We have safely arrived to Guatemala city and have had the best, most relaxing day this month! It feels so great not working at seven am! We even got to go shopping today at the artisans market which was absolutely beautiful! For dinner, we went to the miraflores mall and ate at a diner! It was quite the change from tortillas and beans!! We even got to walk around the mall and see what was there! It's such a nice mall with four floors and a movie theatre! Chelsea and I even got manicures! We finally feel like girls again! Our nails were so disgusting from all the dirt, rebar, wood and concrete! It felt really good to get a manicure and it cost only ten bucks! Sweet deal!!! But more about our final day at the community!!
As I mentioned our last day consisted of building the wooden railings of the bridge! The last major component of the bridge! It was great last day because we had the right number of men and the right amount of materials for once! It was a long busy day but it ran smoothly and we got to finish!! We even had time for a photoshoot on the bridge! It was only the Ewb team though! Guatemalans didnt want to take pictures! Around six, though, we packed up and went to the school! We came back to a lot of people just standing around waiting for us! It was mainly all the men who had worked with us for the past month! Seeing them just made our day be ause we truly have developed strong bonds with these people! It's nice too see that they care and want to say goodbye! Due to our starvation, since it had been a long day, we didn't go to the school to have a formal meeting! Andrew and I said a couple words to express our gratitude and excitement and then the Guatemalans took over! It is a custom for everyone to get a turn speaking if you such desire! And so we listened to about ten people give heart felt thank yous for the bridge! It was nice too see that they appreciated us and wanted us back very soon! They even asked for us to do more projects with them! After the meeting we Took some more pictures and were finally on our way out! It was our final very bumpy journey back to our hotel! It was quite sad but it was understood between the team that we were all speechless as to what had happened just now. This day had marked the end of a roller coaster ride, which we didn't know would end. Only four weeks ago we were sitting with the leaders of the community telling them we are trying our best but his bridge might not happen and you'll be left with two holes. Now we were in our van on our way home to the hotel, knowing we had finished what we thought was unachievable four weeks ago. All of us were extremely speechless and not yet relieved! Haha we were basically waiting to tackle one more problem but in reality there weren't any left. We had beat all odds and made a miracle come true for his community. It truly was the perfect team effort, on part of both the Ewb team and the Guatemalans! The Guatemalans worked hard every day along side our guidance and the Ewb team utilized their creativity to solve problem after problem. I cannot say that we had a single day without one problem besides the last day. This Ewb team is ready to take on the world and definitely can trouble shoot anything! Not only that we also know how to build a bridge now :) practically in any country :). Hahaha. This effort on both groups of people has been tremendous and I don't have enough words to explain it! All I can say is it has been a miracle! One of which we are still trying to figure out.
After this glorious day at the community, we returned to the hotel to clean up and then head to Ernesto's for our final dinner! And let me tell you he did not let us down! It was the best meal yet and we were so thankful for him. Not only did he give us home cooked meals every time we went! He took on a significant role in the project when we needed him! And best of all he became our friend! W can now officially say we have two great friends in malacatan! One is our community and the other is ernesto! It feels so good to have made some awesome connections! Friendships were made everywhere! Within our Ewb team and within Guatemala! After our meal we returned back to the hotel to pack and get ready for our travels today! And I mentioned earlier, we arrived safely and are now in hotel miraflores! Chelsea's sleeping but I'm still posting hahahah.
In my opinion, I could not have asked for a better month. Yes there was chaos at first, lack of materials, lack of help some days, and multiple misunderstandings due to culture as well As soil issues the first week. But despite all that, each and every day was extremely productive and that is why this bridge was built in its entirety. This team never gave up; we all supported each other in every moment of discouragement! We kept pushing and it all paid off! There was no way we were returning back the united states without a complete bridge! Determination and love for the project and each other got us through this month of difficulties! We laughed and cried together. We enjoyed the happy days and supported each other on the not so hot days! It was all I could ask for as the project manager! Could not have brought a better team down or asked for a better community. Those men worked their butts off! It was incredible to see how much 20-80 guatemalan men can achieve in one day. Congratulations to the community and ewb team for the completion of the bridge! Si se puede ( yes we can).
I will be posting pictures of the bridge on photobucket. But for now if you go to Ben berwick's blog you will be able to see preliminary photos!!!
Over and out.