Our eight and final full day of the Mexico GPS trip was incredibly emotional for all of us. In the morning, we had the Love Without Borders Program, where Culver traveled to a school and gave each child a backpack filled with supplies and snacks. They preformed the most adorable dance for us, and we were able to try all kinds of food.
After, we had the goodbye ceremony, where the students, adults, drivers and police man were thanked for their contributions, and we all got pictures with the families.
We are so sad to be leaving, but incredibly happy to have had this experience.
The final day events unfolded with Love Without Boarders. For this all of us hoped in the cars and travelled to go give children at a school close to our work sites backpacks filled with goodies including shoes, bubbles, toys, a water bottle, colored pencils, pencil bags, plus whatever else you wanted to give your child. Shout out to two of our own Charlie and Allen for getting together all of the money, buying the goodies, and assigning child to team member, we are all so proud of you for putting this all together. This program was incredible because through all the hate in the world you are able to connect youth to youth across the world forming bonds that are unbreakable. Seeing the smiles on those kids faces were everything and meant more than anything. The ability to connect with others opens the heart and softens the eyes of everyone and allows the world to be…. well you know, without boarders.
We also had the closing ceremony today and there was so much love around and in everyone. As a community all of the families, bus drivers, security officers, and teams gathered together to hand out plaques to the family for their new house and thank them for allowing us to see beyond ourselves. As everyone hugged each other, took pictures, ate cake, and recognized everyone’s hard work during this trip, the realization that this life altering experience was over hit everyone like a truck. We all decided to celebrate in the great times we had all had during the week instead of mourning the end of it. I dont know if I can speak for everyone on this trip but for who I have talked to, this trip inspired so many others to change the world and change their lives. It is astounding how 7 days can change a person so much.
Leaving you with another quote from Mr. Neer to further inspire all who read this, “try not to get weary doing good”. Until Next Year, Buenos Noches from the Mexico FAMILY.
Today we only had a half day on construction, where we worked on building our houses for two hours, and than went to see a stove installed in a residents house.
Many families in Mexico use open fire cooking, which poses many health risks to people, especially women and children, as well as damages the environment. So, we worked with a company that gives more efficient, clean and safe stove to families, run by a former Culver Military Academy student.
After that, we visited a house that was built last year, and were able to see the future results of our own houses this year. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, and really went to show just how valuable our work has been.
See you laters are never easy, especially the kind that bring tears to your eyes. Today was our last day at the work sites and it was bittersweet. It was so amazing getting to see the beginning of the project and near to the end of it. Yet so hard saying adios to our beloved families who supported us while we were helping them. They always jumped in to help carry blocks wherever needed and bring us waters when it was very hot. Knowing that these families are finally getting a home where they can grow up in is so overwhelming. Our little town of Culver was able to alter the lives of people all the way in Puerto Escondido forever.
In addition to Culver helping the families of this year, Culvers community was also able to continue helping the families from years before and others around the community. The Culver alum who talked to us yesterday night, Emilio, was able to install a safer stove top into one of the houses that the team last year helped build. To say the least it was so incredibly emotional, as tears welled up in her eyes she thanked us immensely for everything we had done for her and how what we did altered her life in so many ways, she was eternally grateful for the Culver Community. This helped all of us keep in mind why what we are doing is so important. Even though it might be hot and tiring building everyday, but being able to see someone reaping the benefits of what we had done makes it all worth it. We are changing lives one brick and one spring break at a time.
As Mr. Neer said, “You’re destined to do great things” so do not be afraid to do them, take the risk, change the world. Until tomorrow, Buenos Noches from the Mexico team.
For the sixth day, we had the our usual four hours of work time morning, where the teams made significant progress on our houses.
The afternoon was less eventful, which was a gave us plenty of time to relax by the pool and on the beach. A couple hours before dinner, the GPS trip, we all went shopping down the strip by our hotel, and we’re able to buy clothes and souvenirs.
At dinner, we celebrated Ryan’s birthday, and learned he is actually a skilled magician. He preformed an amazing trick Sith a life savor candy, and we are all still puzzled as to how he managed to make it levitate.
90-degree heat, 4 hours, 14 coconuts, a whole watermelon, and 10 mini mamut later our team was exhausted yet proud of our final full day of work. We all were able to push through by keeping in mind the families and how much this all means to them. I am so incredibly proud of everyone who gave up their time to give to fixing the problems of others for absolutely no reward. It is the truest form of selflessness out there: making someone else’s problem your own.
We also were fortunate enough to further our inspiration just when we were getting a little worn out from a Culver Alum, Emilio Rivero. He was able to share some of his advice from his life experiences in order to encourage us to change the world. He told us in the world of our problems to look around and beyond to try to find the biggest possible problem that reflects you and that you care about. Usually the bigger the problem the less it has to do with you and the more it has to do with others. You give your time to this problem and you start to realize how small your problems become and how much your heart grows. For example the problem he is fixing is that 62% of people in the world still cook with biofuels, open fire. 4.2 million are killed by indoor air pollutants caused by this, and they are mostly women and children. It is the second biggest cause of death around the world. The thing that stuck with me the most is when he said, “Sometimes the simple solution is the most elegant solution, and human problems seemed to disappear when I started focusing on the bigger than you problem.”
Our team I believe embodies this by using the simple solution of gathering people together to build homes to solve the problem of people growing up with no homes. We all saw past our own problems and gave our time and energy to this problem that is beyond ourselves. I hope that all of the amazing people on the trip and reading this will be able to still go out and change the world, seeing big problems they care about and making a change to better their world, community, family, and so forth. Our teams last stretch to the finish has approached faster than anyone expected and we are ready to see the final look yet not ready to leave all of the amazing people we have met in Puerto Escondido. Until Tomorrow, Buenos Noches from the Mexico team.
After a day off from working at a secluded beach, the GPS group made a trip to a local candy store.
There were so many options, such as beer pops, pulparindos, takis, gummies, chocolate and hard candies. We bought delicious snacks for both ourselves, and the school children for the Love Without Borders program on Friday.
While the fruits are vegetables are wonderful in Mexico, so is the junk food.
After a hard 3 days work, our teams got a little relaxation time that turned into bonding time between teams. Sharing all of our stories about our adventures on our sites gave us all connections to all the families we are helping instead of just our teams. It is crazy how it takes miles and miles to make such close bonds with people who live 400 feet from each other, but these bonds are so extraordinary because of the trust and strength we build together in a foreign country on vacation all working for a common goal: helping those who need it.
So for our lil R&R time we went to a private beach, ate food, connected, laid out, and may or may not have gotten a little burnt haha. Our team heads back out tomorrow morning for another full day of work and we are all ecstatic to get back out there to get our hands dirty and our shirts sweaty. Until Tomorrow, Buenos Noches from the Mexico team.
After lunch, when the construction teams had finished the day’s work on the houses for our families, we all visited a market.
There were so many things being sold, such as dresses, pull overs, jewelry, t shirts and wallets. In addition, venders sold little statues, from little frogs to mermaids, that were absolutely adorable.
We were able to explore the market for about an hour and a half, before returning to the hotel. Overall, is was a super cool experience.
More sunshine, sweat, concrete, dirt, and smiling faces filled today. With only 5 days left in beautiful Puerto Escondido, our teams headed out again to our work sites. Keep in mind we went 3 days of hard labor in the 85 degree heat in a row instead of having a day off because of a schedule change, but our team kept our heads high and worked incredibly hard to make sure we were all in the best position for our final days of work. Becoming more comfortable with the people at our worksites we engaged in conversation in only Spanish with the workers helping us and the kids at the sight. Today I learned a kid at my sight is 7 years old, loves the color blue, hates chocolate, almost has a girlfriend, is a fire dancer and singer, and all of the music we were playing is on his dads phone. This allows us to build bridges across oceans, making the world a place filled with more love. Interactions at the market today as well as the game Mr. Cowell taught us also built more bridges between people within the group and in Puerto Escondido. Until tomorrow, Buenos Noches from the Mexico team.