A Close to RFC’s Trip.
Saturday April 3rd
TJ – Today started off with a bang! We sprung into action with hearty breakfast. It was a very important day and proper nutrition was a must. With the school now finished, it was time for the dedication ceremony. The dedication was pretty much the final right of passage for the school before it became operational. We all said a little speech about what the week had meant to us and emotional stuff like that. This was followed by speeches from both of the teachers and the two government officials. It was a memorable time and to see the joy on each one of their faces will not be forgotten any time soon. Seeing the teachers as we handed over the keys to the school was something else. They were grinning ear to ear and could not contain their excitement. It was an awesome experience to be a part of. Another thing that struck me, and I think the rest of the group of the group as well, was the amazing generosity of the community. They all teamed up to feed us lunch after the dedication ceremony. This was quite something for me because these people come from such poverty, yet they were willing to give the little that they had to prepare us a meal as a way to say thank-you. This was both awesome and inspirational for me personally.
Jeannine – Starting the day off shopping for the school was so fun! We got a ton of school supplies, maps and posters for the walls of each classroom, note books of all kinds, even a mop and broom! Then we headed over to the school for the dedication, along with all our school bags, Canadian pins for the kids, and a bin of Lego for each class as well! Santiago explained everything to the teacher who seemed a little overwhelmed by it all. A few things still to come are white boards and desks from the government (that they promised once again at the speeches!) and the washing (‘dirty’) water and clean drinking water that we also raised funds for. One really neat thing we found out today was that the new ‘bano’ (bathroom) is actually going to be a double boys/girls bathroom – so we bought signs for the doors to make it official!
The dedication ceremony was very emotional for me, seeing every one of the youth share what the build meant to them was so special, words like “my best spring break ever” and “I’ll never forget” were very touching. One of the biggest surprises for me has been Sofia (our Mexican team member) she said her ‘bit’ in Spanish and the response was amazing, the government official Fernando responded to her personally. It means so much to the community to have a fellow Mexican caring about their situation and actually doing something to make a difference! I totally underestimated the impact this would have!
Lunch was tamale’s made by the community, and they insisted on serving us each individually as we sat down! Very touching! And Very Yummy!
Then came the event we’d all been waiting for – Mexico versus Canada in a soccer match, Sofia chose to play for her home country – traitor! She’ll be finding another ride home! The school’s teachers were really determined to win, and no matter how much we cheated (Harv actually tackled one of the teachers!)They didn’t surrender! Maria (one of little Mexican girls who won our hearts) was loudly chanting “CA–NA–DA, CA–NA–DA” over, and over and over! In spite of all this support Mexico won 6-3. We are pretty sure it had something to do with Santiago being the only official on site, and will demand a rematch some day!
Later some of the guys on the team expressed that game as the highlight of the week. It truly seems that poverty cannot destroy joy. Apparently ‘things’ do NOT bring happiness, because those kids have very few things, and you couldn’t find a more joyful bunch anywhere. I think there may be a lesson there for us all.
Tonight we went out for our traditional team supper thanks to Syd & Dave! We went to Gaston’s on the beach and it was GREAT!! Thanks from all of us!!!!