So we have had a very successful 5 days so far. We made it safely to the hotel Monday night right as it was starting to get dark with much thanks to Evelio for driving our awesome van (named Bertha). On Tuesday, we were driven to the river and got a look at the site and we also got to meet the committee from the town. Wednesday, we went back to the bridge site and tried to do all of our technical analysis. I say try because the community members tended to do all of the physical labor for me and I pretty much just stood around waiting for others or talking to the locals.
Catherine and I took a water sample from the river and tested it and then tried to cross the river (which can be easily maneuvered by hopping to and from various rocks as the water is surpirsingly low for the rainy season). However, apparently we made a big deal about trying to get to one rock so the men then drove the truck across the river to pick us back up (which was totally generous and unneccessary. Across the river, there is a very steep, slippery hill that must be climbed to reach the fields. Once on top, the fields stretch on in all directions. There are at least 500 acres, possibly even 1000 (very rough estimate done by myself), on the other side that are used for their crops. As a farm girl, I was very impressed and in awe.
Having done most of the technical stuff on Wednesday, yesterday and today was more about getting to know the community. The principal of the school asked us to teach English to the children in the classrooms. So we tried. Key word is tried. Having taken French and not Spanish in high school (and having too good of a teacher) I keep speaking French words before I can come up with the Spanish. So my class was interesting. But apparently, I had a good class and they were always well-behaved and they retained some of my words. Yay! Erin and I went into another class today and taught more English for an hour, and we sang the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" which was a blast. During the kids' recess they asked me to sing it again with them. (I was surprised they could tolerate my singing).
The community has been opening up to us and are very welcoming. Tonight we have a meeting that is open for anyone in San Jose to attend so that we can be introduced and answer any questions. I am quite excited and now have to go get ready.