Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guatemala, San Miguel Duenas, Monday March 14, 2016

First Day on the job!

Things went well today for our first day on the site.  The group was really excited to help out where they could with building the new kitchen.  Today was a lot of carrying wood, removing nails and then putting together beams.  In the afternoon we spent time interacting with the kids which was really great.
Group getting orientation in the morning.

Bringing the wood to the work site.

Laying out the beams.

Panorama Ridge team inside the kitchen.

We began our day with a delicious breakfast from the café next door called Fernando’s. After some delightful coffee, crepes, omelets and toast we set out to the open windows learning center. We had the opportunity to meet with Teresa (Open Windows Founder) and our entire group was humbled by the meaningful strides she has made in this community. We learned that our assigned project was a kitchen for this learning center and our entire group was highly motivated to contribute in this way.
This center has a portable stove which they have been using as a substitute for a kitchen and our group is excited to help with this project, because it enhances such an integral part of this community. We learned that the cook in this center is a struggling woman, striving to earn enough money to support her family. The founder Teresa is supporting her until she is able to find a job. 
Angela and Mr. Smith working with beams.

Team photo

Jeet, Chalani and Mandeep pulling nails.

More nail work by Gursewak, Jeet and Jeevanjot

Whole team working on salvaged beams.

In terms of the construction we were instructed to organize pieces of wood to a certain length that would serve as the roof for this kitchen. As we were acquiring this wood and collecting the materials needed we were amazed by the resourcefulness of this community. We noticed that the founder of this organization has kept scraps of wood that are reusable. When we visited the yard to pick up these pieces we saw that she also farms chicken and has a community garden. She has incorporated a computer room, activity room and a hands-on library in this learning center and strives to make this community center inclusive.
In the afternoon our group was using snap chat filters which were very popular among the kids in the center. They loved taking pictures with us and we had lots of fun making paper airplanes with them. 
Lastly we went for dinner and had an awesome time shopping as we walked our way back to the hotel. The restaurant had a chocolate museum and we saw a display on how chocolate is made. We had an amazing time exploring the shops and were fascinated by the rich taste of chocolate and coffee.

Jeevanjot Sethi 
Panorama Ridge Student
DWC Volunteer
Guatemala March 2016

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