Day 5 – (3/18/09)

An Early Start – Poop Crew & Painting

Got up at 6:30, showered up and got ready to get breakfast. I went and picked up a box of breakfast from the cafeteria and brought it back to the house for all the girls and I to eat. It was decent, but not great. We only hung around the house till 8:30, then we got to work – everyone was ready to go this morning with lots of energy. So we went down to the farm and got to the rabbits. Jennifer and I were on poop-crew, same as yesterday. Then we moved on to the Cornish hens, and somehow about 10 of them were loose again, so I picked those bastards up and put them away. Then Jennifer and I were on poop-crew again, and we emptied all the poop trays for the hens, and it was a big job and really nasty, I almost barfed a few times. Green watery poop – I’m gagging just writing about it.

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Then we cleaned the chicken pen, and that was a job like usual. Then onto the ducks, and we actually filled the duck pond and got the ducks to go in, and we got some pictures with them. Then we took a small break, and then started painting the chicken house. We painted the inside walls with calcium to kill any germs or bacteria. It took us about an hour, but it was good work. Had to take a shower after painting, we had calcium all over us, and my skin was extremely dry, I felt like my hands would bleed from dryness. Then we washed up and headed out to lunch with the kids. We had some sort of pasta and vegetable type of soup that was good. I also gave my Tank Baller bands to some little kids, they liked them. Then we went back to our house for some more food, and we walked down to a little store 2 blocks away and bought some ice cream. I got a fudge bar, and it was great. Came back and hung out more until 3:30 and then we went out to play with the kids. As Mary was washing some dishes though, all of a sudden we hear her say “Little shits stole my spoon!” Probably one of the funniest things we all heard all week – partially because it was so unexpected, and partially because how she said it.

Arts & Crafts

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We decided to do some arts & crafts today, so we actually opened up the body-bag and used some of the stuff we bought. We brought out the sidewalk chalk, string, and coloring books. I probably played about 50 games of tic-tac-toe with the kids using sidewalk chalk, then we played hangman, and we spelled our names. The kids knew enough to realize my name in English is not Raul, so they spelled my name in English through a game of Hangman. The kids were so great, and I really enjoyed spending more time with a different crew of kids today. I really wish I could speak with them more; I may even take a Spanish course spring of 2010. Then we played about 6 games of volleyball, only after communicating with Paco about drawing boundary lines for the volleyball court. Paco is a great guy, good with the kids and is a great example for the kids and older folks. He is so young at heart, he can connect with the kids – but he also is a great leader and organizer.

After volleyball, most of us were too tired to eat with the kids, so we decided to walk down to the “van” that we tried to go to earlier in the week, about a 20 minute walk. Before we left, we sat around and talked with John & Mary for a while. We talked about coming back to La Granja Hogar this summer, and most of our crew was interested. I think it would be so awesome to come back here and know more Spanish, and hopefully the kids remember me.

Dinner at “The Van”

The walk to the van definitely took more than 20 minutes, it ended up taking about 30. It was cool and crisp outside, and a cloudless sky. A really beautiful walk. It was a fun walk, I am surprised at how not hungry I am, even though we did not end up eating until nearly 9:00pm, I did not feel that hungry. It was really good though, I had tortas – sandwich with meat. The shop had 3 options: tortas, tacos, and something else I can’t recall. All had the same meat, and that meat had a flame blasting on it, literally, and they just shaved meat off it and served it up. I also got a Pepsi, but only had like 5 sips – it’s amazing how I really can’t drink pop anymore.

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The walk back was lots of fun – Carmen, Kerry, Jennifer, and I walked faster so we were ahead, and we started one-upping each other non-stop. It was another giggle fest all the way home – which happens a lot with this crew.

Our Crew, Reflection, & Other Thoughts

After the walk back, we all got down to the reflection – tonight was entitled “The Stream.” It was about being able to adapt and surrender and allowing someone else to help you. Sometimes we get so stubborn that we won’t take advice from anyone and we try and continue living the same way – even though we have close friends telling us to change. The stream tried to cross a desert, but had to surrender itself into the clouds and then into rain to cross. Another great reflection tonight with everyone sharing – most people in our group are leaders as it seemed obvious to me. People like to be in control, and you can see that in this group. But Hannah and Margie said they were followers, but I guess that doesn’t fully surprise me. We thought that being a follower actually gives you more freedom because you aren’t worrying about leading – just doing what you want.

Carmen brought up how this group seemed hand-picked by God, and I couldn’t agree more. We all get along so well, and we share everything, and we all pull our own weight. Then I brought up that I thought it was also God’s plan to have John & Mary here, and everyone quickly agreed. Everyone we have met on this trip seems like they have been put on our journey for us. We then broke into closing prayer – I closed us again, and we went into an Our Father to end the prayer.

-Nate