I soon learned after arriving that I did not bring enough clothes, hygiene supplies, or proper shoes on my trip! I should’ve known that you can bring more than a small carry on, but I treated this 9-day international trip more as a weekend camping trip and brought minimal supplies including: a water filter (which was not needed), a first aid kid (which I didn’t use), three pairs of shorts, a few shirts and underwear (which I continually had to wash and reuse). Too much information I know! Despite me being unprepared I had an amazing time and grew closer to all of the people on the trip. Not having enough clothes and supplies did make me smell more (just kidding=p) but it added to the overall experience and enhanced la vida de la finca or FARM LIFE.
I sincerely appreciated the daily routine of waking up when the rooster crowed, eating breakfast as a team, and dispersed to our daily jobs. Our work was rigorous and physically strenuous at times but it made me sweat and burn off those rice and beans I’ve been packing on throughout the trip which made it all worth it. After work we did get some time to relax, play some games and reflect by the fire which was always enjoyable and helped me learn about the thoughts of others as well as helped me solidify my own beliefs.
I will never forget the hospitality of the Villalobos family and all that they have done for us. They have showed me that it is possible to be happy and live a relatively stress-free life. They welcomed our group into the family as soon as we stepped into their home. Donald, who helped us with our work most of the time, taught us new skills to complete our jobs and was a great teacher as well. He showed us why we were doing the things we were doing and why they were important for the environment. Ultimately, this trip was the experience of a lifetime, as cliche as it sounds, it is true. I formed new relationships, I experienced a new culture, I learned new skills, I performed service for a cause I care about and had an amazing time simultaneously! As it turns out being smelly and not having enough clothes didn’t turn out so rough after all (don’t ask my other teammates though)!