Day Five In The Shack – Ceviche and Cinnamon Tea

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Our fifth day in the shack began differently than the rest – we got to sleep in! Not only was day five different for having 14 hours of rest, it was also our day off. For most Mexican workers a day off isn’t in fact a day without work at all – they must  6 j teaching do their family’s laundry, shop, cook, clean and any other work that may need done. We only had to do a few of those tasks.Like I said, we got to sleep in and then for breakfast we made french toast. Julia came over mid-morning to show us how to do laundry – and luckily she let us use her soap (us silly kids didn’t think to buy any). Washing our clothes was interesting – we used a stone platform with divets in it, water from our water barrel, our own hands and elbow grease. I chose to wash two black items, hoping they would dry faster in the sun. Thankfully the wind took care of the drying quickly. We all thought washing clothes by hand was fun at first and for the amount of clothing we washed it was pretty easy. But to do an entire family’s worth of clothes, with thick fabrics and potentially really dirty? Not so fun. One thing I’ve learned in the shack is an appreciation for all of the small conveniences I’m used to in my daily life. I’ve never had to think about planning when to do laundry or shower based on when there was money for soap or time off from work to do it. But clean clothes are definitely a luxury.Once our clothes were all clean and hanging up to dry we made a second round of french toast and chowed it down for lunch. We spent some time planning meals for the rest of our stay and then went grocery shopping. We’ve learned the prices down to the peso and buy as much as we can as cheaply as we can.After grocery shopping we received an invitation from our friend Santiago. He has been amazing to us – he’d do anything to help a friend or person in need and wants so badly to help everyone even though he doesn’t have much himself. Santi isn’t the kind of guy you meet everyday – he’s the special kind. We headed over with our gift of pop and walked into a second lunch! We were all incredibly happy when Santi pulled out the giant bowl of ceviche and instructed us to eat up. So eat up we did! We stayed to watch a movie – a real treat after five days without technology. Santi also made us cinnamon tea which we loved. (To make tea boil whole cinnamon sticks in water for about 45 minutes, add a hint of sugar and enjoy.)In the evening the Hero Holiday group from University of Alberta joined us around the campfire. We all ate the s’mores they brought us and talked about why we are each in Mexico and our experiences. We shared about our shack experience so far and what we have gotten from it. Hearing from the others in my group was really interesting – we’ve all taken slightly differently, yet similar things from these five days and my hope is that we hold onto them. I know I definitely have a new6 e washing shirt appreciation for my produce and the long field days that go into growing it, the piles of landscaping rocks and each bite of seafood. But more than anything I appreciate the opportunities and ideas I’ve been given simply by being born somewhere else. The determination and resilience I’ve been lucky to witness these last few days has made me smile often. And with that smile comes a slight bit of sadness – these amazing people simply don’t have time for frivolity or luxury because everyday they work hard just to stay alive. If nothing else this week has made me grateful for hope and for the opportunity to do something to make our world a better place. If I can show even half as much strength as the people I’ve met in Mexico, I’ll be lucky.This day of rest has been a thinking day for me – about this entire experience and how hard but how incredible it’s been. (And how incredibly kind our friends have been – thank you to everyone, you know who you are!) Now think about ways you can make the world better – and do it while making cinnamon tea and ceviche why don’t cha?P.S. One huge thank you to Rosa for putting up with us, guiding us and flexing her muscles when she has to – this experience would never be possible without her. You’re one of a kind Rosa!Written by Leah Thygesen, a School of Leadership student

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: February 26th, 2011