the afternoon.
It wasn't more than 5 minutes after the group left, the remaining students were asked to write "eatery" on a wall. Next thing you know, those that stayed were painting fruits and vegetables, letters, numbers, Pooh Bear, balloons, palm trees, flowers, fish and more. The old color of the nursery was a dirty two-toned orange and now here stood a clean light turquoise and colorfully decorated building.
As the group finished up, 3pm was rolling around and some of the group started coming back into town. They couldn't believe what they had missed and were shocked by the end result. It was more of a sporadic decision, so there were no hard feelings between either group.
For the rest of the afternoon, we wandered Bunche. Some played soccer, others played bingo that the had proceeds going to a resident with terminal cancer, some danced, and others just socialized around the town. The group was recognizing that the days in Bunche were coming to a close.
By 6:30, most everybody had left so they wouldn't be eaten alive by mosquitoes and be back in time for dinner. Dinner that night was fried fish with the usual sides and to drink-fresh limeade. After dinner, everyone just relaxed and finished getting cleaned up and played uecher, cribbage, and other games.
The other days are coming and upon arrival in the states, pictures (lots) will be posted.
As I post this, I wanted to let everyone know that the group has all been delivered to the airport and I (Erik) saw them up until security. I will post notification upon their arrival in Miami. They do not have a whole lot of time to clear customs, immigration, recheck luggage, etc...so if a call isn't made-please don't feel bad. Miami's international arrival is not the most pleasant, especially on a crunched schedule.
In short, but yet to come:
Friday- rainy day, supply delivery in Muisne, time at a different beach on Muisne Island for afternoon.
Saturday-supplies brought to Bunche, last visit with children, danced in the evening with locals and said our goodbyes.
Sunday-playa escondida resort for reflection and a different feel
Monday- nicest weather all trip and several hour bus ride back to Quito
Tuesday-visit Plaza Grande (prez palace, churches, old town) in morning and shopping in afternoon, then dinner and packing.
Wed-early flights: groups departed.
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