Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's See You Later, Not Goodbye

Today has been a crazy day filled with excitement and work.  We started the day by going to the village to fix the exposed rebar, fill in areas with boulders, and paint a sign on the bridge.  This all took until 2 pm because we accidentally mixed up the concrete adhesive incorrectly, so we had to buy more. After the long hard day at the bridge, we headed back for lunch.  But truthfully, the work day was nothing compared to last year.  We took our time with each task and it was a lot of waiting around until we got the supplies we need (kind of similar to last year).  The heat really got to us today.  But after our lunch, we headed back into Malacatan to finish some errands.  First, we had to buy four bags of cement for the plaque that was going to be put up by the bridge.  Next, we had to buy the plaque itself.  I never knew that ordering a plaque would be so difficult.  The wording on the plaque needed to be just right so we didn't offend the community members or EWB.  It also needed to positioned correctly on the plaque, plus the font needs to be pick as well as the font size.  It took us about an hour to finalize the plaque details but we got it done.

It says: This bridge was built by Engineers Without Border - University of Delaware, USA with the help of San Jose Petacalapa.  2008-2013.

I love the language and I think it'll look great by the bridge.  Finally, we ended the errands with fixing our tire.  We knew something was wrong with it because the air was leaking out but we didn't know what.  Well there was a nail in our tire! Thank goodness we got it out. It was interesting to see a 16 year old boy fix our tire for us.  I turned to Ben and said that I am embarrassed because a barely know how to change a tire and this boy is fixing our tire for us.  The skills that the kids have here is just incredible!

The final part of our day consisted of saying goodbye to the community.  We were able to have a low key get together with the comite and select people from previous comites.  It was really nice for them to offer us dinner but we politely declined.  They insisted so much that we have something so we ended up drinking soda with them and just talking for a little while.  A couple big things came out of that conversation:

1. The thanked us so much for the bridge and told us how much of a positive impact it had on our community.

2. We got to witness the first female in the Comite in action during this gathering.  She is very well spoken and a great role model for ladies in that community.

3.  We were told that we were great role models for their kids and that their kids want to one day be like us.  I couldn't believe that!  It really hit me hard and showed all of us the impact we had on this community.

4. Dr. Veness might of put herself into a bind during this discussion because they wanted our thoughts on a water project for them and they had her sign a paper saying that the water project was what the community wanted. We don't know if this meant she was agreeing to another project or just solidifying that she received the news that the community wants the water project.  But whatever it is ... it's up to her.

5.  Finally, they said multiple times how their doors are always open.  We are allowed back at any time and we will be welcomed by the community.  It was great to hear that they have developed such a strong relationship with us where they can say that.  Let's just say Chelsea and I have our 10 year bridge reunion planned already :).

SO those are the big things from today.  We got to enjoy our last meal at Ernesto's tonight and I am happy we did because it was a great meal.

We leave tomorrow for San Marcos because we are going to see another village for another potential project in Guatemala.

I'm getting awfully sleepy now so we will blog tomorrow.


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