Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 4 in Mexico!

Hello, Catherine and Nikki here! We have both been having such a fun time here in Playa. It has been great to get to know everyone on the trip and at the work site. And it has been so great to share this experience together as friends. Today we got to experience the cement minxer that Erin calls "Big Bird" and the assembly line that accompies it. The work has been good and different. It has been nice to do something different from school and learn how to Jimmy John wire to poles. This afternoon we faced our fear of cliff diving and jumped into a Cenote. Nikki even climbed a tree and jumped from a higher point. Catherine is still wrestling with her fear of heights. Overall this trip has been a great oppertunity to get closer as friends and meet new people, in an amazing place and doing fulfilling work. We can't wait to see what the last day has in store for us.

-Nikki Green and Catherine Eifrig
Bulter students

This trip to Playa has been the most incredible combination of service and cultural education. Although it will take at least seven more years to finish the church that we're constructing, the gratitude expressed by those who operate the church is very apparent and incredibly fulfilling. Attending a church service at the site has shown me the importance of this project - The members of this church have such a strong connection with God, a reminder that keeps us hard at work throughout the day with everything from painting to sawing rebar and pouring concrete. Although this project won't ultimately come to fruition for several years yet, just completing a part of it while forming relationships with those we are serving is enough for now.

Tynan Schreibman
Student of Washington State University

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mexico Day 3!

HOLA. It’s Tori and Liz! Mexico has been awesome so far!  It may have rained today, but that didn’t stop us from having a fiesta. Getting up at 6:30 am every morning is so hard, but the Mexican air sure gets us pumped.  We start off everyday right, with Antonio’s breakfasts.  We love Antonio.  The orange huice here is AMAZING!  Aside from eating wonderful food, we also do work (there are pictures to prove it).  We swear that we’ve never worked this hard in our entire lives.  We have blisters on our hands and scrapes on our knees AND HAVE NEVER FELT MORE ALIVE.  Meeting all the people here has to be the highlight of the trip.  It’s reassuring speaking in Spanish and having people kind of comprehend.  The culture is so different from America—I’ve never seen so many small monkeys and baby lions on the streets before.  Side note/highlights of importance: guacamole, salsa, flautas, pineapple, bacon.  We can’t wait for more amazing adventures tomorrow- it’s cenote time!!  Adios amigos!
-Tori Adachi and Liz Niemiec
Butler Students
Hey!!! Beth here! The first half of this week has been so incredible and it is already having a huge impact on me. It’s been great to build these bonds with both everyone on our trip as well as the locals that we are able to be impacting with our trip! I’ve been loving both the work time and the down time we’ve had.  I LOVED Tulum, the beach, the work site, the people, la Avenida Quinta, the food, the great feelings and the relationships that are forming through this trip. I’m sure I’ve made some of my best friends on this trip. We’ve had so many great times together as a group of seven Butler girls and our single Washington boy. So many laughs and memories have been made and shared. I love that though sometimes I realize we have made a huge impact already in just two days of work. I’ve had many moments that I feel completely accomplished and I am so grateful I’ve been able to come on this trip and haven’t spent my spring break at home on the couch. It’s been an amazing opportunity so far and we still have two full days in Playa del Carmen!
-Elizabeth D'amore
Butler Student


Day Two

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day Two in Mexico!

"Hi there! It’s Nikki! Today was a great day for me. My high of the day would have to be on site at the church. I absolutely loved being there today. I enjoyed painting, scrubbing the rust off of the posts, and hammering the metal rods. This was the first time that I have had an experience like this. I’ve helped my mom with painting before, but I have never done any strenuous work like this before. I was sweating so much afterwards! It was also amazing to think about how my work would help a community have a church to attend. Being able to go church has been a blessing for me, and I’m glad that I received this opportunity to help build a church so others can worship God. I also enjoyed being at the beach today, and getting to know the other YMCA volunteers better. Even though it’s only the first day on site, and the second day experiencing Mexico, I can tell that I have formed memories and friendships that I can carry with me for the rest of my life. I’m truly blessed to be here in beautiful Playa del Carmen, and I’d like to thank Catherine for telling me about this trip. I can’t wait to show pictures to my family and friends, and tell them about the good work the YMCA is doing here in Mexico."

-Nikki Green

"Hey ya’ll – it’s Amber!! Being down here in Mexico is so much more fun than I ever thought it could be. Today we started our work on the church for the week, and it was very rewarding. I spent four hours with Tynan scrubbing rust off of wire posts. It was extremely tiring but a lot of fun (I have a lovely sunburn to show for it). Next, I pulled old rusty wires off of poles so that the poles could be reused. They were difficult to work with, but it was nice when I was finished and could see the work that I did. Also, today I went with Erin to a park near the work site to play soccer with Marcos and Juan. Although we lost (because I hate running), I had a ton of fun. Marcos is rather hilarious and says the funniest things. He’s totally gonna be a heartbreaker later on in life. J Later this week, we plan on going to the Cenote, which is like a giant watering hole in the midst of all the things going on. We can even go cliff-diving (kind of). Even though it has only been two days here in Playa del Carmen, I feel as if I have gotten a much better perspective on life for when I return to the United States. I also have learned that I should never take anything for granted in life, because sometimes even trivial things are big things to others. I already feel so relaxed and happy, and I hope and pray that God will use this experience to help me to lead others and finish off this semester with enthusiasm and success. "
-Amber Ooley

Day One from Jamaica

What an amazing day!  After a very long travel day on Saturday these kids got up and were ready to work!  I am so proud of how everyone came together to get so much done in one day.  Our main project is building stairs that lead the a beautiful new building that the kids in Jamaica can experience and worship in!  We laid all the foundation, leveled everything out and tomorrow we pour!  Making concrete here is much different then in the states so it takes a lot of muscle and a lot of hands! 

Check out the blog later today for pictures!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day One in Mexico

So after a good's night sleep, the Mexico crew got to sleep in today, since it's Sunday!  !  Since it was the Lord's day, Juan Lis and Ramon told the group that we would be starting our project (building more wire columns, blocking a new walll and painting) on Monday!  They invited usto a special service at the church this evening to welcome the students, as well as some new families, this week!  All of the work from the past few years is standing strong, and it looks like we have some very BIG projects lined up!  Stay tuned for updates!
So what did the students do with their free day...?  Learned about Mayan history!   Check out our visit to the Mayan ruins of Tulum!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Estamos Aqui!

We made it to Playa del Carmen safe and sound!  After a delicious pizza dinner and meeting our friends from the church, we are super excited to get to work!  Stay tuned for updates!

Erin Reuland
-Mexico Trip Leader